RvR Day 8 Cheadle to Scampton

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An evening at the Dambusters Inn

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RvR Day 8 Cheadle to Scampton

We had an early start out of the Governor’s Hotel in Cheadle as breakfast was not until 8:30 which is no good for early start athletes. So off we went.

It was no good getting out of urban sprawl of Manchester but it was well worth it in the end.

What a tremendous route the Trans-Pennine-Trail (TPT) is, an absolute pleasure to ride. It’s pretty tough but nothing us trekkers can’t handle. The down-hills through the woods were very challenging for me, but the lads loved them. Honestly I can’t say how much we all enjoyed it. The looks we got from the mountain-bikers was a picture. “Bloody mad” they said, and were probably right.

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On the Trans-Pennine-Trail

We carried on through the mining villages around Barnsley thinking of the Sutcliffes from the village as they are from this area.

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Lunch stop in Tickhill

Then we stopped for lunch at the Scarborough Arms in Tickhill. We all regrouped and had a bite to eat. From there we then set off for the Dambuster’s pub and Plewies. It was great roads heading for Gainsborough which was the place of a classic crash for me on the Durness to Dover ride all those year’s ago [Ed: it was 2012!]. They even made me re-enact the accident!

These were great country roads and we hardly met a car for the 15 mile final run in. It was brilliant as we all grouped together to meet the legend Steve Plews a true gentleman and probably the best publican in the world.

What a welcome at the Dambusters. Cathal & Greg had travelled up from Sunshine Corner to meet us & the all the locals were amazing and great people.

Over and out from the Dambusters Inn. Great company having a little beer now.

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Dale and Steve Plews at the Dambusters Inn

RvR Day 3 Hungerford to Chepstow

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Leaving Hungerford in filthy weather
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All set to leave Hungerford
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RvR Day 3: Hungerford to Chepstow

As we woke up a  little storm brewing outside. Nothing to serious we hope, but bad enough for the captain to make an excutive decision and look at replanning the route. We will keep off the narrow trails and tow paths and keep to the roads instead.

While Dave and Stubbsy was eating their full English breakfast I was toiling over the maps. The captain’s work is never done. It must have taken all of 5 minutes. I let them all know how much I had worked!

We set off around 8:30 with the rain coming down like stair-rods and a bit blustery. Itlooked like a tough day ahead. We got on the old A4 which was a surprisingly nice road with very little traffic. We smashed some miles out in the rain and then stopped in quaint town called Calne. It’s a lovely place and I had the biggest piece of chocolate cake in living memory.

We pushed on little bit more and the sun even came out for 30 seconds though the wind was getting stronger. It was time to dig deep and keep pedalling. We passed through Chippenham (another lovely place) then turned off the A4 heading for the Severn crossing. We had lovely roads and the architecture in the villages was superb: Stubbsy said it was like the top end of St Radegunds.

Very weirdly I started to see lots of people looking like Bingo; seems like he had a holiday romance here ages ago!

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Lunch at the Dog

We stopped for lunch at the Dog Inn in old Sodbury. We were all in good spirits as we left possibly due to too many coffees! The wind was getting a lot stronger as we carried on to the crossing and as we got closer all of us were unsure about whether a crossing would veven be possible. As we came to the cycle path entrance we could see the road traffic was as shut.

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Preparing to cross the Severn Bridge in a howling gale

It was one of the most scary things I have ever done seeing Bingo walking horizontal hanging on to his bike as we walked across. I was tucked in behind him when a young lad on a motorbike came passed us like a speedway rider, obviously used to the the weather.

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Stubbsy and daughter Anna

Eventually we got over the other side as we finally into arrived in Wales. All of us were totally knackered so we had a beer in the first pub and Bingo did the stuff to book a hotel.

As an added bonus Stubbsy’s daughter Anna came over from Bath which made for a very enjoyable evening. Bingo meanwhile was sorting out a rendezvous with Chris and Lester Powell.

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RvR Day 2 Godalming to Hungerford

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Last nights camping spot

We were up early like always when camping and chef Dave and Bingo got the the breakfast coffee or chocolate and porridge going.

