"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Brassknocker Basin Bike Ride - September 20, 2020

Suswara's 50th birthday was a great excuse for a handful of us to meet up somewhere outside obeying the "rule of 6" which had recently come into force. He chose one of his favourite spots for running/hiking over by the Dundas Aqueduct as the venue and I took it as an opportunity to ride some new roads and tackle a famous hill.

The route began with a familiar run out to Pucklechurch, one of the great escape routes from urban Bristol, but I was soon riding into unknown scenery on Abson Lane, a delightful single-track that wound down into a beautiful valley and brought me out at Doynton. The village was dozing in the September sunshine and the late summer tranquility seemed to be descending on everyone and everything. It was a great day for a ride where scenery was more important than speed.

After Doynton more new roads brought me to Langridge and its old, solitary church and numerous ups and downs led down a quiet road that I am guessing used to be the A46 (before they built the new, motorway-esque version) and into the suburbs of Bath. Here the route shared some paths with pedestrians and I had to take it slowly at first but then I was over the Avon on a footbridge and into the valley pathways that led alongside river and Canal to the carpark where we were set to meet

Although the views were lovely from the valley the gravelly surface was not to my liking, my bike wasn't keen either, and so it was a relief to finish the 4 miles of grit at Brassknocker Basin and sit there at a table with the bike locked up waiting for the guys. It was a rare treat in this lockdown summer to chat and drink coffee and walk on the canalside and hours drifted by. When we did finally go our separate ways I had an appointment with an old mate called Brassknocker Hill.

I had ridden this steep peri-urban climb a few years before on  a 100 mile sportive so it was much easier this time round with only a couple of hours of riding in my legs. I could see why it was notorious though, as in places it kicked up to a pretty mean gradient. None of these photos is from that hill by the way - they are all of the scenery around Langridge and the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, as I was not in a mood to stop dead on the climb to try vainly to capture the scene and then have to start again on that tasty slope.

After the famous hill came a long descent to Bath and some city streets leading to the Bristol and Bath Railway Path which has been a constant companion this year on runs and rides. I got my head down and rode pretty hard on the way back, eating up the miles on the cycleway and then on the ringroad path from old Mangotsfield Station back to my home.

I passed a lot of skin swimmers in the river, taking advantage of one of the last warm days of summer.

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