Last Weekend

Calne MTB

I briefly talked about our Calne MTB inaugural ride in a previous post but I thought I would record the ride for the sake of a blog post 🙂

We met at the Ivy Inn in Heddington and 10 of us set off promptly at 9.30am.  The benefit of being local riders, was that no one had t o unpack a bike from a car, test brakes, bounce forks, change clothes, put a coat on, brush their hair (maybe not that bit) etc – in other words there was no faffing about. All this had been done at home and the ride started smoothly.

We climbed out of the pub car park and up the Hampsley Road climb. Its a 100m elevation gain over 1 mile and is quite testing as it gradually gets steeper as you climb. I got a Personal Record on Strava that morning and was pretty pleased with the result – though I was gasping for breath at the top of the climb.  I really must use this hill to train for next Summer’s French trip to Bike Village again.

Hamplsey RoadFrom here we headed over to Roundway Hill and through the woods. This is a nice bit of singletrack and could have some of the best downhill in the area if it wasn’t a conservation wood! Then it was off to the “plantation” for some whoops in the woods – not as much fun in the wet and mud as it is in the summer.

Another short sharp climb up the side of Roundway Hill above the White Horse, finds us at the back of Roundway Down and on the firetrack along part of the Wessex Ridgeway, then crossing the road we them follow a rutted farm track. Its the kid of track where you have to take take as every 10 metres or so its becomes too deep for your pedals to do a full rotation or you come to a puddle of unknown depth and contents. The flints around this part of Wiltshire can cause all sorts of punctures so extra need to be taken and if speed permits, a manual or better a little bunny hop over is the best option.  Crossing over the Wansdyke and again picking up the Wessex Ridgeway we climb up to the Cherhill  / Lansdowne Monument and descend on to Cherhill Down.

By now we have done most of our climbing for the ride and while its only around 300m, the cold, mud and wet conditions make it feel a few hundred more.  The last 100m climb in particular is on slippery, muddy grassy tracks that require twice the effort of a hard packed surface.

Cherhill Monument and White Horse
Cherhill Monument and White Horse

We then follow the “old Bath road”, a 2km stretch of single track that runs parallel to the new Bath Road or A4. This is great fun in all weathers with some bombholes and ruts to navigate along the way to Knoll Down woods at Beckhampton.  From here its pretty plain sailing (or pedalling) past a small clay pigeon shoot – we always slow down to make sure they have seen us – and then we pick up the National Cycle Route that takes us through Yatesbury, into Cherhill village and the Divine Cafe.

Eveyone has ridden about 25km (with about 5-10km ride home for most) by now which isn’t too far but was a good measure of everyone. We had one guy that hadn’t been on a bike in 2 years so much further would have been a little unfair!

The Divine Cafe (Tel 01249 817348) serves up a great slice of cake or chocolate brownie and nice cup of tea for £3.50 and we sat and had a chat and plotted next weeks ride…

Some Strava stats for me on this ride:

  • 32km ridden
  • 390m climbed
  • 2 hours moving
  • 8 Strava Medals including 5 PR (personsal records)

So not a huge ride by any stretch but a good one with some good company.

I wore some Endura Overshoes for the first time on this ride. Read my feedback over on The Gear Factor.