Easter is more like a holiday than a weekend. The plan was to meet up with friends and family on the other side of the country. Normally I would drive with a car packed with biking and hiking gear. Instead, I cycled there.
After a quick look on a map and a search for off-road routes on the internet I knew which way to go. There are several long distance trails described on the National Trails website, which are suitable for bikes and Sustrans has marked many cycle-friendly routes throughout the UK.
Setting off after work near Uxbridge on Thursday evening, I followed the narrow roads and bridleways westwards until dark. I carried with me my sleeping bag, Thermarest and bivi bag, and settled down to a peaceful night in woodland. The fallen leaves made for a comfy mattress and when I awoke in the morning I found myself surrounded by a sea of bluebells.
Meeting the Ridgeway at Goring I ate breakfast looking out over the yellow fields before a fun morning of riding the trail, passing the occasional walker. I stopped to see the Uffington White Horse and at the end of the trail, the Avebury Ring.
Following the Kennet and Avon canal from Devizes to Bath, made for a pleasant ride. Easy cycling on a flat, gravel towpath, I slowed down to enjoy the sunny Spring afternoon. A timeless picture of families picnicking and narrow boats maneuvring through the locks. And when the temptation for cream teas became overwhelming, I stopped.
Having never been to Bath before, I cycled through the city centre and took a relaxing break outside the famous Roman baths, listening to a busker. The disused railway linking Bath to Bristol has been turned into a cycle path and so I continued my journey across England in the peace. How much more enjoyable than speeding down the motorway?!
The next day, I cycled through Bristol city centre and then southwards. Stopping for a mid-morning break by the coast at Burnham-on-Sea before reaching the quiet village of Fiddington in time for lunch, an afternoon walk in the Quanktock Hills and a lovely Easter Sunday with friends and family. Perfect.
But the holiday must end, so on Monday, I cycled back to Bath to take the train home. I passed through Glastonbury to visit the Abbey, and eat more cream teas under the sun!
By swapping the car for the bike, I saw parts of England I’ve seen the signs for, but never til then visited. And with so many cycle paths and bridleways networking across the country, there’s no need to be on the busy highways.
So next bank holiday… it’s coming soon at the end of the month – why not cycle to where you’re going. If it’s just too far, you can always take the train for some of it.