WHEN: +iCalSat 14th January 2023 07:00 - 20:30
WHERE:Warmley Station Bristol And Bath Railway Path Warmley, BS30 5JB
Day and night, fast and slow! Beautiful valleys including the Chalke with the odd hill thrown in; plus Cheddar Gorge, maybe in the dark with its looming walls. Stunning views en route, you may just see The Needles…
Day and night, fast and slow! Beautiful valleys including the Chalke with the odd hill thrown in; plus Cheddar Gorge, maybe in the dark with its looming walls. Stunning views en route, you may just see The Needles…
Heading out from Warmley Station along the Bristol to Bath Railway Path and through the 2Tunnels under Combe Down you will make your way into Wiltshire and cruise down the amazing virtually traffic free Wylye Valley, which the still operational GWR Wessex Main Line follows to the historic town of Wilton with its Italianate Church. Hopping over to the Chalke Valley, named after a small tributary to the River Ebble emerging at Broad Chalke, you head towards Shaftesbury after a couple of climbs; the first onto Charlton Down on a section of old Roman road between Bath and Badbury Rings, here you may see on the horizon The Needles if a clear day. Descend the infamous Zig-Zag Hill to Shaftesbury. Using predominantly B roads from now you head to Wells, here the road named Strawberry Way follows what was once the old Strawberry Line named after the local produce. Level riding through Somerset to Cheddar and its mighty Gorge, most likely in the dark with its looming rock faces, you ascend The Mendips to the Chew Valley and the arrivée at The Holybush Inn, Bridgeyate.
Public toilets should be open from 06:30. The car park is now short stay only! Please do not park at The Holybush Inn; people live there and don’t want to be woken at the crack of dawn by cyclists scrabbling to unload bikes, also they’d like to reserve the car park for their regular trade. As Warmley is ideally located on the Bristol to Bath Railway Path I’d hope all those coming from Bristol and even Bath cycled to and from the event.
Like or loath* it? Let others know.*Whilst I like to think I can affect the weather alas that is beyond my control...
What others think.
Filthy weather, lovely route
Second audax, absolutely loved it. Disgusting weather made it even more worthwhile. A really lovely route, including the seemingly brutal climbs right at the end 🙂
Type 2 Fun
Cracking route, was pretty close to scratching on a few occasions as the weather was pretty grim, but managed to get round eventually. Nice bit of night riding up cheddar gorge near the end
Chalke & Cheese… wet & wild!
January Audax, it started wet, very wet! But it didn’t dampen the spirits of the hardy riders waiting to begin there little Pootle into the waiting challenges.
The first few kms’s along the cycleway to Bath set the tone, a lot of standing water, a lot of standing water! As the cycleway gave way to the roads, the standing water became rivers, flowing down the roads. By the first control, wet was fully the order so far of the day, a quick bacon cob & coffee and then off again… the rain subsided, eventually, but it was replaced by an 80km section of headwind, some would describe as “character building”, it was, it certainly was, but that said it was strangely enjoyable.
My first trip to Cheddar Gorge was a pleasant experience helped by the change of wind direction, almost a tailwind! Having crested the Gorge, the final 30 odd kilometres, provided the odd lumpy surprise, but this was compensated by further tailwinds.
All in all, with far from perfect weather, it was a perfect day for a January ride.
A great January Audax
I wasn’t planning to do this, I had the Poor Student lined up, but then had to cancel that because I had a training course on the same day. However, I had a lot of fun doing Will’s rides last year, so I thought I would give this a go. Stayed in the faded grandness of the Arnos Manor Hotel, in a room up and down several flights of stairs which had stairs down to its bathrooms and stairs up to a connecting room. Discovered that the reason my tyre was going down was a socking great blackthorn picked up from cycling the roads canals of Basingstoke on the club run the previous weekend. Fortunately had packed a spare tyre and extra spare tube, so did a repair in the comfort of my hotel room. It was a 5 mile ride through the heavy mizzle, brisk wind, and deserted streets of Kingswood to the start, where a crowd of cyclists was gathering. After a cup of tea I manoeuvred my way to the back of the first group off and headed along a cycle path that was soon parting the inland sea of the flooded River Avon. I was glad to follow riders with local knowledge as we weaved through some streets to get to the railway tunnels. (I had been in the opposite direction on Bill’s Easton connection the previous year but after 18 hours and 4500+m of climbing my brain was somewhat addled).