Off we set just after 7 following the forest trails then was surprised to find the locks on the Wey and Arun Canal. We chatted with a narrow-boat owner who said it was his last trip fas the boat was being sold.

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Edward Celibate

We carried on through the winding trails and foot paths meeting interesting people on the way giving us encouragement and directions. We met one bloke called Edward who had allegedly given up sex but carried on cycling. He thoroughly recommended it!

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Chatting to the Bargemen and Bargewomen

I managed to keep to keep to the trails most of the time and we another posh lunch; at Tescos this time. Bingo and I still managed to get a beer probably due to the fact I was in the shop. After that we pushed on then and got on the banks of the Kennet and Avon Canal after a little jump over the railway while the 13.32 Paddington to Weymouth thundered past making Stubbsy stop pretty quickly.

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At the Row Barge Inn

It was an excellent ride following the canal on bumpy tracks and we stopped for a few beers at the Row Barge pub, Woolhampton on the banks of the canal. here we met some more cycle tourists, who were great company. Bingo and I managed to black cat them all after some serious tour chat.

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Down the trail

We then pushed along the banks of canal turned off at the junction at Hamstead Mill. Some locals told us that Hungerford was 7 miles away. It was getting late so Bingo did some calcs and booked a Guest House: The Three Swans Hotel. Then we rolled through some wonderful scenery for the last few miles and arrived at Hungerford which seems a nice town.


 

Ronde van Rhondda 2020

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Rough Map of the Route – Clockwise

Naturally the circumstances this year means the planned ride to Greece has been postponed.

Instead Dale has carefully planned a tour of Anglo-Saxon Britain which leaves the Kingdom of Kent (long live King Æthelberht!) and neatly circumnavigates Mercia by travelling through Wessex and Wales, skirting the borders of Danelaw before returning south via the borderlands between the Kingdoms of the East Angles and East Saxons.

Naturally there will be dangers. Not least in Wales where it is rumoured many long lost relatives still remain. Some attempts will be made to contact them though the language barrier may prove difficult.

At the northern-most extreme the party will seek refuge in a local hostelry somewhere in the vicinity of Lincoln. They will face certain danger here if they are tempted to stay too long.

From here they will scurry southwards through Saxon country before reclaiming the refuge of the Kentish.


Ronde van Rhondda 2020

Of course it’s not really a tour of the Rhonnda – it’s more of a circumnavigation of the old Kingdom of Mercia – but the tour will be passing through the Rhondda valley in South Wales and in particular the Little Rhondda valley and the village of Ynyshir. This is the Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Old Land of My Fathers). Our father was born here in 1933 and of course Nana and Grandad House lived here before unemplyment took them to the Pits of Kent in about 1936.

Over the years we’ve made family visits here in particular to visit Nan’s sister, Aunti Sis (a Great-Aunt really) and all her family. Her son Uncle Norman I remember very well. I’ve no idea what’s left of this family or the generations that came after. It’ll be interesting to see what Dale and Keith discover.

From South Wales they will head to Denbigh in North Wales and track down some other relatives who moved back to Wales from Kent (usually via Leicester). I expect they’ll drop in to see our father’s sisters Auntie Doreen and Auntie Irene along with Uncle Alan and no doubt a few of our many cousins!


Dambusters

From Wales the team will head east over the Peak District towards Lincolnshire where they will rendezvous at the Dambusters Inn in Scranton. The pub is managed by family friend and village compatriot Steve Plews. I fully expect a night of boisterous shenanigans. They will be lucky to escape alive.


Geting it together

On the ride will be Dale, Keith, Dave Austen and Andy Stupples, and of course as it’s a bike-camping tour there is no minibus support and driver.

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Dale’s bike all ready in the garden
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Dave’s bike already to go
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Keith’s kit ready to pack

Sadly no pre-tour photographs came from Andy Stupples.


Test Run to East Sussex

Here are some shots from a pre-tour excursion down to East Sussex to test out the bikes and equipment.

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