Our last day of cycling started a little too early with a fire alarm going off in the middle of the night, but a good breakfast served by the friendliest staff, even at 7am was very welcome. (The other four days can be read here, here, here and here). As we retrieved our bikes from the bike store we were surprised to see two high-end Cannondale road bikes unlocked. Even though the bike store was locked I wouldn’t leave a bike unlocked in there. We opted to leave them there as neither bike had anywhere to put our panniers.
Once we were loaded up we headed off through north Oxford and past yet more posh houses. Having lived in Oxford and cycled around the area for many years the first 20 miles today would be on very familiar roads. It was over five miles to get fully out of Oxford, but there was very little traffic about. We soon left the main road and reached the small village of Bletchingdon. The Oxford Tri Club used to organise mid week bike and run events from there. Fond memories.
With some flat roads and a strong tailwind we were making good progress, and the only other people we saw were other cyclists. After the first tough climb of the day we stopped for a breather, as did a group of cyclists who had been quickly catching us up. It turned out that they were from my old tri club, Oxford, although I didn’t recognise any of them.
We stopped for some food under an old walnut tree in Upper Tysoe, and with a little over 20 miles to go we expected to reach Kenilworth before 2pm, much earlier than we had planned. Helen sent her brother a text to explain this, but he was probably out on his bike so we didn’t get a reply.
“Would you like to go to Hampton Lucy?” I asked Helen when we saw a sign. “Yes please, I would like to go to Hampton, and don’t call me Lucy.” Dad jokes are the best.
Reaching the outskirts of Warwick we hit a main road, although there was an excellent separate cycle path that took us over the stupidly busy A46. Note to town planners. If you build good quality cycling infrastructure, cyclists will use it.
The last few miles into Kenilworth were the only nasty roads of the day, but by 2pm we rolled to a stop at Helen’s brother’s house. Coffee, cheese on toast, loading up the bikes and we were ready to head home, stopping off in Hambleton to pick up Nelly, who was very pleased to see us.
It was a great little touring holiday, with just the right amount of cycling for both of us, along with visiting family and sightseeing some great places. The obvious highlights were Avebury and being able to show Helen around Oxford. Thirsty Meeples was an added bonus.
Both bikes behaved impeccably, although Helen’s did need a little gear fettling. Over the five days of cycling we covered 435km with almost 4000m of climbing and 395 new Strava segments.
Finally, we’ve already started to plan for our next little touring adventure.