WHEN: +iCalFri 19th November 2021 22:00 - 18:32 Sat 20th November 2021
WHERE:Felix Road Adventure Playground Felix Road Easton, BS5 0JW
Moonrakers become Sunseekers! Ride through the night under a full moon to the coast. Return via a few Dorset hills passing Glastonbury Tor, use the Strawberry Line to Bristol.
Moonrakers become Sunseekers! Ride through the night under a full moon to the coast. Return via a few Dorset hills passing Glastonbury Tor, use the Strawberry Line to Bristol.
Moonrakers & Sunseekers has become a popular winter 300.
Head straight out of Bristol through Bath and watch the trail of lights climb the Cat 4 climb of Bathwick Hill; the biggest of the ride. Continue on easily navigated roads to Devizes, passing The Crammer where legend has it Wiltshire folk were caught by the Excisemen raking for ‘the moon’. Continue down the Avon Valley through Salisbury and edging The New Forest, along the coast to Poole Harbour. Moonrakers wane as Sunseekers come into view; those luxury yachts at Poole Quay! Heading home pass through the chocolate box village of Milton Abbas and past the Abbey in the Dorset Hills and on. Into Somerset passing Glastonbury Tor and across The Levels to Axbridge. Then use The Strawberry Line railway path through the end of The Mendips and pass orchards to stop at The Strawberry Line Cafe before returning to Bristol.
Route: It is an advisory route, you may take a different one to that supplied as long as you visit all the controls within time and answer the info questions; no allowance will be made for any extra distance this may occur.
Covid-19: Whilst restrictions have eased I may still use groups and a staggered start time to ease the pressure on controls of every one arriving simultaneously. I still highly recommend the use of a mask/buff whilst in close proximity to others whilst undertaking the event, what ever your views are; it is a small measure that can reduce the chance of you spreading it if you are a carrier.
Provided: Tea and coffee at the start. Breakfast jackets, hot drinks & bananas at Lilliput Sea Scout Hut about half way. Probably tarka dal at the finish and hot drinks. Cake!
Parking: On street local parking. I’d suggest trying the roads around Bannerman Road Community Academy; All Hallows, Graham & Normanby. Please be considerate of residents and keep the noise down.
There will likely be sand on the promenade and mud on the Strawberry Line. Nothing many others haven’t managed in the past.
Waiting List: Should capacity be reached a waiting list will be used. To ensure efficient management it will be a paid entry through the booking system below. Should a place become available you will be notified in order that you have a space and considered entered as if you entered normally. From the Wednesday before the event if a space then becomes available you can decline this space; a full refund will then be given as it will to all those who don’t gain a space.
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.
Great organisers and manned controls, but not a huge fan of the first half of the route
Positives: Very well organised, clear route and instructions, manned controls had delicious food, volunteers all very friendly, second half of route on quite lanes
Negatives: The first half of the route is largely on A-roads, a tiny amount of dual carriageway, and some navigation of multi-lane roundabouts.
As this section is covered in the early hours of the day, there was very little traffic, so it was not a problem from a safety perspective. However, it was difficult to switch off my mind and relax, as I was constantly wary of the occasional car coming up behind too quickly. Being A-roads, there’s also very little to see — the scenery is largely monotonous — compared to cycling on B-roads or unclassified roads at night, where there’s frequently a landmark or wildlife to draw you attention.
I have to admit I did not check the route before taking part, so I am hardly in a position to complain.
Response from Pedalution
Thanks KC. A reminder for those reading it is an advisory route meaning you can choose an alternative route between controls should you desire; yet control times and finish times remain the same.
Moonrakers 2022 - Best route and best weather!
One of Will’s best routes and there wasn’t even a 20%+ hill on the ride! Friday night starts for a 300km are a great idea as you get to finish in the light of the day on Saturday afternoon and still have over half of the weekend free. Aside from Will’s amazing commitment there were also a really great team of Moonraker helpers which made the whole event a real success. Definitely do this ride you won’t regret it. Two weeks after and I am still looking back on it as the best ride for me in 2022. Very lucky with the weather this year however :).
