Friday, 27 May 2011

Cycling in the Cotswolds

Yesterday my friend Wallie and I had another great ride in the Cotswold Hills.  For us it's a brilliant place to meet up (equidistant from our homes).

Any rumours about us being like a pair of grumpy old men is just not on, right?  We don't need injunctions, super injunctions or anything like that because it's just obvious - we're not grumpy old men and not even middle aged grumpy men either.  Naturally we did a fair amount of "putting the world to right".

Wallie on his 1980's Claud Butler Dalesman
Anyway, here's a few bits from the day......

Our bikes were perfect for the day and it was the first time Wallie had seen the much-talked-about Thorn Audax Mk3.  Naturally I'm very proud of it.  It's uncanny how similar our bikes are despite the age gap of 30 odd years between them and just goes to show how timeless and useful a traditional touring bike is.  Makes me wonder why people go and buy Mountain Bikes, especially those flat pack heaps of junk sold in supermarkets.  They're useless and cheap for a reason and I'll have another rant about those some other time, we don't want to spoil a nice Cotswold ride, do we?

The weather.
The month of May is always a fantastic month in my book, the nicest month in the whole year.  May is characterised by lengthening daylight, nice warm weather and beautiful clouds.  It also strongly hints at the coming promise of summer.  For us, we managed to pick the wettest day of the week for our ride!  It was almost like a dose of April showers with squally gusts of wind, horizontal rain, all mixed with sunny intervals and a rise in air temperature.  Consequently we were wrapped up all day in our waterproofs and I'm having mixed feelings nowadays about my Altura jacket - I feel a bit of a 'Kit review' coming on but some other time.  Back to the weather which links neatly to the wonderful clouds...

The Clouds
These were fantastic to watch through our ride.  Fast moving, sometimes threatening, or dramatic and brooding.  

Becky our eldest daughter is, I'm pleased to say, genetically programmed to be a day dreamer and we think it's a very good thing to do; it can be a means of sorting out all kinds of problems.  One regret I do have is not knowing all of the different names of the clouds we enjoy.  Perhaps another reason to check out the Cloud Appreciation Society one of these days.  

The landscape
We always did like the Cotswold Hills and they're brilliant for cycling - nice gently rolling hills, a few sharper ones, beautiful colours and picturesque villages.  The different seasons all have their own treats and reasons to make each visit so memorable.  Wallie was the first to spot these colourful thistles:
The ride was gentle and at an easy pace, so we could talk easily.  We covered all our usual topics including what old friends are up to and I enjoyed telling Wallie all about my friend Dee (Hello Dee) who'd been in touch from California after break which has been too long.

We also started to talk over what our next ride could be like, having both enjoyed an all night ride last year.  We could once again do a tour of the Cotswolds but I was wondering if we could do some kind of A to B ride (we'd need to sort out the practicalities of maybe planting a car in the right place) and I'd appreciate there being a nice Cafe at the destination.  So we'll have to mull that one over.  I'm tempted with the Black Mountains and being up high (Hay Bluff?) for sunrise - that would be fantastic but tricky to organise especially if we're working in our respective jobs during the day.  Watch this space.

At Eastleach, where we stopped for our packed lunch.  No, I didn't fall in.

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