22nd April 2017
Words and photos by Debbie Davies
It looked all week as though we were going to have a fairly dry ladies ride for our April meet, so I set off from my house minus a waterproof in the belief the forecasters had got it right.
We were meeting at the Mouldon Hill country park so ten minutes later I was at the venue to find several Ladies were there already. It was lovely to see several new faces. The ride had been strongly advertised as suitable for new riders, beginners or just wanted a really steady social paced trip. Our previous Ladies Officer Sharon had even managed to get her sister Ruth out on her Birthday. Thank goodness we were stopping for cake
After the usual pre ride photo 10 of us set off towards Cricklade and the old railway line. The first part of the ride is always my least favourite part, a stretch of road, well used by cars and bikes alike but the only way to link the quieter relaxing parts together. We happily left the traffic noise behind as we picked up one of the National Cycle Network trails that winds right to the edge of Cricklade. From here there was a little more road and finally picking up the main part of the route, a lovely quiet trail of mud free smooth surface. We wound our way along the bridle paths that link the whole area together and separate the lakes. At around the halfway point we stopped for cake and refreshments at the always popular café. The weather forecasters had suggested a dry day but what a lovely surprise to find the sun was now out and we could all gather outside on the picnic benches. Lots of delicious cake was consumed, we nearly finished off the Chocolate Orange cake at the counter with just our group ….the café staff did mention they hadn’t served so many pieces in one hit. Ladies that cycle know how to consume cake.
After a nice pit stop with plenty of chat we set off on the homeward journey along the railway line and back out of Cricklade towards to road once more. I had suggested, if everyone was feeling ok, not too tired, that we could avoid a large part of the road home with a 3 mile detour. Everyone was happy to try the alternative, so we picked up a lovely narrow country lane that meanders though 2 previously unexplored villages. This may have been a club first as we crossed a railway pedestrian crossing into Purton Common and along a village lane towards our starting point. If people were tiring at this point it was the perfect way home as the lane runs gentle downhill all the way with open fields either side and no cars at all.
One more road crossing brought us back to the lake car park and the end of our ride. Well done to all the Ladies who rode those extra couple of miles.
Thanks to Sharon for being a very attentive back marker for the day and to Jane, Kate, Andrea, Nikki, Val, Sarah, Ruth and Caroline for joining us on our April ride