Am carrying 5kg extra at the moment, so started the first hill slowly until the diesel engine kicked in and I could reel in a couple of lighter but less powerful riders, but that just gave me the pleasure of a wet crosswind. However as we weaved towards Westbury the wind generally helped. I rode in company for a little while but then noticed a pothole had shifted my pannier, so was back to a solitary experience. When we got to the outskirts of Westbury I picked up the route of the Col de Neue Chevaux Blancs (a great 300km permanent from Alresford, which views all of the Wiltshire White Horses). The Westbury horse was concealed in the mirk but the hill was a lot easier after 50km than 200. Then it was the Wylye Valley and the first cafe stop. I wasn’t going to stop here, but the cakes looked good and it was good to see Tony Hull stamping the cards (he was the rider to finish immediately after me on my first 300 – the 3 Moors, back in 2003.
A tailwind gave brisk travel down the Wylye Valley to the info control in Wilton. I slogged up the next hill, for the plumber in the sky to test full soaking mode (which worked very well). Fortunately the rain eased before the next cafe stop, in Broadchalke, which serves as the village shop, cafe, Church of England and United Reformed Church chapel. Good on them. They also served Dorset Apple Cake, which was perfectly okay because I had my medical the day before, so its impact on my blood sugar wouldn’t be noticed.
The Ebble was like the Wylye, using the full width of its valley, as rivers should do in winter. At one point a farmer had made a temporary sheep crossing using culvert tubes and sandbags. It was almost but not quite flowing down the road, but by that stage we’d had plenty of experience of cycling through floods. The bigger problem was the wind. It was 81km to the next control and headwind all the way. I felt I made good progress up Donhead Hollow but stopped at the top, certain that this would need an info control. It didn’t, so I had fun descending Zigzag Hill and leaving the car that was following me behind.
The B3081 was quite busy, and windy, and the rain came back again just before Bruton and the brutes of hills that follow. If there had been a cafe in sight I would have stopped but there were just two pubs at Cannard’s Grave. Perhaps Cannard had actually died looking for a cup of tea? There was a rider ahead who I almost caught but who was better at hills than I was. Then I caught them up in Dulcote because the cycle path was closed. She was talking to a couple of riders who worked out the alternative. They set off into the wind like a couple of Belgians with me labouring to stay in touch until I got back on route. Then it was into the wind. I lost distance at a set of lights and then the man with the hammer set about me as I hadn’t eaten enough. I reached Wedmore pie-eyed and barely able to turn the pedals, a condition that was fixed by a pasty, milkshake, crisps, and a tailwind to follow. We sat outside and got cold, and I clearly hadn’t fully recovered (Strava told me I had a personal best on a sector – by 1 second – the only other time I had been this way on Strava was 350km into the Brimstone). However, following better climbers up Cheddar Gorge warmed me up and my legs came back into function for a glorious sail over the Mendips with a solid tailwind.
My 2002 vintage Roberts Audax still handles beautifully, so was able to pass a couple of riders on Harptree Hill and caught two more the descent to Pensford. There was just one last hill. The two riders I caught demonstrated they could spin up hills quicker than me, but when the gradient levelled out, my height and upright riding position acted like a sail to blow me up to them. It was getting really dark, and I only had my commuting lights on – as the Lumicycles are nicely adjusted on the Enigma Machine which is sitting at home, waiting for when the weather and my diary allow me to restart the occasional London commute.
It was just a few miles back to the busy pub, to get my card stamped, and then an easier slog over Kingswood and weave my way through the busier traffic back to the hotel, which was equipped with a huge bath, Hobgoblin beer, and their last pizza.
All in all, a very satisfactory start to this year’s PBP campaign. I need to get lighter and fitter to ride with the vedettes again, but that will be the plan as I prefer the earlier start time and the more disciplined group riding.
Chalke and Cheese 2023
Worth the travel down from Suffolk – plenty of Wind & Rain, punctures and gear failure, one to remember. Will come back some time and do it in the summer months, great route. A starting point for PBP 2023 and great to see relatively young people enjoying Audax.
Bookings aren't available; either I haven't opened entry yet or if after 12/01/23 then they have closed.
You are attending this event.
STATUS: Specific details are Pending - all specifics are usually updated the 5th day before the event.
- Please flick through the following tabs fully and make any preparations before the event.
- Route files & links will be found under the 'Route' tab.
- The event/route specific information will be finalised usually the 5th day before the event and you will get an email reminder 3 days prior from firstname.lastname@example.org - add it to your address book to save any disappointment.
- Should you be unable to attend the event I have enabled cancellation from 'My Bookings'. This will aid me in keeping controls informed as to how many to expect and also reduce wastage when printing the brevet cards. Remember there is no option to refund or transfer if you are unable to attend.
- You will receive your brevet card at the start. Should you start the ride and be unable to finish my phone number is within; please drop me a text with your full name to let me know you won't be finishing so volunteers and myself aren't waiting around longer than necessary at controls and the finish.
- Any queries please use GWRaudax@pedalution.co.uk subject 200cc Query so I can filter them easily.
- Until the route is finalised the interactive map above will give you an idea of where you are going.
