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Help planning a route (London - Bristol/Bath)

fontmossfontmoss Posts: 30
edited August 2017 in Tour & expedition
Newbie to route planning so looking for help in deciding how best to construct a route, apologies in advance if I've missed a thread or sticky with basic rules. Thanks

Posts

  • Thick MikeThick Mike Posts: 337
    I found Strava good for a starting point. Put in start and end points, and it will plot a route based on segments people often ride (hopefully better cycling roads). You can also set it to minimise ascent.

    I used it for my ride from Dudley to Leighton Buzzard earlier this year, and the route was spot on.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Are you looking for minimum distance, flattest or something more hilly and/or quiet roads? Most direct is pretty much to follow the A4 from Reading to Bath and then the sustrans route that follows an old railway line to Bristol. Its also the flattest but its a busy A road and while most of it is fine some parts are not so nice.
  • fontmossfontmoss Posts: 30
    Cheers! I'm after a nice route rather than quickest/most direct route.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    This was a pretty nice route from Bristol to London avoiding the worst bits of busy main road: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/575820070

    If you want nicer and dont mind the extra miles/hills, then from Marlborough you could go down through Burbage, Pewsey, Devizes, Bradford on Avon to Bath and then from there follow the sustrans railway route. The Eastern section of this is pretty good either way.
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 4,591
    apreading wrote:
    This was a pretty nice route from Bristol to London avoiding the worst bits of busy main road: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/575820070

    If you want nicer and dont mind the extra miles/hills, then from Marlborough you could go down through Burbage, Pewsey, Devizes, Bradford on Avon to Bath and then from there follow the sustrans railway route. The Eastern section of this is pretty good either way.

    Don't know about Burbage, but that last bit is virtually flat from Pewsey if you do the two tunnels through to Bath. It's very nice too.
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 4,591
    ^virtually flat as in rolling gradients. It has enough to make the scenery interestin, it's just you don't have to climb the Downs.
  • fontmossfontmoss Posts: 30
    Thanks guys! Ordering a wahoo bolt and going to have a look at putting all these ideas together.
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 9,933
    Take the Kennet & Avon canal path, surface is reasonable, certainly from Devizes westwards to Bradford and on to Bath. Cracking scenery. Zero traffic bar the other cyclists and peds. But if you are not in a hurry...
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 4,591
    orraloon wrote:
    Take the Kennet & Avon canal path, surface is reasonable, certainly from Devizes westwards to Bradford and on to Bath. Cracking scenery. Zero traffic bar the other cyclists and peds. But if you are not in a hurry...

    I'm local and I don't recommend section between Bradford and Bath on a weekend or nice days during school hols. Too many walkers, toddlers, wobbly riders, dogs (not having a moan, I've been there with all these...) to keep any pace up, and all the towpath ( NCR4 here) surface crappy for a few days after rain. Did the towpath today for first time today in ages and bike needs hosing down.
    Bradford on Avon is really nice though, and lots of cafes and pubs on route.
    I do Bradford to Bath daily and almost always use the roads. Avoid the A36 but pick up the 'two tunnels' route between the viaduct near Monkton Combe and Bath. Longest tunnel cycleway in U.K. I think - two illuminated 1-2km tunnels with tarmac surface, route takes you into Bath and almost to the cycleway to Brizzle - traffic free tarmacked disused railway line.
  • fontmossfontmoss Posts: 30
    Cheers for the local knowledge!
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 4,591
    Mad_Malx wrote:
    I'm local and I don't recommend section between Bradford and Bath on a weekend or nice days during school hols.

    Was down there again last week. I was a bit harsh, living here for so long now means I don't always appreciate how nice it is. Still recommend avoiding the Bradford to Bath towpath on a sunnny Weekend afternoon, but otherwise fairly quiet. Bradford to Dundas aqueduct is really spectactual - Two scenic aquaducts where the canal crosses the river (avoncliffe and dundas) and nice hillsides. I still recommend the two tunnels route from dundas to Bath though - it's signed as soon as you cross Dundas aqueduct (about 4-5 miles from either Bath or Bradford.
    The towpath surface isn't tarmacked, but mostly fairly well compacted clay, and is rideable with decent tyres. Doable with strong 28mm, better with 32mm plus. As mentioned, does get quite muddy after rain which takes quite a few days to clear.

    Enjoy your trip!
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Yeah - depends on tyres. Generally on a road bike, I wouldnt. But if you have tyres to suit then busy or not, it would be sacrilege to miss the aqueducts.
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