Cheltenham to Portishead 63 miles
796 miles completed- 228 to go
Hard to believe that just yesterday we were in Leicester as today we followed a route through Gloucester, skirted north of Bristol and on to Portishead.
After a pretty rubbish breakfast at The Big Sleep (chain of hotels was subject of takeover completed while we were staying there so things might improve because they are definitely a good fun concept) Pete and I set off towards Portishead with the plan being to follow Sustrans Route 41 for most of the way.
Pete found he had somehow uploaded the route in reverse order with the following consequences: 1. We were accompanied for the whole day by a very dispirited Garmin who constantly tried to tell us to turn round; 2. We were directed up a lot of one way streets – the wrong way; and 3. Pete’s true sense of geography was exposed with, “Mum, we are not going to Gloucester, are we?” “Yes, Pete, Gloucester is exactly where we are going” conversations being the order of the day.
Route 41 might have been our safe option for the day but it did seem to do an awful lot of unnecessary wiggling as we worked our way across Gloucester. However, one of the benefits was that it took us past Roots Cafe (run by a cyclist so brilliant hot chocolate, home made cake and secure hidden cycle storage), through the Cathedral close, where I had attended the funeral of a young cyclist colleague who had been killed in a car collision in January, and past the marina before taking us out of Gloucester along the canal.
After this we were on quiet roads, albeit now in the rain. Pete caught up with an older cyclist out for a morning spin to Tewkesbury and back!
We turned into Elmore Road, just a few yards from the gates of Elmore Court where a month ago Vicky and James were married – albeit in brilliant sunshine.
For Pete and I the rain then became torrential. We took refuge in a pub in Frampton where we asked for a slice of quiche each. While we were waiting I introduced Pete to the 1980’s theory that ‘real men don’t eat quiche’ courtesy of Bruce Fairstein – goodness, that does seem a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Anyway Pete thought it was hilarious so worth an airing.
Waterproof trousers on and we continued to Berkeley. Near the Salmon Inn we sheltered for a bit in a bus shelter. I ran across the road and was allowed to use the loo by the kind people in the pub – now really cold and wet we went I into Berkeley and gave in to the temptation of a hot cup of tea at the Berkeley Tea Rooms. This is now very much a cyclist cafe and we did try a piece of the line and courgette cake which is probably the best I have tasted on this trip.
Feeling a bit more cheerful we set off again with a bit more determination to complete the second thirty miles.
Our route joined the Avon Cycle Way for a while – pretty villages – and then through the Laurence Weston district of Bristol before heading over the extremely windy Avon Bridge cycle way (18 mph against that wind), through the car parks full of newly shipped in foreign cars, and along the road to Portishead, a delightful urban community south west of Bristol with, now a beautiful marina development and a recent gold award winner of Britain in Bloom.
Susie, sister in law, had kindly left us a lovely supper and we warmed up with a wonderful shower and fell into bed with the aim of trying to achieve a 6 am start the next morning.