Paddington Express 400
A Paris-Brest-Paris Qualifying BRM

A great qualifier for Paris Brest Paris. With a late start to mimic PBP and get you used to riding through the first night. You’ll get to Paddington in the early hours.

Bristol, | Sat 22nd Apr 2023 @ 15:00

WHEN: +iCal
Sat 22nd April 2023
15:00 - 18:00
Sun 23rd April 2023
WHERE:
Bakehouse @ Cakesmiths
St Philips Road
Bristol, BS2 0JZ
Validation:
BRM
Paddington Express 400 1
Award Distance:
400
Total Distance:
409km
Duration:
27h0
Speeds:
15-30kph
Climb:
2955m
AAA: 0.00
Rainbow Flat
Paddington Express 400 3Enquiries
BRIEF:
Rated 4.8 out of 5

A great qualifier for Paris Brest Paris. With a late start to mimic PBP and get you used to riding through the first night. You’ll get to Paddington in the early hours.

The Paddington Express 400 is inspired by Brunel’s Billiard Table because of the lack of gradients; this is the GWR mainline between Bristol & Paddington Station.

description:

From Bristol you’ll make a bee line to the Whistlestop Cafe @ Blunsdon Station for the first control. Then into the Vale of the White Horse. Cross The Thames, climb over the Chilterns and pass Brunel’s Sounding Arch at Maidenhead then Windsor Castle (is he in?) for a run into London.

Return along parts of the later mainline from Paddington to Exeter and on as used by the Cornish Riviera Express. First leave London through Staines in the dark then along Nine Mile Drive with an early morning stop for beans on toast.

Continue west into the Kennet Valley and track the Kennet & Avon Canal where Great Bedwyn PO & Stores will be open fro 05:00 for hot drinks, buns and other provisions before into the Vale of Pewsey. Hop over the Wessex Downs, pass through Lacock and descend Box Hill passing Box Hill Tunnel’s western portal before back through Bath to the Arrivee.

details:

For those aiming Audax Club Parisien’s Paris Brest Paris 1200km randonnée you will more than likely ride through the first night and into the next day. This is an ideal opportunity to see how you will fare. No sleeping facilities but an early morning control and a few 24hr services en route.

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.

Brilliant

Rated 5.0 out of 5
14th May 2023

Great route and impeccable organisation. The marmalade sandwiches at Paddington were brilliant. The welcome at all the checks were very much appreciated …. Especially the beans on toast in the middle of the night. Highly recommend these events 🙂

Avatar for Dan
Dan

Not my cup of tea

Rated 4.0 out of 5
2nd March 2020

There was a long stretch of very busy roads with too many traffic lights coming to London that I hate it. I did enjoy the first part, probably because it was daylight?

Avatar for Brano
Brano

Response from Pedalution

Quieter route in but longer for the future

Great night out

Rated 5.0 out of 5
10th February 2020

What a great night out!

Fast start, keep your wits about you in the unfamiliar bustling throngs of the big smoke, before dawn and a return to the rolling west. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.

A unique feel to an Audax and helped get me to PBP. After this ride I’ll always keep an eye out for more of Will’s routes

Avatar for Craig
Craig

Quirky fun

Rated 5.0 out of 5
4th February 2020

Such a characterful and interesting ride. Loved the concept and gives you a different experience to the normal audax event. Riding into London in the middle of the night is bizarre, and seeing the last train to Bristol leaving from Paddington as you arrive is a little tempting 🙂 Starting in the afternoon was great for me coming down to Bristol from further afield and made getting back easier too.

Avatar for George
George

2019

Rated 5.0 out of 5
3rd February 2020

Excellent event

Avatar for Riglar
Riglar


Bookings aren't available; either I haven't opened entry yet or if after 20/04/23 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.
  • Any queries please use GWRaudax@pedalution.co.uk subject 400pe Query so I can filter them easily.

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 ARRIVEE will be in different locations depending on your return time; please see the following 'Start & Finish' tab.

