Following on from two previous day trips away to the Forest of Dean and the Welsh borders, OCC recently strayed a little closer to home, gathering in the village of Sherborne, just west of Burford, to ride some roads that are just outside the limits of our usual Saturday club run.
Thirteen members rolled up to Sherborne Village Shop at 8.30 in the morning, but Jonathan Mason elected to ride all the way from Abingdon – nothing like a 40 mile solo, high tempo ride to get the legs warmed up.
For the rest, the pre-ride routine consisted of coffee, pastries and bacon and egg butties and then the OCC peloton headed off to enjoy an 80 mile clockwise loop through quintessential Cotswold countryside and villages, such as Coln St Aldwyns, Chedworth, Snowshill, Chipping Campden and the Slaughters.
The first twenty miles were rolling flat and all was going according to plan until ride leader, Dave Nash, missed the entrance to the intended coffee stop in Chedworth. This prompted a few grumbles from Tony Trafford at the back of the group, a man who likes a cake stop on a ride, but with a lunch stop scheduled at the 60 mile mark, the decision was made to press on.
We enjoyed some eerily quiet and stunningly beautiful roads, offering panoramic views to the west when the weather allowed, along verges bursting with hawthorn, dry-stone walls, tree-lined avenues and fields ablaze with rape flower. The Cotswolds at their spring best.
James Piggot leads the group over Broadwell Ford
Refuelled by pints, burgers and some standard pub grub at The Fox Inn in Broadwell and having negotiated the village ford as we left, it was a gentle, undulating 20 miles back to Sherborne, with time for a cuppa in the garden before we headed back towards Oxford.
Full route details are now available on STRAVA.
Sherborne Village Shop is a wonderful place to stop, popular with walkers and cyclists. The friendly owners offer breakfast, coffees, lunch and enticing groceries to take home from the deli counter, including local produce.
The Fox Inn sits just off the green in the village of Broadwell and has plenty of seating inside and in the rear garden. A warm welcome awaits and plenty of seasonal specialities with locally sourced ingredients. Beer lovers will enjoy the selection of ales from the Donnington Brewery, located nearby.
Chedworth Farm Shop, our intended cafe stop, is cyclist-friendly and provides great coffee, homemade cakes and ‘perfect mid-ride snacks’ . . . apparently! Cycling Weekly deemed it one of the top cycling-friendly cafes in the Cotswolds.