The most beautiful places…

There’s a saying “winter miles equals summer smiles.” Well it might be officially Spring, but the last three weeks have seen three beautiful rides (two with snow involved)  in fantastic scenery with great mates.

First was the Eden Valley Epic with Adam and Marie. Starting in Penrith, heading down through limestone scenery to Orton, before another climb over to Appleby-in-Westmorland, and up beside the Pennines before returning to Penrith. The Lake District, Howgill Fells and Pennines were all clad in snow, making it a very scenic outing.

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Next up was supposed to be The Spring Onion in Surrey, but for various reasons, Neal could do with a later start and something closer to home, so we opted for a ride in the Chilterns. Back on old stomping grounds it was pretty much made up as we went along, but once at Marlow we took an alternative route into the hills, borrowing from a GPX in my Garmin taken from my greatest road cycling routes book. This was a bit more lumpy and less direct than the “normal route” via Frieth and Fingest, but all the nicer for it. Chalkstone hills and plenty of woodland, with quiet roads.

We discovered a nice farm shop for Sunday lunch before heading into Henley and back via Crazies Hill and the Drift Road.

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Most recently, out again with Adam, and he’d never been up the Buttertubs Pass in the Yorkshire Dales, so we met up in Reeth. My mate Rich suggested we try the road over from Swaledale to Askrigg. It was beautiful and quiet, but steep!

After a quick café stop in Askrigg we were off towards Hawes and then up onto the Buttertubs road. With some snow patches at the top, it maybe still qualifies as a winter ride. The descent was amazing (fastest time ever) and the spin along back to Reeth properly beautiful, and all the better for being generally downhill and with a tailwind.

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Hopefully this is the end of winter, and plenty of chance to get out for long, warm, sunny days on the road…!