Another trip down to Chew Valley Lake today. Left home about 9:45 and rode out to Timsbury, as I got to the top of the climb about 3.5 miles out I realised I’d forgotten my wallet for the tea stop. Got to Timsbury in about 35 minutes and met up with Ian, who only had some pocket change, this could make the tea stop interesting.
We set off on quite a gentle ride down to the lake, it took us about 55 minutes for the 12 miles, but we weren’t in a hurry. At the tea stop we managed to scrape together enough money for cake and a can of coke before heading back the way we came.
After a few miles we spotted a signpost to Keynsham so decided to try an alternative route. It started with a steep climb which I managed to grind up in my lowest 30/25 gear, however a short while later we met another climb, not quite as stupidly steep, but longer. At this point my legs went on strike so I hopped off and walked, dreaming of the 22/32 lowest gear on my mountain bike. A mile or past the top of the climb we came to a road junction which also sported a tempting “byway” off to the right. After checking the map we decided it went in roughly the right direction and helped avoid a main road, so off we set.
It was quite muddy and slippery to start with, but then turned into wet rock with some loose stones and roots thrown in for good measure. Fairly easy to ride apart from the pain in my hands from gripping the bars and brakes. I’m spoilt by normally riding mountain bikes with 4-5″ of travel, nice comfy grips, and powerful hydraulic disc brakes. We had to pause halfway along to let a few 4×4 drives pass, the quick break was quite welcome. We eventually got to the end and headed for the next short byway, this wasn’t so much fun. It started with a couple of 12″ deep puddles, then turned into a walk up a slippery hill which was a bit too steep really. It would be far more fun to ride it in the other direction on a mountain bike. However the end of this path was the last of my climbing for the day, and a 6 mile road ride home led me to the shower, lunch, and the rubgy.
The ride was just under 35 miles in the end, and the cross bike now has a rather more sensible 11-30 cassette instead of the 12-25.