Over forty riders at the Square, some new, some we haven’t seen in a while, but all were welcome for a choice of rides. The “Men in Black” sport riders were first out of the gate, keen to get their early season training done. Then the President led 18 more on the B ride, with an unnecessarily circuitous route out of the city revealing an unfamiliar aspect of the Cathedral. Although the route was selected to be nearly perfect for a fixie (the less said about Drury Lane the better) no one else had committed to that and were enjoying the benefit of a wide selection of ratios for the undulating terrain. Finally, the Captain set off, leading an AA ride on a more direct route. The weather was cold but dry, alas that was not true of the roads. Concern had been expressed about the appearance of such road names as “The Stream” and “Mill Lane” but despite our crossing several of the Severn’s tributaries there were no fords but there were plenty of puddles. There were rumblings from the peleton about the length (or otherwise) of the leader’s rear mudguard! Those who tried to escape its rooster tail by going on ahead were caught out at Gadfield Elm and had to scramble to rejoin the main group but all were together when we reached the Three Shires Centre, a few minutes early, a cunning plan to get in the queue ahead of the A group that was thwarted by their decision to sup elsewhere.
After awaiting them for a decent interval, certainly long enough to take tea and cakes on board, the decision was made to leave and a return route through Newent’s centre chosen. A touch of wheels at Anthony’s Cross brought down one rider but luckily the only damage was to his handlebars and his pride so, after a quick check over, all continued to Gloucester. 58 km were covered at an average 24kph