Paul and I went for a little coker ride on sunday morning.
We set off early from the front door and headed out of town through the still
sleeping Southcote estate and over the Burghfield Bridge, we started a game of
of Pub Cricket on the way and by the Cunning man pub at the bridge I had two
runs for one wicket. Heading into rural berkshire we crossed the Motorway and
discovered that there is an Atomic weapons Establishmment place in Burghfield,
thats not on the map! Through the village and we hit our first hill of the day
climbing out of the kennet valley and into the woods.
We bowled along trying but failing to catch up with a cyclist ahead of us
who seemed to be traveling at the same speed as us. We got slightly lost on
the way into Aldermaston, fell off the map and found another Atomic Weapons
place that is not on the map, with serious fences and security cameras every
where. Creepy .
Finding our bearings again we continued to run along th ridge above the Kennet
and Avon canal , round Greenham Common airbase - now disused and being
redeveloped, but one the scene of a USAF base and a BIG anti-atomic weapons
peace camp - I’m starting to spot a theme for this ride…
We skirted round the southern edge of Newbury, stoped at a corner shop and had a
young lad stare at us , maybe he’d never seen a unicycle before, or maybe it was
the 36 inch wheels leaning agaist each other and towering above his 20 inch BMX
wheels. Onwards through beautifull country side, and pictue box villages who’s
pubs were anoyingly leg free when I was batting ( pub cricket) we pedaled, till
Paul called a stop, " my knees hurting" he said, so we decided to curtail our
ride at the next vilage with a train station , Kintbury. It was down hill from
here on, litterally, as Kintbury is also on the Kennet and Avon canal and thus
at the bottom of the hill.
We arrived at the station just as the level crossing gates had shut, trapping us
on the wrong side of the tracks, even with dashing through as soon as the gates
rose we missed the train, just. Ratz. Faced with the choice of staying in
Kintbury for another two hours on a sunday morning or riding the 6 miles to
Newbury ( bigger station, more trains stop there) Paul opted for the extra ride
, we used the canal tow-path to minimse the pressure on his knee, no more hill-
It was a nice ride, well I enjoyed it, think Paul found it a tad bumpy and
painfull. We saw loads of narrow boats and some tri-athletes in the run stage of
a race. At one lock I stopped to watch a family struggling to work out how to
get the water level to raise. They had forgoten that you need to open the sluice
gates and were sitting waiting for the water to magicly appear. We passed a
horse drawn barge, one of the last six in use in the country acording to the
chap leading the horse along , it was nice to see a tow-path being used for its
origanal purpose. I think we often forget that the only reason we have these
great canal side trails is the hose drawn barges that were the haulage industry
of the industrial revolution, the Jugganauts of their time.
Eventully we made Newbury, just too late for another train. So we had a picnic
on the platform and waited nearly an hour for a train that had stopped at
Kintbury. Ho Hum.
We did about 35 miles, not bad for a sunday morning ride.