Tag Archives: tetbury

Gary and Tom’s wet ride

Set of steps in Nailsworth
Steps for a future ride

This was my first outing on the bike for a few weeks. This was an advertised a ride for MBSwindon and I’d carried out a recce mission in January. This meant that I had committed to doing it.

Things weren’t looking so good two days before though – I gave myself food poisoning with a rotten tomato, had a very poor night’s sleep and felt very weak and tired.

Before that I’d been struck down with a severe cold for 4 days in January. I’d been just well enough to make the Croft Trail build day in the rain and cold. I’d returned to work the next week but not felt right and that wrote off the next weekend. I missed the MTBMeetup (Coedybrenin social ride via Twitter) and the Red Kite race. I had managed a short walk on the Sunday where I’d located some steps for a future ride near Nailsworth. Things had been looking better for the week before this ride.

After thoughts of cancelling or getting someone else to do it I decided to carry on anyway. I was desperate to start covering some distance again.

On the day I felt slightly weak but I could feel enough energy to carry me for a few hours. The weather definitely encouraged me. After weeks of rain the sky was dry.

Cows near Stroud

When I arrived at the start point I rode up the ramp to the car park expecting to see the usual sea of bikes and people. There was a very pleasant aroma from the burger van but no bikes. Then I spotted Gary Palmer unloading his bike.

We sat around for a bit, checked the Facebook event to see if we had the right start point (we had) or if anyone had left messages (they hadn’t). After ten minutes we decided that it was just the two of us then. In some ways this was good news: I had a whole host of new route options that I wanted to investigate, there was no pressure on pace and we could do a reasonably short ride (ha ha ha).

Suspicious van
Wanted for crimes against mountain bikes.

The route had the initial aim of reaching Tetbury by lunchtime but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to do the descent to the Weighbridge Inn (pie pub). Then we decided to check out some tracks near Minchinhampton. Then the track descent to Avening, only we had to pedal down all of it. It was very unlikely that we would be claiming any Strava honours on this trip.We ticked off another missing track coming out of Avening and then followed the old railway line into Tetbury.

Mountain bike descent near Weighbridge Inn near Nailsworth
Weighbridge Inn descent

Generally I had been feeling pretty good and the fitness was clearly still there. On the road section near Tetbury I noticed that I was weaker than normal. I’d also eaten very little which worried me. It hadn’t rained yet, which was great, but the wind was icy cold on my head.

The Garmin was showing 26km when we reached the bike jumble. I started to wonder if we could cover 50km if we kept going. After the tea stop we called round to see Pete at Veleton bikes for a cup of tea. He planted bad ideas about buying a new road bike.

Veleton Cycles in Tetbury
Pete at Veleton Cycles.
Big puddle on the Macmillan Way near Sapperton
Wet is it?

I warned Gary that is was uphill all of the way to Sapperton from Tetbury. I’d ridden a similar route in December and it had wrecked me because of that. This time we had a sea of soggy mud to contend with pretty much the whole way. Gary commented that is was heavy going. I felt the same. I just concentrated on regulating my power output to keep me feeling well and the distance just seemed to go by. At one point I followed the advice of a marathon runner and thought entirely about something else, in my case work. This helped more muddy tracks to pass by. I forced myself to drink and input some Mule bars and Carmans Muesli bars. These instantly lifted my energy levels.

We were both seriously fatigued in the muddy field past Frampton Mansell that required intense pedalling to make progress downhill. I felt that I was approaching a bonk moment. More Mule bars kept me going. I once again failed to find the correct route first time down through Cowcombe woods but we did have a giggle sliding around in the mud.

Stroudwater canal flood
Stroudwater canal.

The last leg of the ride was to follow the Stroudwater canal back to Stroud and then the old railway line to the start point. The canal was flooded in a few places. We watched a walker wade through a flood under a bridge before deciding that we would give it a go too.

When we reached Stroud I had the option of peeling off for home but decided to complete the circuit by riding to the start. Gary thanked me kindly for turning an easy ride into an epic and then I rode home.

Stroud Tetbury and Sapperton epic route mapGarmin claimed 65km but was missing a few when it couldn’t locate any satellites at the start. The Garmin website also seems incapable of working out my moving time properly but Strava has managed it.

Stats: 67km (estimated), moving time 5h20, av moving speed 12.1 km/h, 1990 KCal (and the rest).

