By Kristian Price
17 riders met at the Mouldon Hills Country Park car park just off Thamesdown Drive on a cold but clear Sunday morning to ride out along Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 45 from Swindon to the Cotswold Water Park via Cricklade. (google map of start location.)
This ride uses some quiet rural lanes and the line of the former Swindon to Cricklade Railway. Relics of our railway heritage such as old carriages, tracks and railway sleepers, and a number of bridges can be seen along the route. Whilst this is a very flat route, the riding conditions can vary depending upon the weather. The last time I rode out here much of the area around the lakes was flooded; the water levels in the River Thames and gravels pits were well over the banks and onto the bridleway. On this occasion the tracks were quite muddy but not impossibly so.
After 8 miles or so we stopped at the Waterside Cafe at the junction of Spine Road with Wickwater Lane for a well deserved hot drink and something to eat. We managed to fill the bike racks outside the cafe with our bikes and the staff were very welcoming to 17 muddy mountain bikers.
The return journey had us cycling on quiet rural lanes for a while before turning onto a bridleway around the lakes near Waterhay. These tracks were muddy in places and it was clear to see that this area is quite popular with cyclists.
After the lakes the route returned to the old railway line that we had already ridden on the way out, and a swift return to the outskirts of Swindon, completing 18 miles in just under 2 hours.
Thank you to everyone for turning up and making the MB Swindon rides enjoyable. Also thanks to our designated photographers for the day Rafe Aldridge, Gary Lee and Tim Norris for capturing our best angles!”