Magical moonrakers and sunseekers
4th moonrakers & sunseekers for me, & the 1st dry one with excellent views of the moon & a brilliant sun rise, it was more like riding in April than November 🙂. A massive thanks to will & all his helpers on a truly magical night.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Alex suggested I join him on this ride in August 2021. He’d really enjoyed it before and said it was incredibly well organised and very popular.
We pulled into Bristol early. The kick-off was at 9 pm and we spent the spare couple of hours scoping out pizza and snacks in a nearby shopping mall before parking up near the Felix Road community centre on the edge of Bristol. This was the perfect venue for the crowd of 185 odd riders, with bikes and clobber, to get ready and sorted before heading out into the night. The atmosphere was buzzing, tea was flowing, snacks were disappearing, lights twinkled, weather was behaving and the chatter was engaging. I was incredibly impressed with the fact that soya milk and dairy free cakes were provided for plant munchers like me. We changed and readied ourselves for the upcoming ride.
Should I or shouldn’t I wear overshoes? That was the question. Alex was in hysterics. One minute they were on, the next off, then on again. I must have been very high maintenance. Overshoes or no overshoes?… Without the expert guidance from those around me, I would still be there stuck in an infinite loop.
We set off in timed waves according to how fast people planned to ride, fastest first. All the different cycling types were lined up, from young to old, seasoned to first timers as well as a smattering of endurance and ex pro cycling luminaries. When it was our group’s turn, we were let loose into the wild..
The group sort of stayed together rolling out of bustling Bristol through Bath heading onto clearer roads towards Devizes and our first control point, the Moonrakers pub. It was now around midnight. Many had made it to the welcoming glow of the bar, with lots of good things on offer: beer, wine, bar snacks, a bathroom to freshen up and a comfy chair. I didn’t delay in taking advantage. Worthy of note was the sweet snacks provided. Sweet, delicious, full of flavour… and importantly energy. We loitered a while, chatting to others learning tales about moonraking, what it was and how it came to be. Very enjoyable.
We left the colourfully lit rest stop and headed south towards the coast in a mild 8 deg C temp and light drizzle just a little after midnight. We probably slightly overcooked the pace earlier, which would come back to haunt us a bit later on. Alex and I found the wide open roads mostly to ourselves as we glided on to the next stop in Salisbury. I love catching up with others on the road, and was treated to stories by a girl who had done big miles in far flung countries like Columbia. #LivingTheDream… At around 2:30 am we arrived at a Gazebo, beside a junction before Salisbury next to an undertaker named “Just Cremation”. I know, right? More great food was laid on, we filled our bottles and chatted whilst having a moment. The peace was comically shattered by my iPhone reading out the ride notes randomly and very loudly. I think I’m the only person left in the world doing long rides whilst attempting turn by turn directions on an iPhone strapped to my handlebars 🤣.
The next leg, along the Eastern edge of the New Forest, through Ringwood and down to the coast via Christchurch was on straighter, flatter, and for some, less inspiring roads. On the other hand, for me it was a journey down memory lane. You see, this is where I spent a large part of my early life. I used to cycle on many of these roads as a teen racer. We went by a farmhouse near Fordingbridge where I used to practise in a band with my best mate, who ended up playing bass for Emerson Lake & Palmer – playing bass for a hugely famous bass-player?? It’s a weird World… His dad, Bill, had a trout farm on the land as well as a few cows, chickens and other animals. Bill also had a rottweiler, who he taught me to be very respectful of. Typical of country folk, the whole family loved the animals they bred, letting them wander in and out of the house at will. You would even find the cows poking their heads through the kitchen door. In my mind I felt they came into the house, but that’s probably a juvenile fantasy. They were my surrogate second family and I have never forgotten the kindness and love they showed me. Whether it was the tiredness or the trick of time, I didn’t manage to spot the gravel path leading to the farm from the road as we sailed by my friend’s old place.
We managed to hook up with a brisk flowing group and sailed through Ringwood at a lick. Such familiar territory. It would be quite a few miles before we came across roads new to me. We hung a left after Ringwood into the lesser known lanes that lead to Burley. I went to a boys school not far from here. We sailed past the Three Tuns pub, where the family had a meal before I moved away. This was an old training route. I knew every nook and cranny of that road.
