This week the Wheelers visited Wales and Forest of Dean following an exceptional course designed by Paul Stone. Although not the longest ride we have accomplished it had sufficient climbing in it to be entertaining for those who enjoy defying gravity followed by some awesome descents for the adrenalin junkies. A group of 13 set out in what rapidly became glorious sunshine to cross the Severn on the old bridge and begin a swooping drop into Chepstow. What goes down must go up and there following a long drag up towards St Briavals punctuated by splendid views across the Severn estuary. The Wheelers are not a regimented road gang, we go at our own pace and always wait at the top or the bottom to regroup; nobody is left hanging off the back on their own. We followed an undulating course northwards through the beautiful Forest of Dean above the River Wye before a truly exhilarating drop down to Monmouth, taking a left before the bridge and following the western bank of the Wye towards Chepstow. Sections of this road more resemble the cobbles of Belgium than a proper British road, but we navigated them successfully with only a single puncture between us. The road crosses the river just before Llandogo and climbs the wooded eastern bank with glimpses of the Wye below us through the trees. The calls for coffee and cake became louder and more persistent and so, on the recommendation of Chrissy, we stopped at the Old Station at the foot of the descent into Tintern, which proved to be an excellent suggestion; the courgette and lime cake and the bread pudding are highly recommended and the espresso is strong but mellow. Another up and down saw us passing Chepstow racecourse and making our way towards the bridge, crossing on the upstream side this time with a halt for photographs midway. The Wheelers were pleased to welcome three ladies, Katie and Chrissy we had met during the Somerset 100 last month, but Rhiannon was a stranger to us all but who was one of the gang long before we finished our first climb. We hope all three will continue to join us and we encourage any others, male or female, who wish to take a spin with us to check out our website for details of the next ride.
This weeks ride totalled 43 miles climbing 3000ft at an average speed of 14.5 mph.
A big thanks to Paul S, Paul G, Andy P, Andy J, Rhiannon, Jonathon, Pete G, Steve, Pete M, Andy F, Alex, Chrissy and Katie.