With the rain forecast to clear early, we set off from King’s Square without capes, but were all caped up by the time we reached Matson. Climbing out of Cranham, there was a mutiny. The ride leader was seen powering up the hill alone as everyone else on the ride took the zig-zag route up the common. All was forgiven at the re-group, and we continued to Foston’s Ash and Bisley as a united peleton.
A surprise turn to Water Lane led to many comments of “I haven’t been along this lane before”, and some to suggest that they could determine why it was not a frequented route. The Daneway was reached cautiously, but without incident, and familiar lanes followed to coffee in Tetbury.
After coffee, most riders returned via Nailsworth. Whether it was the Vice Captain or his choice of route down Hyde Hill and up the Old Neighbourhood, but for whatever reason, this was not a popular alternative
The MTB option was similarly unpopular. The best that can be said is that no one was dropped from the group, but since the ride leader was unaccompanied this was no great achievement. Still, a good time was had by everyone who came, tackling first Stockley Way and Sevenleaze Lane, then Maitland and Standish Woods. The new singletrack path laid out in the latter was great fun, though wet roots and a surprising number of dog walkers meant riders had to stay alert. A trip along the old railway line, whose resurfacing has been promised by the county council, to Nailsworth was followed by an exploration of Tetbury Lane. It’s clear how times have moved on; the road’s name and direction make it clear that it was once the primary route to Tetbury whereas the “No Through Road” and “Unsuitable for Motors” signs make it clear that it no longer is. Still, UFM always encouragesthe mud pluggers and a somewhat stiff climb to Shipton’s Grave Lane was enjoyed, as was the view of the Severn Vale it revealed. A permissive bridle path through Ledgemoor Bottom and an excursion along Chavenage Lane completed the route, almost entirely without incident.
Alas, 25 metres short of the road into Tetbury a disorderly dismount saw the President’s eyeglasses embedded in the bridge of his nose, necessitating one of the Club’s First Aid kits to be brought into use. His intention to ride quietly back with the roadies was thwarted by their speed, leaving him to enjoy the Stroudwater Canal towpath and discover not one, not two, but three railway crossings closed during the construction of new housing estates, forcing a degree of backtracking to find a route home.