We’re gradually sorting out detailed maps for the full route and have completed the three days from Somerset, through Wiltshire into Wales, on to my home county of Shropshire, and then to the National Cycle Centre in Manchester. This stretch takes us nearest to our family home so we’re hoping that some of our Warwickshire and Worcestershire cycling friends will be able to join us for a few miles. We’d love to see you there.
We have not determined all of our stops yet but have realised that we need to stop for a ‘hobbity’ second breakfast within the first two hours because we will be burning a lot of calories, especially when we take a look at the elevations on some of the days.
The second breakfast idea may have something to do with a certain Boo being a big fan of JRR Tolkein’s “The Hobbit” since she read it last year (and her mother’s love of “Lord of the Rings” may be part of it too).
The route is mainly flat but has a couple of good climbs in so we think we are looking at six hours in the saddle. We are planning a food break at Chepstow so that we can pop the tandem on the roofrack for a quick visit to the Newport Velodrome. We tried to plan to cycle there but this detour added more miles than we need this early in our trip. We still want to visit velodromes in England, Scotland and Wales so decided a drive-by is our best option. The other two velodromes will be our stopping points on days five and eight.
Day Four from Monmouth to Shrewsbury takes us closest to home and through my birth county so I’m hoping the familiar roads will help. With just over half a mile of vertical ascent, some of which looks a little fierce but the downhills will be great, we think we’ll be in the saddle for six and a half hours.
We are opting for another 8 am start at Monmouth Leisure Centre in order to leave us time for a good lunch break at the Ludlow Food Centre. This Food Centre has become a popular stopping point with Boo whenever we have been visiting Islabikes to measure her for her latest steed, or to collect her new bike. Sadly she won’t be able to test the current model on this trip as the Fitting Studio has a temporary home that is off our route.
Allowing some extra time for our 76.09 mile route should also give us the opportunity to find some roadside geocaches en route through Hereford, Craven Arms and Stretton and give me a different perspective on roads I’ve cycled since I was not much older than Boo.
Talking of cycling since I was a youngster; we have selected Dave Mellor Cycles as our Shrewsbury stopping point because I have many memories of hours spent here whilst my parents did other (non-cycling) shopping in Shrewsbury. We will be at Dave Mellor Cycles at 4pm to meet the friendly and helpful team, and shake buckets for Cancer Research UK and Zoe’s Place children’s hospice.
Day Five takes us to Manchester and the National Cycle Centre which we are all really excited about as this is where most of Team GB do their cycling training.
Our 68.5 mile route is one of our shortest but this allows us to have a leisurely 8:30am start and still reach the National Cycle Centre at 4pm. There are a couple of short, sharp climbs but we estimate it totalling half a mile of vertical ascent. We think we will be in the saddle for about five and three quarter hours leaving time to enjoy the scenery, especially at the summit of those climbs!
We hope you find it possible to join us for a section of one of these routes and look forward to seeing you there.