- It is advisable to study the route notes prior to the event for further details; especially if you are just using a GPX breadcrumb trail to navigate. These are also the 'cuesheet' within the RWGPS route; zoom the map to your desired level, click on a cue and it will focus the map at that cue.
- Every effort is made to identify road closures before the event and provide alternatives where necessary; however I can not account for any emergency closures that are required.
- A variety of surfaces may be encountered, some may be as smooth as a baby's bum, others potholed nightmares, or somewhere in between; if any unmetalled sections are used this will be noted in the Event Info above and now visible as 'unpaved' within RWGPS.
- I do my utmost to select low traffic routes but there may be times busier sections are required.
- Mudguards aren't mandatory but if you can fit them why wouldn't you?
- I would always recommend a set of lights as you never know what could happen.
- Similarly consider carrying 2 space blankets; they cost nothing, are tiny, and can keep you and an other warm should the unfortunate happen.
Files and links further down, please read through the following first.
EXTRA DETAILS:Included with the RWGPS event are 2 extra sections. The first early on avoids the towpath/footbridge bottle neck between the B&B Railway Path & 2 Tunnels turning of the B&B earlier and using the A36 into Bath. The second is an alternative between Bruton and Wells avoiding the short climb on the A371; it is slightly longer time & distance, more laney, contains a ford with foot bridge, slightly hillier but smaller climbs and goes round the back of Glastonbury Festival site. Notable points on the route:
- 0-18km !!Pedestrians - Barriers - Bollards - Gates - Tunnels!! Predominently shared path on the B&B Railway Path & 2Tunnels - Be aware of other users at all times and give plenty of space to those oncoming. It isn't a race so take your time here so it is enjoyable for everyone.
- 12-13km !!Narrow tow path - Footbridge dismount!! - as above - consider splitting off and using the alternative section available in the RWGPS event if you see everyone before you making a beeline to the end of the B&B.
- 41km !!Curb - unmetalled section!! - after you cross the A350 onto the old road.
- 73km !!Blind right!! - WILTON: LEFT @ T onto A30 $ TOWN CENTRE.
- 150km !!Pedestrians!! - Shared path from Dulcot to Wells
- 183km !!Steep descent - narrow bends!! - W. Harptree Hill: LEFT @ X $ W HARPTREE
CSV route notes - these can be edited in any spreadsheet software.
PDF route notes - a version with maps is available in linked RWGPS route (no account necessary to use the official PDF - use 'More v') or the event.
RWGPS Event - at least a free account needed but you will get full premium features, including offline maps & voice nav for the app, regardless of your subscription level. To sync to your device (Wahoo, Garmin Edge) you need to join this first.
RWGPS Route - no account needed but you will lack a few advanced features such as early turn warnings.
See the RWGPS App for my tips to use your phone for navigation and maximising battery life.
- Can't copy the RWGPS route to your account? I have disabled this so should any changes be necessary there is the one correct version.
- I do not provide technical services for your device having never used anything other than the RWGPS app.
- Can't add it to Garmin Connect? It isn't an activity. Transfer it to your Garmin via USB.
- Can't send to your device? Join the RWGPS event.
EXTRA DETAILS:Brevet cards can be collected from just inside the cafe garden from about 06:30. The field is large so avoid the last minute sign on rush.
Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the depart time to collect your brevet card.
Warmley Station - opens new tab for map. Bristol And Bath Railway Path, Warmley, City of Bristol, BS30 5JB
- Bike - Easily accessible, situated on the Bristol & Bath Railway Path; about 10km from Bristol centre, 15km from Bath.
- Car - On the A420 a short distance east from the A4174 Bristol Ring Road.
- Train - From Bristol Temple Meads use the side entrance and follow NCN4 becoming the Bristol & Bath Railway Path - follow diversions on the path as widening takes place.From Bristol Parkway.From Keynsham Station.
Parking: On street near by - Please do not use the car park next to the start. This is 2hrs max and actively enforced. Surrounding streets in the immediate vicinity are residents only, further out no restrictions. Alternatives:
- Lyde Green P&R is free to use but has opening/closing times though ungated; check link for restrictions. Directions here.
- Bristol Parkway Main Car Park for long term parking and follow directions for 'train access' above.
- Please do not use Bitton Station; this is intended for those using the railway path recreationally not for all day parking.
- If the Hollybush Inn is being used as the finish please do not use their car park.
Food & Drink: Food & Drinks available. The cafe will usually be open 45mins before the start time for tea & coffee and breakfast rolls. Arrive early to avoid disappointment. Unless specified otherwise above.
Accommodation: There is a Travelodge & Premier Inn just to the north at Emersons Green. See here for more. The YHA is in central Bristol and about 30mins cycle using the Bristol and Bath Railway Path.
Hollybush Inn - opens new tab for map & a few details.
