Ride report: Swindon Marathon

Words by Tom Scott

It was with trepidation that I approached this ride. For one thing, I had badly sprained my wrist the weekend before on the recce. I was also kind of dreading having too many people turn up, as I had 16 yesses and 29 maybes on the Facebook event. However, as we know from experience, yes means maybe and maybe means no, so I wasn’t in the least surprised when I turned up to find six riders raring to go.

I immediately noticed a faint background smell of Ralgex, Deep Heat, stale urine and mothballs and realised I was the youngest person there, and I will be 45 in a few months! John had a quick tot up and realised we had 364 years between the 7 of us, which meant the average was 52, possibly the oldest club ride in history.

Off we set for a lap of Croft, drove on through the golf course, swept down Broome Manor lane to dog-infested Coate Water, smoked across Marlborough Road and cut through Lawn Park into Old Town. A quick chug down the old railway, on the road through Blagrove, following the extended urban round route, ending up at Lydiard Park café for a quick brew.  Sonny set off home as he had to get to work, so the Magnificent 7 became the Super 6.

Suitably refreshed we headed towards Peatmoor, losing another on the way – Debbie was a bit the worse for wear after the hard ride she had endured on Valentine’s day (she had been to Swinley the day before), so the Famous 5 it was.

A blast round Peatmoor woods and it was up over the road bridge through Sparcells and on to Mouldon Hill, where Stuart decided to have a puncture, so we all watched him fix it whilst we had a drink. Down the railway track went the group, building up a head of steam and on into Shaw Forest Park. I noticed my wife’s car in the car park and thought eh up? She had decided to take her mum, daughter and sister for a walk, and sure enough there they were in the woods with muddy shoes getting some fresh air.

A minor hoon later we were off back down the railway towards Mannington and Stu jumped ship and we became the Fab 4.  On past MB Swindon’s favourite bike shop, through the park and out on the canal back to the old town railway climb, and back to Croft, ready to go home for hot tea and crumpets. Marathon done.

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