Edited copiously, now we know what we're doing:
We've got a fair amount of enthusiasm for a night ride on the ideas thread, so I thought I'd kick this one off and leave that for general ideas.Rollright Stones
has the popular vote - because Stonehenge is a bit far. It's a reasonably pleasant ride out of Birmingham, following the Rea Valley cycle route as far as King[']s Norton, before climbing Primrose Hill and taking to the lanes. There's a 24 hour Tesco at Stratford-Upon-Avon about 48km into the ride we can use as a halfway stop. The plan is to reach the stones for sunrise, then head to Banbury (a little over 20km away, mostly downhill) for breakfast and an abundance of trains back to Birmingham, That London, or elsewhere.
Friday the 14th of September is the winning date. Meet in the main concourse
of Birmingham New Street station
- by the coffee place and the departures boards
- at 23:30
If you want to meet us at Stratford, I expect we'll be at Tesco
between 03:00 and 04:00.This is an inclusive ride
- we go at the pace of the slowest rider, nobody's left behind. If we don't make it to the Stones for sunrise (6:42am), then so be it. People who haven't done much night-riding before are especially welcome.The updated route
, including - by popular request - a diversion to Anne Hathaway's Cottage, is here:BikehikeGPX download
It's 108km / 67miles in total to Banbury station.
The terrain is what I'd describe as 'incessantly rolling', with an unavoidable bastard hill (in two parts) on the way out of Birmingham, and another on the final approach to the stones. Some flat stuff in the Stratford area, though. It's also worth saying that over the last couple of weeks, 'they' have seen fit to top-dress most of the minor roads south of Birmingham. I'll be avoiding a couple of problem lanes, but we're going to encounter roads with plenty of loose gravel along the centre line and at junctions. I suggest not riding on anything too skittery in the tyre department.
Lighting wise, you're going to want something decent up front you can see by. This is largely on unlit lanes with pothole and gravel hazards. Head torches are useful. Obnoxious rear lights shouldn't be necessary, though; most of these roads are quiet during the daytime so should be pretty much car-free at night. Make sure you've got enough batteries to last the night (a good 7+ hours).
Extra clothing, mudguards, racks, CAKE
, etc. are encouraged. A flask of hot drink or lightweight brew kit wouldn't be a terrible idea, either: The tearoom closest to the stones doesn't open until 9, by which point I expect we'll be in Banbury. If you bring a poorly-maintained bike, paper-thin tyres or wheels with about 4 spokes in them, then we reserve the right to point and laugh if they go wrong. Attending:
?robgul (meeting us at Stratford)
Basil (for the ride out of Birmingham)
?Polar Bear +1