Flood Avoidance (With Route)(Just For Cyclists)

If you’re itching to get out on your bike for a ride but are struggling for a route given all the rain, this loop between north Reading over to the other side of Woodcote might be worth a try. It’s a 20 mile route with a couple of lumpy bits to keep you exercised.

At the time of writing it avoided any major problems caused by flooded rivers or (still) rising groundwater, but be warned – many of the roads are in an atrocious state, and not just the smaller lanes. A lot of care is needed. But that all said, it’s better to be out than in!

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Up Towards Ewelme (With Route)(Just For Cyclists)

If you’re in the Reading area and stuck for a route that avoids floods, this loop up towards Ewelme proved quite reasonable: plenty of pot-holes and filthy roads, but nothing too waterlogged. (At least it was OK when I rode it on Monday.) I went counter-clockwise, out to Sonning Common and on from there, back via Ipsden etc. It’s easy to extend it if you want to. The climb up to the back of Woodcote is my preferred option for getting up that particular ridge of hills, especially when the roads are bad.

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Bridges Aren’t Just For Cars (With Route)

A reasonable if windy ride – hard going in places but I guess that’s what autumn’s all about.

The route took me through Sonning, out to Marlow and then back to Caversham via Henley. Sonning bridge is “closed” during the daytime at the moment. You don’t have to be local to realize that a bridge across the Thames is important in the overall scheme of things – there aren’t that many of them. Finding an alternative route is a big deal on a bike – it means quite a few extra miles.

That’s how the local newspaper reported the closure:

Reading Chronicle on Sonning bridge closure

I thought it sounded like it wasn’t major work, emailed the council, and was told cyclists could get across throughout the day.

The Reading Chronicle is avowedly pro-cycling and as a cyclist I’m pleased about that. For example:

Reading Chronicle on 20mph speed limits

… but they didn’t find out if cyclists could still get across the “closed” bridge. The paper is by no means alone. On the ground, the Council (presumably responsible for the signs on the roads) totally ignores cyclists and pedestrians (who can also walk across all day) alike.

Bridge closed sign in Sonning

Spot the missing information

None of this is a big deal – worse things happen at sea. What it does show, though, is how far commonplace thinking has to change if we’re really going to move towards being a pro-cycling nation.

Marlow Bridge in autumn sun

Marlow Bridge – looking good in the autumn sun

The Route:

In essence – Reading – Sonning – Wargrave – Marlow – Henley – Reading. It’s what I’d describe as a good one for a reasonably confident solo cyclist – there’s a fair bit of main road work that’s fine if you’re relaxed about it, but not necessarily for the nervous and they’re roads that rather limit conversation if you’re riding with someone! Inevitably, some of the lanes are pretty rough – stones, pot-holes etc.

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A Woodcote Cycle Ride (With Route)(Just For Cyclists)

The not-that-great storm yesterday may not have been as destructive as trailed / feared, but nevertheless it wasn’t a day for cycling, around here at least.

Today’s ride was just a short jaunt in South Oxon lanes, chosen mainly because of a very autumnal, strong north westerly wind. Going anti-clockwise and starting out from Caversham, for the most part this offers a classic headwind out / tailwind back trip.

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Autumn Toadstools

Oh yes,it’s autumn