Past Ride

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Sun Nov 17th 2013
Regular Wantage Ride 3*
David Smith
Start Time:
9:30 am
Start Location:
80-100km all-day touring ride, lunch and possibly tea stop en route, riding pace 18-22km/h (11-14mph). Not suitable for irregular riders. Climbing almost inevitable.

This months all-day adventure will take us to Barbury Castle, renowned iron-age hill fort on the Ridgeway with splendid views of... Swindon... and, on a clear day, back to Uffington Castle.

A hilly'ish morning out of Wantage via Hackpen Hill, Lambourn and Aldbourne culminating in the climb up to Barbury Castle itself. An easier afternoon back via Chiseldon, Shrivenham and Uffington.

Pub lunch options either side of Chiseldon or we can go to the cafe at the Three Trees Farm Shop. Afternoon tea/coffee/cake back in Wantage. Circa 85km - draft route below - may get tweaked.

Bring lights in case of gloomy weather or unexpected delay.
Despite the weather not looking particularly enticing, a few other hardy souls ventured to Wantage marketplace wrapped up warm and raring to go. A moment of astonishment (or was it fear? :) ) crossed a few faces as a friendly member of Didcot Phoenix stopped for a chat but it transpired he’d done his ride already and was popping to Costa for a coffee not joining us on the ride. :(
And so it was that 7 of us rode out through the mist and drizzle. The Letcombes and Hackpen Hill quickly dispatched, we were soon ‘enjoying’ the descent to Lambourn. It wasn’t really raining and there was no wind to speak of but the mist on our lenses and the wet tarmac prevented us from breaking any speed records!
The ride towards Barbury followed a similar pattern – some steady climbing followed by some steady’ish descending - until we reached the Old Ridgeway. Des and Derek, professing to have climbed Barbury more times than they have had hot dinners, opted to go onto the café for a long lunch.
The rest of us stormed the castle…the single-track road was surprisingly busy with cars given that there would be no view from the top but after we stopped to let a skittish horse go by, most drivers gave way to let us get up in one big push to the top. Another hill conquered!
The warmth and grub at Three Trees farm shop café were welcome. By the time we emerged and got on our way following a puncture incident the cloud had lifted and the views of Swindon that we had not been rewarded with at the top of Barbury finally appeared.
A peaceful ride back to Wantage punctuated only by the mild sting of Fawler Hill saw us in Costas around 3 for coffee, chocolate cakes and some ghostly knocking from haberdashers long departed.
Definitely one of those days when you are reluctant to get out but glad you did! Thanks to everyone for turning out.
86.90 km (54.00 mi)
Ride Details:
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Start Locations
Wantage Market Place
Old Mill Hall, Grove
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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