Reviews

… 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.

My favourite 300

5.0 rating
4th February 2020

I completed this event as my first over night Audax. The route is very well planned to keep you on good but not busy roads through the night. Controls are well situated to allow you to feed up at nice intervals.
The breakfast stop is great and for me was at just the right timing to have a break to see me into the morning daylight.
The return uses smaller quieter roads and the old railway path that keep you away from the traffic for an enjoyable return.
I thoroughly enjoyed this fabulous ride.
Point to note: ALL the GWR rides I’ve taken part in have been brilliant.

Mark R

Lovely stuff

5.0 rating
4th February 2020

Beautiful route, with huge variety in scenery and type of road …..and an entertaining amount of sharp climbs.

G R

Delightful by name…

5.0 rating
4th February 2020

Was lucky enough to ride this as a route check/change with the organiser. The route heads anti-clockwise from Bristol into Wiltshire and the stunning Lacock Abbey before climbing Northwards over the Cotswolds, with a new diversion at Stroud giving a lovely view behind you as you crest the not insubstantial climb.
After crossing the Severn at Gloucester, you pass over the Northern tip of the Forest of Dean before hitting the Wye Valley, with a stunning view of Goodrich Castle to your right.
Hitting the infamous George’s Delight climb at dusk around 170km into a relatively hilly ride is definitely interesting. It’s narrow, so you can’t weave, and the steepest parts are tree-covered, meaning it stays damp and debris-strewn at that time of year. Add in a nicely rutted surface and you have a pretty serious test. In the end the fact it was dark might help slightly as you don’t know when it’s going to end!
The next section back to Chepstow is an old favourite and with the tunnel vision of night riding and barely another car on the road it felt fast and amazing – almost like flying.
Crossing the Severn Bridge in the dark is always fun, less so the final punchy climb back up to Bristol. A great and varied/interesting winter loop!

Ed B

Summit special

5.0 rating
4th February 2020

Great weather conditions contributed to making this another classic GWR route, spinning out mostly solo over the Cotswolds before jumping on the ACB train up through the first control at Brockworth. I stopped for a decent lunch in Tenbury Wells, knowing that the ascent of Clee Hill was coming up. In fact it looked a lot worse from a distance than in reality, with nothing crazy steep, and the view from the top more than makes it worthwhile. At Leominster I caught back up with the ACB group from the morning, and shared some great miles through some lovely lanes to the final checkpoint, before the brutal Symonds Yat climb. Tough at the best of times, but especially so after a punchy 250km. All in all a great ride, and really good for a first 300 IMO.

Ed B

Perfect for trying out a night ride

5.0 rating
4th February 2020

This was my first 300km Audax and my first overnight ride. I planned to go easy but got carried away through Devizes with a fast group and ended up doing my fastest 200 as a result! Really great stretch of fast road that can be a bit too busy for my liking in daylight hours, so it was amazing to blast through there with only the occasional owl for company. The beach hut at Poole was a great chance to avoid a squally shower, feed up, change layers and push on to sunrise, which happened in a lovely section of country lanes. Daal at the arrivée was the icing on a rather lovely cake. Missed the second edition but I will be back!

Ed B

Go big or go home

5.0 rating
4th February 2020

Great way to tick the Festive 500 box, but a great ride in its own right. Northampton makes the perfect mid ride stop (Travelodge for me for 25GBP, bargain) for those of us who like a kip in this length of ride.
Blessed with pretty mild weather in 2019, if there was another Beast from the East it would be a different kettle of fish!

George B

Quirky fun

5.0 rating
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.

George B

Thames tickler ride

5.0 rating
4th February 2020

Great ride into the Cotswolds.
Traffic a bit busy around the Water Park but not enough of an issue to warrant changing the route.

Richard H

Moonraker and Sunseekers 2019

5.0 rating
4th February 2020

I’ve ridden a few audax events down the years from 100s to LEL and this was one of the most enjoyable. A 10pm start is actually a sensible way of doing it because it meant I could easily travel down from my home in Sheffield without having to book an overnight stay near the start. Also, unless you’re really fast which I’m not, you end up riding in the dark anyway with a traditional 6am start. Far better to get the night time riding out of the way first!
The route sheet and organisation were fantastic as was the hot food which was provided as part of the event at Poole Harbour. Just what you need after riding through the night!.
There’s certainly something special about seeing the dawn sunlight gradually emerge after a night ride and I was lucky enough to experience it on the section after breakfast where the route takes you off road around the harbour.
Thanks to Will and all the volunteers for making it such a memorable ride.

Peter C

Nice one

4.0 rating
3rd February 2020
Review of Air Mail 200

Enjoyed this brisk (for me, anyway) 200km.
Great start, with plenty of parking, coffee shop. Nice winter route. Final control was a ‘banger’ and the soup was pot on.
A couple of suggestions that might make it a little better….
1. A ‘suggested’ stop before the half way post office control which was rammed (luckily it wasn’t raining) – I know we can freestyle and stop anywhere, but not knowing the area a couple of suggestions either side would’ve been nice.
2. The final section through the outskirts of North East Bristol, which is probably unavoidable, was a bit sketchy traffic-wise
Apart from those minor things…. brill!

Martyn S