The group was still together as we popped out on the A35, by The Cat & Fiddle at Hinton, the oldest pub in England. It’s smack bang at the end of the road where I used to live. I worked here as a barman, illegally, aged 14. It was also a rock venue back in the day and I did my first ever gig as a guitarist for an unknown band, who were supporting a famous band of the time called Dave, Dee, Dozy, Mick & Tich. That’s a mouthful…. Check out their hit single “Snoopy Vs The Red Dragon”! haha, Lol. I digress…
Carrying on past the pub towards Christchurch, we passed the spot where I did the regular weekly 10s in the Bournemouth Arrows. We swooped down past the roundabout, where I used to pick up the draft of the school bus on the dual carriageway. I would often hit speeds of 50-55 mph. Live young, die fast. On through Christchurch and over the stone bridges in view of Christchurch Castle, past what once was Tucktonia, a model village attraction, out towards Hengistbury Head, up the hill, onto the coastal road and our first sight of the sea. We followed that shore road along until it led to the boulevard at Boscombe and took to the cycle path along the beach. The sun was rising. We had ridden through the night. It was early. There was nobody around. No swimmers, sunbathers, kids or sandcastles. It was a little damp and late in the year. The group was still pretty much together as we passed Bournemouth Pier and the ‘Chines’ towards Sandbanks, where we left the beach path, joined the road and headed through Lilliput.
We were expecting the all important breakfast stop control point. With a deficit of 8 to 10 thousand calories for the ride, this was essential. The venue was a little off the beaten track just before the cycle path through Baiter towards Poole Quay. It was a sailing club venue – I think – on the waterfront hidden among the expensive yachts. We’d made good time in the group and were reluctant to let it go. For whatever reason – maybe the hive mind effect – the bunch simply sailed on by and completely missed the path. I knew it was somewhere around here. I figured it was just before or actually in Poole. I wasn’t wrong but, being unsure, I didn’t speak up until we were well on our way to Lytchett Matravers. Eventually, I called it, later than I should’ve. I shouted to Alex to hang on and we let the group ride away. I told him I felt we’d screwed up. We dug around on our phones, realised our mistake and turned back, through Poole Quay and Baiter back to the breakfast stop. Annoyed but grateful, we settled down to an amazing breakfast and a bit of well earned recuperation.
The place was jumping. The food was great. The facilities; more than you could have hoped for. Lots of riders were enjoying a cooked breakfast. Again, there were vegan options for people like me. Vegan sausages, beans, toast, jam, tea and cereal. Nom nom. A fly on the wall would’ve seen a few weary faces – unsurprisingly. There were people chilling and getting rest, there were others milling around dealing with mechanicals. On a trip to the loo, I found some people struggling with a tubeless tyre that had failed them, with tubeless sealant getting absolutely everywhere. I felt sorry for them, though I noticed they got it all sorted before Alex and I set off again.
Bellies filled, noses powdered and cards stamped we headed off into the breaking day retracing the steps we had already ridden for a short distance earlier, to make our way from the coast back in the vague direction of Bristol.
This time we managed to make it past Lytchett Matravers and continued through the lanes in a northwesterly direction towards Stern Abbot. We’d swapped from the fairly open main roads on the way to the coast to the country lanes. We rode through the incredibly picturesque villages you find in Dorset, interspersed by beautiful rolling vistas. We passed through lots of places with the pre-name of Winterbourne, Winterbourne this, Winterbourne that, we went past the stunning Milton Abbey with its World famous school close by and on through the morning towards Sherbourne and to the Podimore control.
It was nudging into the latter part of the morning as we left Podimore toward Glastonbury. I hadn’t cycled these parts before; there were long, very straight, quite narrow, Roman-like roads with dykes and ditches on either side. Like something you might find in Holland. You could see for miles in all directions across the plains and wetlands. This was the ‘Somerset Levels’; stretching from the Mendips to the Blackdown Hills. Apparently they are among the lowest and flattest areas of the UK. After Cheddar, we found ourselves back among more familiar countryside.