- @0km | 07:00 | DEPART: WARMLEY - Waiting Room
- @55km | 08:50-10:40 | CONTROL: BOYTON - Ginnys Cafe @ The Ginger Piggery
- @73km | INFO: WILTON - On left opp Italianate CH & traffic island. See brevet card
- @83km | 09:48-12:36 | CONTROL: BROAD CHALKE - Village Stores
- @165km | 12:30-18:00 | CONTROL: WEDMORE - Village Stores on left @ Church St jnc [FREE]
- @209km | 13:58-20:30 | ARRIVEE: BRIDGEYATE - Hollybush Inn
- Egg bap £3.50
- Mushroom bap £3.50
- Bacon bap £4.00
- Sausage bap £5.00
- Bacon and egg bap £4.50
- Sausage and egg bap £5.50
- Bacon sausage and egg bap £6.50
- Bacon sausage egg mushroom wrap £8
- Veggie/vegan sausage option
Types of control:
- CONTROL - a place or venue where you obtain PoP which can be done in several ways. You will be able to get food and/or drink, also WC will be available.
- Manned - a volunteer or venue member of staff will stamp your card providing PoP. All controls are thus unless specified as...
- Free - you must obtain PoP from that place that has a time and date, usually a receipt from a cafe, shop or ATM.
- INFO - a question found in your brevet card that is relevent to the location needs to be answered and recorded.
- CHECKPOINT - similar to a control but there may not be any facilities present.
- SECRET - now that would be telling wouldn't it!
This is what 'audax' is all about. Travelling between controls to collect proof of passage (PoP) to prove you have cycled the distance. The above controls are found in your brevet card, the route notes, as POIs with the route, and waypoints with the GPX. Your brevet card it to be filled out as you progress around the route. PoP is obtained in several ways. It is highly recommended you carry a pen or pencil to fill your brevet card as you go; if it is a long event numbering any receipts to correspond with the control number will save you time later, then keeping them in order is next level!
USING YOUR PHONE & RWGPS APP:
I use the RWGPS app on my phone to navigate audax events by using spoken cues, I also use it to route check and proof my route notes. This IMHO is the best of all worlds. I don't need to look at a screen (but I can check if I want), I get clear directions when needed (you may need to get used to my shorthand which gets spoken as such), I get a warning if I'm off route, the battery lasts a lot longer than constantly using the screen; especially nowadays as phone batteries are getting bigger plus many are able to rapid charge in a short amount of time. All you need is a good case and mount for inclement weather.
- Install the app.
- Join the event.
- Go to the route.
- Send to device.
- Open app and confirm download.
- In settings (exact location varies depending on iOS or Android) to optomise for best battery use:
- Logging - adjust interval: every 10s is best for the battery, logs your ride but won't get you any KOMs; every 1s uses 10x more battery power to write data but may get you a KOM if you pedal quick.
- Navigation - Spoken alerts ON | Off-course alerts ON | others at your discretion.
- Handlebar mode ENABLED - this will keep RWGPS above any screen lock so you can recall it if needed by pressing power button or similar.
- Handlebar mode - Screen OFF for cues | Proximity Wake OFF (otherwise changes in light will turn the screen on) | Keep screen on NEVER.
- Offline mode ENABLED - when you start riding.
- Better still use flight/aeroplane mode whilst riding.
- You can adjust the text-speech settings via your phone settings; the type of voice, playback speed etc.
Most of the battery drain on a phone is from the screen. By using voice commands you eliminate this but can still view the map if needs be. The second biggest drain whilst cycling is the phone itself searching for a signal as you move between cell towers; putting the phone into flight/aeroplane mode whilst moving solves this problem; you can easily turn data back on to #tag that #CAKE at the next stop!
Make sure battery optimisation is turned off otherwise Android will recognise RWGPS as an excessive battery drain and can limit its functionality. This will be particularily evident if you stop for a bit without GPS signal then continue; the app will appear to be functioning correctly but Android will limit it and data can be lost from the stop point until the app is restarted. There may be a similar feature in iOS.
- Settings >Apps.
- Find RWGPS and expand Advanced >Battery.
- If it says optomised then select and wait for all apps to load.
- Make sure the apps displayed are 'All apps', find RWGPS and select.
- Select 'Don't optimise'. Exit settings.
You have agreed to and declared that at the time of the ride...
- You have no symptoms relating to COVID-19.
- That you are not self-isolating.
- That you are not required to quarantine during the period of the event.
- That no local or other regulations prohibit you from attending this event.
- You agree that if you develop any such symptoms before the event you will not attend.
- You agree that if I develop any such symptoms immediately after the event I shall inform the organiser.
Please follow any wishes of private establishments en route. I highly recommend carrying a mask/buff/scarf etc for the simple act of covering your face if needed when indoors. Any specifics requested by controls will be noted in the control tab.
Audax UK's current policy can be found here.