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Day 5 - Bristol to Reddich                   Weather icon, click for today's weather in this location Today's weather in Bristol

Wednesday 3 May 2006

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Map of fourth day of route, click to go to interactive map

Route Description

Leaving Bristol, I head to Chipping Sodbury (because I like the name!) before making my way through the Cotswolds to Stroud, Cheltenham and then Evesham. The last leg is to Redditch and my good friends Aileen, Stu, Christine and Catherine.


Route map.

Mileage: 89

Cycling time: 5 hours 10 mins

Average speed: 17.2 mph

Top speed: 43.6 mph

Start to finish time: 8 hours 15 minutes

Worst hill: Crawley Hill (appropriately enough!)

High point: 980ft

Mileage to date: 311

Vicarious cake and vicarious p***ture

After a late night last night in front of the PC trying to get yesterday's photos to line up and failing, I woke up with the solution worked out. What a clever thing sleep is...repairs weary muscles and at the same time untangles troublesome html!

After her culinary triumph the night before, Diane also spiced up my porridge to great effect by adding mango slices - much to be recommended. Calum arrived to collect me and once, on his insistence, we had transferred some of my luggage to his paniers, we set off. Many thanks to Paul and Diane for their hospitality.

The route out of Bristol was an inspired choice by Calum on the very well made cycle path which avoided all nasty and busy road entirely and, six miles later, had us out in the countryside. Pretty soon thereafter, we had our first fine view of the Cotswolds which we were to follow north for most of the rest of the day.

The first of many pretty Cotswold villages we were to cycle through was Wotton-under-Edge and, the clue is in the name, it was quickly followed by our first major hill! Once at the top, we could have taken the easy option of staying high all the way to Stride. But no! Ever keen to seek out steeper hills, we descended a delightful wood-lined lane to Owlpen Manor and the picture postcard village of Uley, only to climb up the other side immediately. This was Crawley Hill, and aptly named it is too. I think it was at this point that Calum first revealed his habit of singing 30s songs to get up hills and throughout the day, I was treated to such classics as 'Let's face the music and dance', 'What a difference a day makes' and, presumably inspired by the glorious weather, 'What a lovely day for a swim in the sea'! At the top we had a magnificent view right across to the Severn, Wales and the Malverns.

Once through Stroud, it was up onto the tops again and a long, pleasant ride to the descent into Cheltenham. I have to confess to making significant use of Calum's slipstream for this stretch!

Cheltenham was our lunch stop, and Tiffin's Cafe, on the Montpelier Parade and its pillastered frontage, was both welcome and delicious. A good thing too, as our departure saw yet another climb back into the Cotswolds! However, this was to be the last and the road to Evesham was both wonderfully flat and scenic. Winchcombe, in particular, is a very picturesque village.

It was shortly before Evesham that the first p***ture by proxy struck...Calum's back tyre was slowly deflating. We pumped it up again for the short trip into the town and made use of the local bike shop for a tube change while we found cake. The friendly cafe which we found, had such an unusual name that I've forgotten it! There was also a poor decision on the cake choice by me which meant that my Cappucino sponge will be rated poorly, whilst Calum's choice of the carrot cake will get a much more favourable score. Tea break was rounded off by a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday dear Shirley!' from another group of customers - we couldn't not join in!

The last 18 miles to Reddich were a treat of blossoming fruit orchards in the Vale of Evesham and we raced along at a zippy 23mph or so, taking turns to slipstream each other. This stretch was punctuated only by Calum's tyre softening again - the offending shard of glass having no doubt not been spotted by the cycle man. However, with only 3 miles to go, we survived by just pumping the tyre up one more time.

On arrival at the Lockey residence, we were welcomed extremely well by Christine and Catherine who furnished us with drinks immediately and kept us entertained with cats and the albino hedgehog until Aileen returned from the shops, laden with pasta.

As I write this, Calum is on the train back down to Bristol. Thank you so much for spending the day with me and giving me such a companionable trip through Gloucester, Worcestershire, Warwickshire (briefly) and back into Worcestershire. It really helps to ride with someone else, and I look forward to the days further north when I will have company.

Since first posted, I have stuffed myself full of delicious pasta bolognese with optional salad and am ready for my bed.

Keep the messages coming and, work folk, I hope tomorrow goes well - the election and Liberation Day. I will do my best to be on the Council House steps at 2pm!

Cake Review - Cappucino sponge. Dry and disappointing, shame 'cause the staff were so lovely - 4 out of 10. However, I am told that Calum's Carrot Cake was worth 7 out of 10. This evening, pudding was carrot and orange cake, courtesy of Morrisons. Moistish, mainly from the filling. Good flavour. 6 out of 10.

Farewell and thanks to Diane and Paul

View towards Cotswolds

Calum on lane to Uley

The Severn and beyond

Andrew in Cheltenham

Calum in Cheltenham

The bell tower in Evesham

With Aileen, Christine, Catherine Calum on arrival in Redditch

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