Ride Report by Debbie Davies:
Ladies rides are famed for their good weather, warm breezes, sunlight, everything that creates that feel good factor as you pedal away from the meeting point. So as I left my house on the first day of Summer destined for the meeting place at Lydiard Park Cafe, I was a trifle concerned as to why my bike kept lurching sideways unassisted by me in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack by the wind. This weather isn’t what was ordered! Horrid strong winds and lashing rain at times had been forecast and here they were.
Hazel was the first to arrive , followed by Nikki on her first MB Swindon ride, Kat cycling in from home and having the same interesting experience that I did and then Gabriella, and Helen, also first time riders, and Sharon joining up to complete the group.
We set off at a respectful pace for the wind strength, having had a very kind warning by a Lydiard Park warden that it was only going to get worse!
Using the local cycle ways we made our way to the Peatmoor Lagoon and then on the Shaw Forest Park to the first steep but short hill to take us up to the park trail and straight into the first of many headwinds. Negotiating another hill into the woods bought a brief respite before we made our way out the other side and from the Shaw Ridge to route 45. This route took us along part of West Swindon and on towards the main route into Swindon. We thought of reasons to stop at the local bike shop but at this point the wind had come behind us and we shot along the park trail towards the Canal. It was so windy here that we tucked right into the hedge to make sure no one took an unexpected dunking and then the rain added to the fun, and as we hit the most open section of the route heading for Pipers Way we took the full brunt . This bought us to the furthest point of the ride so every other pedal stroke took us one step closer to the promised cake and coffee at the end.
The next few miles past The Croft trail and back along the railway line from Old Town were a lot calmer, we chatted our way through the puddly track which last week had virtually dried out. How quickly conditions can change at this time of year.
The least scenic part of the route comes now, along the industrial estate cycle route and out the other end, not sure any of us were prepared for that wind, but the Park Warden was right it did only get worse! There were a few dodgy lines being ridden here as the bikes blew about a bit but by now I think we were all quite well adjusted to it so it didn’t take long to dispatch that part and finally head back into Lydiard Park and return to the sanctuary of the Cafe . Cake duly collected we then settled down for what I think may have been the longest coffee stop in Ladies Ride history. Everyone had done so well to turn up at all when conditions were not ideal , and 14 miles were completed although my legs suggested it was longer in that wind.
Ladies, many thanks for supporting the first ride of summer – you were brilliant today!