Next was the section of abandoned railway, repurposed as a bridleway / bike path, known as The Strawberry Line, which led back to Bristol. Some had chosen their bikes accordingly and were riding gravel bikes with chunky tan-walled tyres, specifically for this section and the beach section earlier. We were struggling to find the route and were lucky to spot the wheel of Emily Chappell, a seasoned ultra endurance cyclist, who was obviously far better than Alex and I at navigation. I’d ridden with Emily a couple of times previously, although I suspect that she didn’t remember. Anyhooo… we’d been crossing wheels, so to speak, several times with Emily and her friend since Poole and were thankful for her expertly helping us find the railway path. Sometime later, we saw her by the roadside fixing a puncture. Not having used tubeless tyres before and wondering if I could be of any help, I called out “Are you OK? Is it tubeless?”, to which Emily called back “I’m fine thanks”, or something similar. My thinking was; if she was running a tubeless set up, I would have been of little help. By the tone of her response she was thinking something along the lines of, “what an ignorant mansplaining neanderthal, just ’cause I’m a woman you think I need help?” TBH, it was a pretty dumb, ill considered, throw away comment – all be it well intended. The whole interaction took mere seconds but tickled Alex so much I think it spurred him on for the rest of the ride.
The final control point before Bristol was the Strawberry Line Cafe that sits on the old railway station not long before the path spits you out into the outskirts of Bristol. We hadn’t been there long before Emily rolled up and I dug myself in deeper with another stupid comment along the lines of “Did you manage OK?”, which, as she was standing there, was a vacuous question to say the least. #Awkward. Oh to be me! Lol. Poor Emily. Such is the effect of riding your bike a silly amount of miles overnight without sleep. Both Alex and I had been suffering over the last section but we were nearing the end and had a sense that nothing could stop us from completing.
We set off on the final section back through bustling Bristol outskirts. Alex could smell blood and got a boost of energy that would make the most rested energised. He went for it hell-for-leather through the traffic and lanes, under bridges and junctions. It was sketchy trying to keep up with him as he was gunning it like a speedway racer. It stands to reason that well before you could read this pile of dirge, we were back where we started and were tucking into a welcome nosebag of delicious vegetable curry and rice all laid on by the fabulous Will Pomeroy and Audax Club Bristol. A huge thanks to them for an exceptionally well organised event. I can’t recommend this ride highly enough.
If you are thinking of doing it on the back of our adventure, bear in mind we had mild, slightly damp conditions that night, which made it manageable. Be warned!
A great Friday night out with friends
A brillantly well run 300 audax with a sureal start riding through Bristol and Bath as the pubs get to last orders. Some helpful group riding at 2am helped to get the miles ticked off, with good weather and good banter. We took a detour to Stonehenge before the Salisbury control (which had an amazing selection of cake).
The ebbs and flows of audaxing came out in this one, with the drizzle and cold affecting me just before dawn. Waiting for a lovely sunrise, all we got was greyness, which made the stretch to Podimore Services on lumpy lanes pretty hard work. Never been so glad to get to a Greggs!
A fun final push along the Strawberry Line provides a welcome distraction, having to keep concentration levels up on the shared use path, so avoiding the tiredness.
A brilliantly well organised night and day on the bike.
Bookings aren't available; either I haven't opened entry yet or if after 17/11/21 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 300ms 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:Usually updated the 5th day before the event - you can join the RWGPS Event in the meantime. The latter 3 'Route File' links below will only work once updated.
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:Usually updated the 5th day before the event.
Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the depart time to collect your brevet card.
Felix Road Adventure Playground - opens new tab for map. Felix Road, Easton, City of Bristol, BS5 0JW
- Bike - Easily located off the Bristol & Bath Railway Path NCN4.
- Car - Use Easton Road B4465 into All Hallows Rd for suggested local parking.
- Train - Bristol Temple Meads side entrance links to the Bristol to Bath Railway Path NCN4.
Food & Drink: Food & Drinks available. Included - Hot drinks at start & finish. Dal and rice or similar for evening meal. Unless specified otherwise above.
Accommodation: City centre hotels & YHA
As above. - opens new tab for map & a few details.
Usually updated the 5th day before the event.
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.