Moonrakers & Sunseekers 300

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.

Easton, City of Bristol | Fri 15th Nov 2024 @ 22:00

ALL READY BOOKED AN EVENT? LOG IN
WHEN: +iCal
Fri 15th November 2024
22:00 - 18:32
Sat 16th November 2024
WHERE:
Felix Road Adventure Playground
Felix Road
Easton, BS5 0JW
Validation:
BR
Moonrakers & Sunseekers 300 1
Award Distance:
300
Total Distance:
308km
Duration:
20h32
Speeds:
15-30kph
Climb:
2295m
AAA: 0.00
Rainbow Flat
Entry:
£20.00
Entry closes:
14/11/24
Moonrakers & Sunseekers 300 3Enquiries
BRIEF:

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 is the winter 300 to do! Described by some as a new classic audax. Come join the fun!

Description:

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, with a brief stop in Salisbury, then edging The New Forest, along the coast to Poole Harbour and breakfast. 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.

Details:

Start time: Groups & a staggered start time will be used to ease the pressure on controls of every one arriving simultaneously. Please include any body you wish to ride with in a group in the booking form. Your average moving speed will help tier groups but isn’t vital. In the past these have been 21:40, 22:00, 22:20 & 22:40; The time allowed is still the same regardless of start time.

Provided: Hot drinks at the start. Flapjacks at Devizes. Hot drinks & cake at Salisbury. Breakfast jackets, hot drinks & bananas at Lilliput Sea Scout Hut about half way. Probably tarka dal at the finish and hot drinks. Cake!

Caution:

There will likely be sand on the promenade and mud on the Strawberry Line. Nothing many others haven’t managed in the past. If the promenade is really bad an optional alternative will be offered.

Navigation:

Route notes and a variety of files/links will be available usually the Monday before the event.


The interactive map above is a guide, subject to change and not necessarily the final version. Toggle 'chart' for elevation & approx. slope %; now works in full screen too.

Type & Validation:
  • The route is advisory - you just have to visit the controls and gain proof of passage within time limits where specified; there may be parts that you'd like to take a different route and that is entirely up to you; the time limits for the controls don't change!
  • Validation: Not Instant - brevet cards are returned to AUK for homologation. I will post them on to you UNLESS you deselect brevet card return postage (see the roll over tip in booking form).
Venue details:
Parking: Limited parking around Bannerman Road Community Academy or urban side roads. Otherwise parking at Bristol Parkway Railway Station (paid) is a good option. For full details see Felix Road Adventure Playground
What others think.

Nice route but badly timed off-road section and some control issues

2nd February 2020

Overall, a pleasant ride; a good variety of countryside, low-traffic route, and an overnight start is definitely the more civilised way to do a 300k. However, beware of an overlong, sandy seafront section, a gravel path to the third control, and most frustratingly a long section on a muddy path full of walkers before the penultimate control – really the worst possible time for it. To top it off said control had closed early when I did the ride – apparently a single staff member had opened early and run the cafe all day – hopefully something that will be evened out for future editions. Also note the first control serves only instant coffee (quite a disappointment after the excellent offering at the depart), so you may need to look elsewhere to sustain you through the night.

Avatar for Michael
Michael

Response from Pedalution

Thank you for your review and glad you enjoyed it overall. I’m adding the following so when others read they are aware of the points you raised.

Entrants are fully informed of the conditions on both the Boscombe-Bournemouth-Poole Promenade and Strawberry Line prior to the event. By organisation the local council had cleared the promenade as best they could, at that time of year, prior to the event. Both are parts of the NCN and shared paths. The route is advisory and you are free to take an alternative route if desired, which is also mentioned in pre-event communication.

Sometimes sourcing a control that is willing to be used between midnight and the morning may entail some concessions; like an unmetalled access road.

Penultimate control had several members of staff on at their busiest moments. They thoroughly enjoyed it as I popped in later the next week to thank them. They closed after the control time but earlier than they would have normally which is beyond the event’s scope. I note they stamped your card.

Control 1 is actually a checkpoint, sole purpose to stamp cards; everything else is a bonus. But yes 2D coffee just isn’t enough, unless you ask for 2 heaped spoons…

Didn’t know I had it in me

1st February 2020

I started the ride with my brother who was going the loop from Castle Carey. He arrived in Bristol with 40 miles in his leg as and looked knackered. I had only cycled over from Bath. By Devizes Nick was feeling rotten and called it a day so I went off into the night on my own.

I whizzed round and kept myself sane with numbers and flapjack. The route was fantastic and over before I knew it. Will definitely ride again.

Avatar for Richard
Richard

Moonshine!

