Bristol to Cirencester: very wet - Southwest England in April - CycleBlaze

April 25, 2014

Bristol to Cirencester: very wet

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529 metres (1735 feet) up, steepest uphill 11%


After a final delicious buffet breakfast (Al ate 5 croissants—shame!) we took off about 10:00 in light rain. Less than 2 kilometres along the bike path into the park, Al got another flat tire. This time, as well as changing the tube, he put on the new tire, while strapping the old one to his rack for a thorough going-over later. The new tire did the trick and there were no more punctures--we were very glad to have found it!

Changing a tube and tire in the rain is no fun, but at least it was a front tire
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The small tree gave no real shelter from the rain, but offered something to lean the bike against
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The rain increased as we cycled part of the Bristol to Bath bike trail, nicely paved, but not very interesting. We left the trail after about eight kilometres and headed off through the Gloucestershire countryside towards Cirencester. We were skirting the Cotswolds area today with its picturesque stone villages, not looking their best under the grey wet skies. We passed through the village of Pucklechurch, but unfortunately missed Chipping Sodbury because we were on the way to Sherston.

Just in case we became confused about the direction
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The only other cyclist we saw on this wet stretch of cycle path zoomed past with head down and spray flying
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We stopped for lunch at the Wishing Well Pub in the middle of nowhere, and we were mighty glad to see it at that point because the rain was hosing down and we needed a break. The proprietor very kindly set us up at a table in front of the radiator so that we could dry out. Our “waterproof” gloves were soaking wet and we squeezed them out into a handy potted plant. She served us a delicious mushroom soup as well as sandwiches and two lattes each, which warmed us up nicely.

Our bikes parked outside the Wishing Well Pub in the rain, with the puncture-prone old front tire strapped to the rack
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After lunch we slogged along in the rain, through the picturesque but very touristy village of Tetbury with its lines of tour buses. The last 25 kilometres was on a busy A-road with too many cars driving too fast, overtaking each other and spraying water everywhere. This was not fun and actually rather dangerous. There were potholes along the sides of the road which were full of water. We couldn't tell how deep they were, so didn't want to ride through them. That put us in the roadway with the cars trying to get past us as we dodged back towards the shoulder when we could. After awhile Eva decided to let the cars look out for her and just rode where she could see the pavement. She figured it would be so inconvenient for a driver if he hit her, that he would do his best to avoid her. That seemed to work since we arrived in Cirencester soaking wet but otherwise unscathed.

We dripped into the Ivy House B&B, stripping off our soggy rain booties in the back porch before heading up the carpeted stairs to our room, with its convenient walk-in closet where we could hang up our wet clothes out of the way. It felt heavenly to take a hot shower and rest for awhile.

The rain was still coming down when we walked to dinner at Jesse's, a very nice restaurant in an old stone building that used to be a butcher shop. Eva's starter was a beet carpaccio and goat cheese salad, while Al had crab quiche and salad. We both chose the pork steak with green beans for the main course, and finished with coffee and truffles. The rain finally stopped as we walked back to the Ivy House after dinner.

Today's ride: 64 km (40 miles)
Total: 628 km (390 miles)

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