… of the Great Western Randonnées’ landscape. Each ride has a more concise collection on their page; grouped by ‘event’ if appropriate: the distance variations, perms, slightly hAAArder ones, etc.
Hard but great scenery
There are a couple of really tough hills in this event that will test you. I’ve done it twice, and when it was very windy on the second ride, I ended up walking up two hills. Overall, I think this is one of the most scenic Audaxes that I have done. Well worth the effort.
I took the train over from Paddington for this ride, and really enjoyed it.
It was well organised and the route is excellent, the riding over night was worth it for the trip back from Poole to Bristol.
Milton Abbas was certainly the hi-light for me, followed by the Somerset Levels. The variety of landscapes is exceptional, but the Strawberry Line on paper looks great, however the reality is somewhat chaotic!
Well organised , really enjoyed the ride, plus ECE to extend to 200!
Great night out
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
First fixed 200
I chose this as a first go at a 200km on the fixed gear, and it’s a great route for it. Main roads and steady gradients mean it’s also nicer winter riding, albeit with a touch more traffic in places. Nice selection of stops at Cirencester and helpful staff in both cafes later on. If you hit the halfway cafe in the ‘bulge’ you will have to be prepared to be outside, which may be weather dependent.
Good winter route
I rode this in December 2018. It’s a well organised ride with a higher number of stops than you might usually expect (four, with two of them ‘free’ controls). This makes it much more of a day out than a race round, but I felt was a real help given the colder conditions. Basically riding a couple of hours between each stop. Some challenging climbs, and be prepared for messy winter lanes. Great fun!
Fantastic Festive 500
Wow … just wow! What an amazing and challenging ride to end 2019!. Yes there were some A-road sections that felt a bit long and some navigational moments requiring a good level of concentration, but this is massively offset by the ride through countless stunning lanes and picturesque villages, all decked with “bells and holly” – its a Christmas extravaganza! Accommodation at 340KM in a proper Audax hotel … a 100yr old bus shelter, only served to add to the adventure. A very warm welcome from Will at the ariveé, accompanied with hot food and drink was the icing on the “Christmas” cake…chapeau!
A good all nighter for first timers. I’ve ridden this one twice.. It’s got some lovely bits.. super straight fast bit after Salisbury, after breakfast hills though Dorset. Bournemouth seafront just before dawn is my favourite bit.
Really well looked after at the breakfast control at Poole (thanks!). Strawberry line can be a bit messy if wet, watch out for walkers.. but it’s a hoot at speed 🙂
For the second edition Will adjusted the route for the better on the return into Bristol to avoid the busy a370 and the city centre.
I’ll keep coming back for Will’s rides..
This is a journey. For me, my first 500km ride, it made quite an impression.
You’ll likely be riding through 2 nights. You’ll ride nearly every steep hill in south wales. Expect the weather to be nuts. Believe the elevation profile.
I was lucky to meet a couple of riders at different moments where it wasn’t going so well in my head. Their kindness and wisdom in the face of the absurdity, genuinely helped me get round. Hat tip to Dad as well, for the hour and a half in a cafe in Fishguard chatting while I tried to get dry after that rain.
Headwinds though Llandeussant, midnight ponies in the road above Merthyr, boy racers in the valleys, the kids doing night shift in Macdonalds, singing into the night, the sea!. We’ll be back for more.
Organisation perfectly minimal. 10/10 would ride again. Thanks Will!
On a cold windswept day in January I chose this as my first audax of the year. It was great fun riding this one, some roads I was familiar with and others not. The ride out from Warmley station on the Bristol to Bath cycleway was nice and then onto the two tunnels trail emerging from the second tunnel into daybreak.
Once over the Mendip hills it was gentle rolling countryside through into Wiltshire with a stop at the Ginger Piggery for coffee on the way to Wilton. Heading west there was a few more cheeky hills as we crossed into Dorset including a climb up onto Bullbarrow down that tested the legs. Onwards west we rode into somerset with another of Will’s hills just after Bruton and then finally after a dash across the levels we ascended Cheddar Gorge. I was one of those that climbed it in the dark which added an interesting twist. But don’t thinks it’s all downhill back to Warmley as there was a couple more Will’s hills thrown in at the end.
On the whole it was a great ride, would I do it again? Most definitely yes!