The suspense of the mystery ride was rather spoilt when the Captain shouted across King’s Square “Are you still going to Dursley?”. However, the seven riders who left the Square on the B ride could not have predicted the route to get there.
An early puncture for the ride leader getting out of Gloucester, was followed by the traditional climb up Nut Hill and Buckholt Road to Birdlip. It soon became obvious that one rider had shown more moderation on the seasonal excesses than the others, as she flew up the hills, leaving them struggling in her wake.
The Slad descent was enjoyed, and followed by the bottom of Selsley Hill, turning right towards Middleyard. It must be the position of All Saints Church, but it often appears to be bathed in sunshine on otherwise overcast days, and so it proved today. It being a mystery ride, the ride leader was able to alter the ride without confessing, and so the original plan of Frocester Hill was quietly discarded in favour of the road past Cam Peak.
Perhaps predictably on a Bank Holiday, the Bank was closed, so the backup plan of Leaf and Ground was deployed, where coffee and cake were enjoyed outdoors. The strong tail wind made the return very enjoyable, and got us home before the forecast rain arrived, although the ride had obviously left one rider short-changed, as she set off up the Portway to finish!
Having sowed confusion at the Square, the Captain led his party of ten southbound and with uncertainty amongst the troops of the eventual destination. The climb up past the ski slope took us onto the road to pass the Gloucester Services entrance – this being mentioned on the website it was best to at least go that way! Onwards to Haresfield and a temporary split at the junction with the Stonehouse road: our first time rider had decided to head for home but it was fortunately noted she had a flat.
Fixed with gas from our clothing secretary, the rest, now down to eight, continued to Stonehouse, enjoying the wonderful surface. We were obliged to proceed, with care, through a failed temporary traffic light on the outskirts of town. Then we made good use of the re-instated cycle crossing at Regent Street, although the green light is not well placed. Still, better than no crossing and it does go to show making complaints to the Highways authority was worthwhile.
The usual route to Cam, then a surprise (to some) right turn for Slimbridge and the Black Shed. Most welcoming, and a prompt service saw the surviving seven well fed and watered in record time.
An early departure allowed four riders to continue south into the increasing headwind to Gossington Bridge, an interesting ascent to The Quarry and so to Dursley. It was noted the Bank was indeed closed. On and up to Uley, Hydegate and down to Far Green. Retracing our pedal strokes, much easier with the generous tailwind, to Frocester, then Claypits and Frampton. Here we felt it best to try The Three Horse Shoes – splendid Uley ale was enjoyed by most. A terrific downpour meant we dallied for a second refreshment. This proved to be the right decision: once consumed, the rain had passed and a wet road / rain-absent swift return to base followed. 51 miles with some light hills.