PBP 2015: touring back with ACB talking about LEL the idea of Bristol Glasgow Bristol was born.
Back home I set about its backbone. Fettling ensued, then a test ride et voilà, one Big Gert Brevet!
WHEN:21/08/2021 - 30/08/2021 10:00 - 20:40
Easton, BS5 6NG
EVENT REVIEW SUMMARY:
Extensive route notes and a variety of files will be distributed to entrants via email a week or two before the event. In the mean time use the interactive map for an overview of what lies ahead (subject to change); toggle the elevation & grade on/off by clicking the key. *Please note plugin's 'grade' is experimental so take it with a pinch of salt, especially where rocky outcrops may be present.
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Actual date and times still tbc but it’ll be late August, more than likely finishing on Bank Holiday Monday. Also the event validation will likely be a Brevet Populaire for a more ‘relaxed’ experience (10 days) and either a BR or RM.
Depart Bristol via The Downs to the Severn Bridge and into Wales. Take the path less travelled over the tops of hills all the way to the edge of Snowdonia, Clocaenog Forest and the Clwydian Hills. Back into England and pass through Chester. Cross the Mersey via the Silver Jubilee Bridge. Into Preston and out to the heart of the Forest of Bowland where the routes makes its first cross of the return. Traverse the Yorkshire Dales crossing the glorious but brutal Pennines to Barnard Castle; some old Roman Roads and tracks are involved, Ribblehead Viaduct viewed (if you want you can make a slight detour to pass under). North Pennines ensue, cross Hadrian’s Wall after Hexham before into Kielder Forest. Go the other side of Kielder Water to the Castle. Scotland! Cut west through Dumfries to Clatteringshaws Loch, Loch Dee & Troon in Galloway Forest. Turn north once again through Ayrshire and into Glasgow to Central Station; the West Coast Mainline Terminus.
Now back south you go. Over the Southern Uplands to Gretna and back into England. To the west of the Lake District then straight (up) over Harknott (to walk) and Wrynose Pass. Back to the Forest of Bowland. Steal up the Nick of Pendle. Moor tops; some cobbled with turbines sweeping. Snake Pass into the Peaks for a bit of Hope. Pass Chatsworth House to Derby. A respite to Stratford on Avon and a peaceful old railway line out. The Cotswolds are ahead. Yep, you guessed it, up and over before dropping back down to Bristol.
X-rated – in its purest form for this iteration; no sleep facilities, no dedicated controls, no bag drops! I used a Carradice Barley with bivvy and sleeping bag rolled up on top, plus a frame bag to carry kit.
Various surfaces involved but primarily road. Included are forest tracks, peak trails, cobbled moor roads, city shared paths, old railway lines and the usual potholed British roads…
What others think.
Test Ride 2017
Late April I set off, nerves tightly bundled, would I be able to do it? I hadn’t done any training apart from regular riding. I’d given myself targets for each day, packed several kilos of malt loaf, said bye to the family and was off!
Into Wales, on roads less travelled on audaxes, finding desolate hill tops quickly and constantly.The top of Hirnant Pass after Llyn Efyrnwy was welcomed as I knew the descent was a long one! Night drawing in as I scaled Bwlch Penbarras of the Clywdian Hills before skulking into Chester just before midnight to find a comfortable spot to sleep.
Up at the crack I’m off to Runcorn having to navigate (throw bike over a fence) roadworks. The result being the Jubilee Bridge is now open to bikes, buses and local traffic only so you’ll get to enjoy it a bit more. Weave through old industrial towns to Preston and to the Forest of Bowland. Nothing too taxing, a good mind easer as you question “WTF am I doing?”. Pennines: stunning, brutal, glorious, you’ll be raising that “WTF?” question again until you are spat out the other side. Hexham onto Kielder was done in the dark, it was a cold dark tonight. I crossed the border in the early hours and hunkered down for the night.
Glorious weather again I set off down the valley before more hills as I sped east to west across the bottom of Scotland to Galloway Forest and some forest tracks from Clatteringshaws to Glentrool. Desolation score off the chart! Heading north over the Southern Uplands I’m in Ayrshire; rolling countryside, hills deceptive. Descending into Glasgow at midnight, AirBnB tonight!
Up early, MDs for breakfast, head south again, all downhill from here. I followed the old road tracking the M74, the surface was diabolical; new route will be through Strathaven, more countryside and hopefully a better surface.
Back into England after Gretna, Carlisle then over the western edge of the Lakes where the hills began again. I was at ease with them now; over a 1000km done, I was almost home! Hardknott to walk was spectacular. I set near the top overlooking the Roman Fort, Eskdale and out to the Irish Sea as the sun sank. In the gloom Wrynose wa ticked off and I sped to Windermere and indulged in a last minute AirBnB.
Such a good sleep, wandered into town at 9am and sat in a cafe on the corner for a proper full english and proper coffee as I watched the world go by. At this point all my anxiety had gone. I’d figured out my ‘metric’ and calculated I had loads of time in hand. An hour later I picked my bike up and headed off. Crossed the Forest of Bowland the other way. Navigated old mill towns north east of Manchester. Slithered up Snake Pass, watched by some bemused coppers, in the fading light. The top, the highest point of this version, not yours – The Cam High Road steals it by an extra 75metres, before descending to Derby. 24hr MDs at midnight.
I’d keep going after coffee, and more coffee. Silently through the night, everything still, now the early morning. A Juniper tree on the outskirts of Stratford upon Avon made an excellent home for a few hours shut eye; its drooping boughs keeping the breeze at bay.
On a high down low, no hills to be seen. Cross the Vale of Evesham. The Cotswolds rise up in their quaint irrelevance to what has been before. But they still pack a punch by this point. Who cares? At the other end is Bristol. Dropping off the escarpment, still an hour away the emotions rose. Had I really just done that?
I had and I’ve never look at a ride the same again. Anything is achievable once you tell your brain to “shut up!”
Like or loath it? Let others know.
Bookings are not yet open
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- Additional measures will need to be undertaken for a successful event and for future ones to take place including but not limited to: staggered starts; remaining in your group; electronic proof of passage.