Britain by Bike

August 19, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Posted in Cycling, Dick, George, Timmy, Travel | Leave a comment
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I’ve been watching and quite enjoying Clare Balding’s current BBC4 television series, Britain by Bike. She’s been following a series of rides recommended by 1940s cycling guru Harold Briercliffe and, in the words of the Beeb’s press release, is trying to re-discover Briercliffe’s ‘world of unspoiled villages, cycling touring clubs and sunny B roads’. So far his routes have taken Balding across North Devon, the Welsh Marches, the Isle of Wight, West Yorkshire and the Costwolds, and there is now just one ride left to go. While Mr Briercliffe may be inspirational (see the review of his collected guides on the excellent Cycling Books website), my own 1940s cycling gurus are, of course, the Famous Five.

Clearly Timmy runs rather than cycles, but he is nevertheless an enthusiastic participant in the variety of rides undertaken by the cousins (he even keeps up with them as they attempt to cover a ‘gentle’ fifty miles a day in Five Get into Trouble – is this even possible for a dog? Should the RSPCA be consulted?).

As some of you may recall, last year I went on my first Famous Five style cycling holiday with my friend James. It was modest in distance and James and I vowed to attempt something slightly more ambitious this year. So on Saturday we are setting off for a four day trip from Bath to Oxford (serious cyclists may laugh at my conception of ‘ambitious’ but beware, I will set Timmy on you if so). We’re only planning to cycle around twenty miles per day, giving us ample time to stop off and explore along the way. We’ll be going via Malmesbury, Cirencester and Burford and staying in a series of bed & breakfasts and coaching inns (full reports on their breakfasts and cycle-friendly credentials to follow). The Bobbin has been brought out of retirement and continuing my perverse urge to give my friends FF pseudonyms, James will henceforce be Dick (hello James, I hope you don’t mind). I won’t actually be able to keep a straight face and call him that – it is in spirit only, as James is often hungry and is good at solving mysteries, climbing down wells etc. I just hope he’s not as prone to punctures as Dick is…


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