A great day exploring the Bristol to Bath cycle path with my old friend Philip Mitchell on our Brompton Folding Bikes. The suggestion was Phil’s – we hadn’t met up for too long and as he had bought a Brompton fairly recently, it seemed a good excuse to get together and tackle this well known cycle route. A cold nearly caused me to bail out, but I decided to man-up and crack on.
My day started well enough with a gentle cycle from home to Chippenham station, where I bought my ticket and a coffee. It was a little bit chilly, but sunny with the promise of a warm autumn day ahead.
Arriving in Bristol Temple Meads a relaxing 25 later I sat on a bench to wait for Phil whose day was not going quite as smoothly. Some car parking and navigational challenges set him back a bit, so I just sat in the sun and waited, while the day gradually warmed up.
Phil arrived and after a bit of a download on his journey in we set off from the back of Temple Meads, across the river and towards the start of the cycle path which is only about half a mile of so away. The start is fairly unassuming, just a couple of bent rails stuck artistically into the ground, but I would say that the signage of the whole route is very clear.
The route was busy enough to be vibrant, without being annoying, with walkers, families on bikes with trailers and little ones on mini-bikes, young lads on mountain bikes, plus streams of road bikes whistling past, all carbon fibre and Lycra.
Phil and I were cycling in tune with each other from the outset, coming alongside, or dropping back and keeping a similar pace – this the product of our having spent our early years cycling everywhere together back in Gloucester.
The route follows old railway tracks predominately, so there were lots of original features to enjoy, although to be fair we were chatting away so we must have missed lots of it. The route comes alongside a heritage railway around Bitton, and we were treated to an old Diesel locomotive pulling away with its carriages – we gave it a friendly wave. We also had to cross the railway through a couple of gates where we also had a good view of the rail yard with all of its various wagons.
We powered on out of Bitton and towards Saltford where we were suddenly aware on the right hand side of the track of an attractive pub (‘The Bird in the hand’) with a garden where some cyclists were already resting up and eating. This seemed too good an opportunity to pass up, so we headed to the garden and within a short time we had cold drinks and fish finger sandwiches (thanks Phil!). After a relaxing chat and reflecting on life in general we decided that probably considering I had a cold we would head back to Bristol instead of pushing on to Bath.
On our return to Temple Meads, we popped into a café to round off the meet up. Phil headed off to his car and I got the train back to Chippenham, where Helen picked me up in the car. A lovely day.