1st February 2020

Moonrakers & Sunseekers 300 (2019)

This weekend saw me complete the ‘Moonrakers & Sunseekers’ 300k audax. This was a great event and only the second time it has ran. This was my second audax on my new bike ‘Rainbow Dash’.

The start was in Bristol, in a rather funky bicycle cafe shop called the ‘Camber.cc cafe’ located at ‘Business as Usual’ business unit. Lots of cyclists all met here to fraternise, get ready and eventually set off. I think something crazy like 130 people entered. The place was full, but I’m not sure 130 left.

It was dark when we all left. It would be – it was 10 o’clock at night. The weather was probably best described as drizzly – raining at times and not at others. The roads were flooded here and there but no real problem as I took due care. The first section reminded me of cycling PBP, as there were plenty of red tail-lights to be seen. Heading out through Bath, I passed through Devizes and cycled past ‘The Crammer’ to stop at the ‘Moonrakers’ pub. All the while I had been cycling under a waning gibbous moon.

The Crammer is the town’s pond and it’s famous for a local legend. This legend has been dubbed ‘the Moonrakers’ and goes something like this: A group of Wiltshire smugglers heard that the Excise Men were heading into Town. The quick thinking smugglers knew that they had to hide the contraband barrels of brandy they were carrying and decided to roll them into the Crammer. After the Excise Men had passed through Town, the smugglers recovered the barrels by using rakes. The Excise Men were some-what suspicious and returned to Town to take a second look. They saw the smugglers with rakes and questioned what was going on. Smartly, one smuggler pointed to the reflection of the moon in the water and said they were trying to rake the cheese from out of the water. Oh how the Excise Men laughed, thinking how stupid the Devizes folk were. The smugglers laughed loudest being the folk that had the last laugh – their quick thinking had stopped them being caught. Wiltshire people to this day are known as ‘Moonrakers’. I felt like a honorary Moonraker cycling this event.

Leaving Moonrakers I sped on to the next control which was only 30k away. This section felt super zoomy. I saw lots of interesting wildlife which included at least 2 owls and a mouse. A motorist pulled alongside me at one point and gave me a ‘fair play’ once he realised I was planning to cycle all night. I’m sure I passed signs for Stonehenge and coincidentally, I’m sure the control was at Solstice Park. I opted for a MaccyD at the control which is my usual audax staple diet.

Didn’t take so long to reach the next (information) control. Wow, I wasn’t far from the Jurassic Coast. Memories about my summer holidays and family came flooding into my head. My head filled with further memories once I finally reached the Sea Scout hut in Poole. Poole has presented me with much adventure – it was here that I first lost my front teeth following a cycle accident aged 16. More recently I had cycled here with Ron (on a SIKA event) and experienced the same menace of cycling through sand covering the promenade. The Scout Hut was a fresh memory – I had never been there before. The Scout Hut was great – I was able to dry my socks on the radiator and was treated to a breakfast of baked potato and beans.

Leaving the Scout Hut and it was still dark. I wanted to send SJ a photo and say something like ‘at the sea-side at last’. Oh well, should SJ read this post, the above photo is for her (this was a previous occasion when I visited the Jurassic Coast). Ha!

The stretch after breakfast felt long – probably because it was quite a distance to the next control. The sun I was seeking finally came out though which was nice. I took an unofficial stop about half-way between the controls. Lots of lanes were cycled before I reached the official control in Podimore.

The return leg was definitely more hilly and certainly more pretty (this may have been because I could now see). Pretty lanes were cycled and beautiful villages passed including the chocolate box village of Milton Abbas. I passed the magnificent Abbey and headed on into the Dorset Hills. Hard to believe how many wonderful places this route passed through including Somerset and Glastonbury Tor.

Glastonbury Tor

Much of the folk around Glastonbury were dressed as if they had just attended the festival. I must have smelled like I had been there too! More lanes, ascents and descents took me across The Levels and to Axbridge.

Moonrakers and Sunseekers, 310k

The route reminded me of the ‘Cycle for Uganda’ event that I had completed this year with Chris Hodge and Ben Adams et al. This was because I again cycled the Strawberry Line railway path. This path went through the end of The Mendips passing orchards to stop at the Strawberry Line Cafe. My bike was absolutely covered in muck and goo by this point as the railway path was off-road and very wet and muddy. The cafe was located on a rail platform and they provided me with a much needed breakfast of the Full English type. Delicious.

The final leg was only about 30k and returned back to Bristol. I passed through Cheddar at one point and wondered if that’s where cheese was made and my thoughts shifted to raking cheese and The Crammer. Once again my head was filled with many memories of my past as I had been to Bristol on several occasions before and even studied ‘Bio-Medical Sciences’ there, back in the day. The suspension bridge was always a pleasure to see. And so was Felix Road adventure playground – the arrivee!