The main advisory points to note are:

  • Whilst the route is advisory do not use the B&B Railway Path to begin. This is busy on Saturdays with families, dog walkers and the general public making their way to and fro. The risk of a large organised event using it isn't worth the potential of conflict.
  • @84km | SO. Use shared path to join RBT $ Wantage A417 !!Xing A420!! - You will be joining at the entrance to the RBT.
  • @152m | Photo opp - Maidenhead Sounding Arch Railway Viaduct - this famous Brunel Bridge crosses the Thames just south of the road, you may get a glimps from the route or if you are interersted you can take a right immediately after crossing the Thames to get closer.
  • @162km | LEFT (SO) on RH bend $ NCN4 !!Shared area - Bollards!! - watch out for Saturday night revellers.
  • LONDON - you will be moving through some of the outer suburbs and using some main roads into and out of. By doing this at night the traffic is less but it is obviously a thriving city with a night life.
  • @200km | CHECKPOINT: PADDINGTON STN - Platform 1 far left under the clock - The controller may be asked to move at some point by cleaning staff, if they do they'll be near the entrance.
  • @378km | Photo opp - Western portal of Box Tunnel. Legend has it the sun aligns with the tunnel when rising on 9th April; Brunel's Birthday.
  • @408km | LEFT @ Zebra xing on RH bend onto B&B Railway Path - follow to end !!Pedestrians - Bollards!! - you can use it now as you'll all be spread out causing no conflict with regular users.
  • The route into London joins the outward route in places so make sure you are aware for any device shinanigans telling you to go the wrong way; similarily the 1st, 3rd & 4th controls (Blunsdon Stn, Paddington Stn & Scout Hut respectively) are on dog legs. If you don't visit the controls you won't be validated.
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:

Please arrive in plenty of time to sign on; and to eat cake!

ARRIVEE - these are all marked on the RWGPS Route, take the time to have a look.

  • 04:38-08:00 |19 Berwick Rd, Easton, BS5 6NG - collect a receipt from an ATM or a local 24hr garage, complete your card and pop it through my door in Easton; locations can be seen as POIs
  • 08:00-16:00 | Bakehouse @ Cakesmiths - the route finishes here.
  • 16:00-18:00 | Left Handed Giant Taproom - a short distance from Bakehouse; at the end of the B&B Railway Path turn LEFT and go through gates into Wadehurst Trading Est, it's just on the right, you won't miss it.
Start:

Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the depart time to collect your brevet card.

Bakehouse @ Cakesmiths - opens new tab for map.
St Philips Road, Bristol, BS2 0JZ

Access:

  • Bike - Located at the start of the Bristol & Bath Railway Path
  • Car - From Temple Way use Old Market roundabout and follow
  • Train - From Bristol Temple Meads exit via the side entrance and follow NCN4

Parking:
No Parking - Paid parking up to 24hrs available a short distance away at Gardiner Haskins. Alternatively use free parking at Lyde Green P&R on outskirts of Bristol (open 05:30-22:45 no overnight). Alternatively Bristol Parkway Main Car Park for long term parking; there are regular trains to Temple Meads.

Food & Drink:
Food & Drinks available.
Cakes, loads of cakes, superb savouries and drinks.
Unless specified otherwise above.

Accommodation:
Bristol YHA close by harbour. Other places see here.

Finish:

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

Route Controls:

  • @0km | 15:00 | DEPART: BRISTOL - Bakehouse @ Cakesmiths
  • @62km | 17:04-19:08 | CONTROL: BLUNDSON STN - Whistlestop Cafe
  • @161km | imm INFO: ETON - opp TL on paved area behind wall - see brevet
  • @200km | 21:40-04:20 | CHECKPOINT: PADDINGTON STN - Platform 1 far left under the clock - The controller may be asked to move at some point by cleaning staff, if they do they'll be near the entrance
  • @252km | 23:26-07:52 | CONTROL: PINEWOOD ACTIVITY CENTRE - 2nd Crowthorne Scouts
  • @319km | INFO: GT BEDWYN - Post Office - see brevet | **OPEN FROM 05:00 for cakes etc**
  • @373km | 03:28-15:56 | CONTROL: CORSHAM [FREE] - collect receipt
  • @409km
    • 04:38-08:00 | ARRIVEE: EASTON - 19 Berwick Rd, BS5 6NG - collect a receipt from an ATM or a local 24hr garage, complete your card and pop it through my door in Easton; locations can be seen as POIs
    • 08:00-16:00 | ARRIVEE: BRISTOL - Bakehouse @ Cakesmiths - the route finishes here
    • 16:00-18:00 | ARRIVEE: BRISTOL - Left Handed Giant Taproom - a short distance from Bakehouse; at the end of the B&B Railway Path turn LEFT and go through gates into Wadehurst Trading Est, it's just on the right, you won't miss 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!

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.