Monday, May 29, 2000
Oxford to Cirencester
There was no rain today, but it was still a little cool, with temperatures in the mid teens. It was once again a windy day, and we would be facing persistent headwinds. We headed west on the B4044 towards Botley and Swinford. Just outside of Swinford we crossed a toll bridge. We were lucky, as cyclists cross for free - the 10 pence fee would have placed undo hardship on us. We then changed to the B4449 towards Hardwick. This is a very quiet winding road in gently rolling countryside.
Crossing the A415, we found our way to a series of confusing and unsigned country lanes that wound there way through Yelford and Ashton where we rejoined the B4449. Then we made our way through the beautiful village of Bampton with its many picturesque cottages. We left the B4449 for the B4477 and made a rest stop at the "The Vines" in Black Bourton. The cost for lunch was a reasonable 4 pounds.
We continued west on the B4477 through Alvescot, Kencott and Broughton Boggs where we crossed the A361. From here we found more quiet gently rolling country lanes. Kevin and I missed some turns in this section and ended up tacking our way towards the A417 just east of Cirencester. A short cycle on the A417 and we were at the Tourist Information booth to book our B&B for the night. This night we stayed at the Leauses, 101 Victoria Road, Cirencester. The cost was 40 pounds for the both of us, and of course that price included the standard "full English breakfast." You guessed it: one fried egg, sausage, bacon, and cold toast.
Cirencester was the centre of the medieval wool trade, and is sometimes referred to as the "Capital of the Cotswolds." Nineteen hundred years ago Cirencester was second only to London in importance and size. At one time it was also populated by the Romans, and it has many ruins from this period. We wandered the town to view the cathedral and some Roman ruins, then headed for the pub for refreshments. Just outside of the pub several young brits made fun of the fact that Kevin was wearing shorts. The temperature was of course a bit on the cool side, but you get used to that when you live in Canada. We Canadians were too early for dinner, as usual, so we settled for beers until the pub dinner hour arrived around 6:30 p.m.. Beer was always very appreciated after several hours in the saddle. After a couple of hours of beer and chips we departed. But did manage the strength to stop by another pub for a drink before we made it back to the B&B.
Distance: 70.7 Km, Time: 3 hours, 38 minutes, Average Speed: 19.5 kph
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