Steam Express 600

Part of the Brunel’s Billiard Table Series. It’ll still have some #wills_hills to keep you on your toes! A great BRM qualifier for Paris Brest Paris.

Redcliffe, City of Bristol | Sat 1st Jun 2019 @ 06:00

WHEN: +iCal
Sat 1st June 2019
06:00 - 22:00
Sun 2nd June 2019
Benjamin Perry Scout Hut
Pheonix Wharf
Redcliffe, BS1 6SR
Steam Express 600 1
Award Distance:
Total Distance:
AAA: 1.50
Bronze Grimpeur
Steam Express 600 3Enquiries

Part of the Brunel’s Billiard Table Series. It’ll still have some #wills_hills to keep you on your toes! A great BRM qualifier for Paris Brest Paris.


After a fast start to the coast for breakfast you then cram the 2 AAA points in as you climb over Exmoor to the Exe Valley and head east over The Blackdown Hills into Somerset. The going from here is easier with the odd hill thrown in for good measure. Stop at Yeovil Railway Centre, then on to Wiltshire and the Wylye Valley. Cross Salisbury Plain at the end of the day to the North Wessex Downs and the sleep stop. Follow the Kennet Valley on the old coach road in the early hours of the morning to Maidenhead and views of Brunel’s Sounding Arch; see Turner’ Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway above. Over Marlow Bridge and The Chilterns before tickling the eastern edge of the Cotswolds then the Thames Valley to the Swindon and Cricklade Railway. Back past Malmesbury Abbey and the gentle ascent to the Cotswold escarpment before dropping back down into Bristol.


Entry fee includes food at the start/finish, Yeovil Railway Centre and both night controls. Main sleeping facilities (airbeds and blankets) at Kintbury, dozing at Maidenhead.

Adam Watkins’ video – 2019
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.

My first 600 km

2nd March 2020

This was my first 600 and my bottom was suffering very badly. Likely I was riding most of the route with someone, which made it a bit more enjoyable!.

Big that you to Michal and Zlatimira! And Thank you to Will, too! 🙂

Avatar for Brano

Will goes the extra mile to give everyone the best possible event. Thanks!

24th February 2020

A really excellent event. Great route, great controls, nothing is too much trouble for Will and his helpers. Like another reviewer I too struggled to find the sleep control in the middle of a wild and windy night but that was probably because I was tired and not thinking straight! It was worth it when I did find it. I had some good grub and got my head down ready for the early morning stretch out to Maidenhead.

Avatar for Bob

Steam Express (2019)

2nd February 2020

A route which makes Oxfordshire and the South West feel much of a piece, cut from a cloth of warm stone and small village life, animated by different kinds of hills. 600s, I guess, should have good controls — the extra length can add a bit of flexibility to the planning, and the riders need the comfort. The Steam Express delivers in old-fashioned, often train-related style. Benjamin Perry Scout Hut was a near perfect Arrivée. The trip West to the coast at Watchet offered a lighthouse / light-buoy? to look out at while eating some breakfast at the Marina cafe. The hop over to the Exe valley comes to a halt at the dark and mirrored victorian bar of the Beer Engine pub, offering welcome cool, before the route starts to head East via Yeovil Railway Centre towards the Cotswolds, stopping at Ginny’s Cafe and then the Coronation Hall in Kintbury. Pressing on into the night brings up The Iron Duke Sea Cadets’ hut, with a fabulously behatted Duck Iron Duke (or maybe Nelson?). Those last two stops provided hot food in copious quantities, and encouraged you to ride on through the night. But the second halves of 600s tend to drag in the memory; exhaustion greys most stuff out. Bicester as a Free stop and Middle Barton as an Info went with that flow, but Blunsdon Station was a tonic; breakfast in an old railway carriage lifted the spirits (but avoid the coffee). The route only has 2AAA points, but the little hills take their toll; the run into Bristol was mysteriously populated by hills, where none had ever existed before. The Arrivée was full of cake and tea. Great support, particularly on the night section. Pictures #gwrsteam

Avatar for Audaxopedia

MP Steam Express 600 Review

1st February 2020

Excellent event, although I did struggle to find the sleep stop control.

Avatar for Mike

Excellent all round

1st February 2020

Great route, plenty of ‘Will’s Hills’ and excellent controls. Beautiful countryside to ride through on quiet roads. Very much recommended – I will be doing it again.

Avatar for Phil

  • This event is run in accordance with Audax UK's Regulations and is covered by their insurance.
  • At this time COVID-19 restrictions may apply; please see Audax UK news for current situation.
  • Entries are taken off this site and your personal details handled there.

You are attending this event.

The following ride details are currently: 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 Monday before the event and you will get an email reminder 3 days prior from - 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.
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.
Route Files:

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.


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:

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.
Usually updated the 5th day before the event.

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

Benjamin Perry Scout Hut - opens new tab for map.
Pheonix Wharf, Redcliffe, City of Bristol, BS1 6SR


  • Bike - Easily accessible central location.
  • Car - No access by car.
  • Train - A short distance from Temple Meads. Exit via the back entrance and turn left using shared path adjacent to road, cross Temple Way and follow. Before dock bridge cross road into Phoenix Wharf and the hut is the black building on waters edge.

No Parking - Managed parking available in the centre at a cost. Otherwise use the map of resident parking zones to find a suitable space. The south west part of the city is your best bet.

Food & Drink:
Food & Drinks available.
Light food available as limited kitchen facilities. Tea and Coffee.
Unless specified otherwise above.

Bristol YHA is a short distance away as well as city centre hotels.


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

Route Controls:

Usually updated the 5th day before the event.

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!

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.