Top event! Nice one Will (organiser). Pleased to report that there was plenty of (Will’s) hills and plenty of thrills. Bonus too – no spills!

Avatar for Doo
Doo

Like or loath* it? Let others know.
*Whilst I like to think I can affect the weather alas that is beyond my control...


Bookings aren't available; either I haven't opened entry yet or if after 14/11/24 then they have closed.


You are attending this event.

The following ride details are currently: CONFIRMED - all details have been updated. You will be notified by email of any last minute changes made here.



  • 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 Monday before the event and you will get an email reminder 3 days prior from bookings-noreply@pedalution.co.uk - 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.
  • Please use 'Enquires' link above for any queries.

New to audax? Have a look at Audax UK's About for an overview & FAQs for commonly asked questions.

  • 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.
EXTRA DETAILS:

The main advisory points to note are:

  • @91km | Salisbury checkpoint is on a dogleg, make sure you know where it is to prevent your device blindly leading you straight on.
  • 143-151km | !!Sand in places on promenade!! Pay attention for other users - advised max speed of 10mph.
  • @153km | Lilliput (Poole) control is on a dogleg down an unmetalled track, make sure you know where it is to prevent your device blindly leading you right onto the SP.
  • @154km | After above control shared path with bollards either end, new segregated path in places.
  • @167km | Road and left bend ahead can be slippy with leaf litter.
  • @202km | !!POSSIBLE ICE!! in dip down to river bridge.
  • @243km | Glastonbury centre is closed for the Frost Fayre. You can push your bike through if you want but it will be busy with market stalls and hundreds of people. The route goes round the outside of it.
  • 263-280km | !!Probable mud on Strawberry Line SP!! Pay attention for other users.

Additionally:

  • On the route check it was noted that there was flooding after Glastonbury at Goldney. 21/11/23 - My eyes on the ground have informed me that Godney Road is still underwater and official Road Closed signs are now in place. I have updated the RWGPS route and all files to reflect this; the route is now Glastonbury - Westhay - Wedmore on the B3151. So if you have already downloaded the route or files please do so again, if you have pinned the RWGPS route you may need to refresh any devices that are synced.
  • On Saturday at 10:00 the Strawberry Line Sandford Link opens (@272km) so if you want you can be a part of history and be one of the first to use it; just follow the Strawberry Line signs and you'll be back on the route saving a km. It still isn't marked on any map but you can see the old railway it follows on Satelitte view.
  • I have included a Stonehenge detour with the RWGPS event. It uses some byway and bridleway to cross you back over the A303 and use path adjacent back onto the old road to Amesbury (At West Amesbury you could go down the Woodford (Avon) Valley to Salisbury.
Route Files:
CSV

CSV route notes - these can be edited in any spreadsheet software.

PDF

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.

GPX

GPX with control waypoints - if re-uploading to an online planner please make private so as not to confuse others in the future - use this tool to split at waypoints and/or simplify.

RWGPS Links:
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.

Route

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.

Troubleshooting:
  • 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:

The start will be open from 21:00 for tea and coffee. Bags can be left in a side room.

You will already have received an email regarding your start time of 21:40, 22:00, 22:20 or 22:40.

As stated your start time isn't set in stone but a guide I hope you will follow so the controls aren't overwhelmed. If you have friends in another time band, your train gets in at X can I start at Y, etc there is no need to contact me to change your time start time; this will be recorded as you leave.

Start:

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

Access:

  • 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.

Parking:
On street near by - Limited parking around Bannerman Road Community Academy or urban side roads. Otherwise parking at Bristol Parkway Railway Station (paid) is a good option.

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

Finish:

As above. - opens new tab for map & a few details.

Route Controls:

All times are based on a 22:00 start. +/- however many minutes your start group is for yours.

  • @0km | 22:00 | DEPART: EASTON - Felix Road Adventure Playground
  • @50km | 23:42-01:24 | CHECKPOINT: DEVIZES - Moonrakers PH
  • @91km | 01:02-04:04 | CHECKPOINT: SALISBURY - Boat House PH (50p or card for toilets)
  • @132km | INFO: HINTON ADMIRAL - see brevet card
  • @154km | 03:08-08:16 | CONTROL: LILLIPUT - Sea Scouts
  • @227km | 05:34-13:08 | CONTROL: PODIMORE SERVICES [free] - collect receipt
  • @280km | 07:18-16:36 | CONTROL: YATTON - Strawberry Line Cafe - door on platform
  • @309km | 08:18-18:36 | ARRIVEE: EASTON - Felix Road Adventure Playground

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!

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!
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!

ANDROID:

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.