Maps: gpxGarmin | Strava

It was a relief to be out on the bike again. I clearly didn’t learn my lesson regarding my lack of self control though. The reason I was ill was probably related to the lack of rest in the preceeding three months. Oh well, maybe I’ll learn soon.

Bike jumble ride with Stroud Valleys Cycling Club

Stroud Valleys cycling clubThis was a road ride with Stroud Valleys Cycling Club. It was graded as easy so I thought it would be an ideal jaunt on my mountain bike.

The plan was to meet at the Lock Keeper’s Cafe in Stroud and then ride to the Jole Rider bike jumble at Tetbury.

The previous evening I had gone to bed at 5pm and couldn’t face packing my kit let alone riding anywhere. After four hours of sleep I awoke and almost felt human. So I packed my kit and decided that if I woke up before 8am on Saturday then I’d be riding.

I woke up on time on Saturday and after a lot of porridge I was ready to ride. I’d have to say that I clearly wasn’t 100% well and had a bit of a temperature. Luckily as soon as I was outside and saw the sunlight then I already felt better.

Stroudwater canal

I followed the canal path and old railway line to Stroud and arrived uncharacteristically early. I eyed up a steep set of steps that I’d seen in the dark on one of the Noahs Ark shop rides. Steps, a concrete beam and a large drop into the canal. What could possibly go wrong?

Canal steps in Stroud.

Shortly before 10am then riders started to appear…organiser Helen, some guy from Chippenham Wheelers who’d ridden from Devizes (Gary), Laurence who’d arrived an hour previously, and a few more riders. We had an eclectic range of bikes: touring bikes, a beefed up “cargo bike” (I’m sure it’s got a proper name) that was being tested for an African jaunt, a vintage mountain bike and myself on my shiny looking Stump Jumper (tyres set at 50psi).

After a grind up the road towards Rodborough we pulled off onto back lanes. The route had no respect for elevation and was surprisingly hard work. Things were looking promising with a pub stop 15 minutes into the ride. When I say “pub stop” I mean that we stopped for a moment within 10m of a pub. We didn’t go in or anything. I’m so over visiting pubs anyway.

After a punishing climb up to Painswick, a blast down to Avening and then another sneaky climb we weren’t far from the jumble. A slight descent with a trail wind was exactly what was needed for some speedy riding.

Jolerider bike shed

This was my first visit to the the bike jumble. One half of the warehouse contained bikes that Jole Rider fix and send to Africa whilst the other half contained the sale. There were rows of boxes containing returns and seconds for sale for around half retail price. Someone told me that these tended to come from Wiggle. I wasn’t really in need of any gear, having just updated my anorak collection. I considered a head torch, some more Helly Hanson tops or shorts. In the end I found a fully waterproof ruck sack that was too much of a temptation for me at £20. Ideal for wet rides I reckon.

Joleride bike jumble

I found the optimum position in the doorway to bask in the sun, avoid the wind and drink tea whilst we waited for Laurence to carry on buying things. After so many frenetic events recently it was a pleasant change to have some rest time.

Cyclists eating burgers.

The return route worked round to Kingscote, Nympsfield and Selsley Common. This was an excuse for a bit of a road race. Any Strava dreams were wrecked when a Land Rover stopped to pull into a driveway and held us up for 30 seconds near the bottom.

Cycling in the Cotswolds near Kingscote.

We finished by calling into the Lock Keeper’s Cottage for tea and cake. After some confusion about whether there were any non-cake options I ended up with a very tasty Falafel.

I finished the day off with a quick trip down various steps and the canal path.

Set of steps on cycle path in Stroud.Overall it was a fun day out and I didn’t need to wash the bike at the end. I covered over 50km and felt a tad tired. I don’t know whether that’s because I wasn’t totally well or because I was having to work hard to keep the mountain bike moving. Good training anyway.

For more rides in the Stroud area then keep an eye on:

Stats: 53.5km (33 miles), 520m, 1860KCal, moving time 3h8m, av moving speed 17km/h (10.5mph). Peak speed outwards was  57 km/h (36mph) descending to Avening, returning was 54 km/h (34mph) on Selsley common.

I tend to use Garmin for elevation gain estimates. Compare with Strava and Bikehike!

  • Garmin 520m
  • Strava 601m (+15%)
  • Bikehike 790m (+52%)


Stroud Valleys cc bike jumble map