A gaggle of five met for a prompt 8am start on a cool and blustery morning. The outward leg was into a determined headwind and the leader was pleased that at least one other rider came to the front to share the pace-making.

Good progress was made and Upton was soon left behind. The B road to Powick was regretted due to the level of traffic in both directions – next time we take alternative lanes! A small diversion off the prescribed route resulted in a most enjoyable little lane, but it was soon back onto the plan and coffee at the Fold in Bransford was gained at 10.15. Exactly 30 miles covered.

Despite one rider requesting a ham toastie from the vegetarian menu, we were all served. A shortage of eggs (the hens had been relegated due to a lack of productivity, we were told) meant most opted for scones. Very nice they were, too – so long as you were early enough to secure one, as Ed found out to his disappointment.

Having arrived in good time, we left well before 11 to make the most of the day. Whilst the sports riders set off for an unnecessary hill, the sensible crew went around the side to end up at the same village, Martley, by way of Lower Broadheath, birthplace of Edward Elgar. With full pomp it was through the lanes, very scenic and quiet with gentle undulations. The extended undulation to Clifton upon Teme saw the leader take the ‘old road’ through Clifton Hill village: a mistake as it demanded extensive use of his granny gear, despite a lack of luggage. Still, it’s another road to highlight on the map at home!

A fun descent of Hope lane was followed by a not-so-fun climb back to the ridge road, the B4203 to Bromyard. Turning at Bromyard Downs a delightful unfenced road took the riders to the A44 and a half mile descent to a lane – a very little lane which got even narrower. The grass centre was wider than the remaining tarmac. And the two gates were actually in place to slow progress on a steep descent. But what a treat. It was then down, sort-of, the valley (with plenty of ups) to the fine establishment that is The Major’s Arms pub for a rest with beer / cider.

Having taken on board refreshments and the splendid views across the valley to Bishops Frome and south to the Black Mountains, it was onwards and still very much upwards to Fromes Hill. Across the 3 Cities route there followed another tremendously exciting descent to Catley Southfield and Bosbury. From here it was plain sailing to Ledbury, the ford at Clenchers Mill and home. Well, after a short stop at the Pelican to grab the third point (or is that pint?).

No mechanicals; one disorderly dismount; 86 mile, 4,500′ ascent @ 12.2mph