There was a possibility that the England score from Sunday night might dampen the spirits of the cyclists, but as the day started, all thoughts of the football quickly disappeared and melted away under the warm sunny weather that stayed with us for the duration of the ride today.
First stop on the journey was a trip to Head Office in Swindon, where we had a great reception from the folks based at Wakefield House, and a rare privilege for us turning up to work in a pair of shorts.
[caption id="attachment_3308" align="aligncenter" width="601"] Proof that we made it to Wakefield House. What you can’t see is the group of Nationwide visitors prevented from entering the building.[/caption]
After some more photos (what happened to the coffee and cakes), we headed through Swindon across the Magic Roundabout (a first experience for many of the cyclists) to get across Swindon and head for Stratton St Margaret.
As we headed out of Swindon, we switched to country roads and took in some fantastic Wiltshire scenery. Views of the rolling English countryside came into view, and we stopped briefly for a rest break to take in the scenery.
[caption id="attachment_3309" align="aligncenter" width="601"] This was the scene set before us at one of the rest breaks. Unfortunately we couldn’t dwell for long and it was soon time to move on again.[/caption]
Next stop was Burford, an idyllic Cotswold village to take a lunch break. Taking our time to regain our energy levels it was time to move further north towards Chipping Norton for our afternoon tea at the premises of an independent bookseller supplied by Bertrams.
[caption id="attachment_3310" align="aligncenter" width="602"] In the centre of the picture is the owner of the bookstore pictured at the back[/caption]
Following a brief stop for a cup of coffee it was time to head over to Banbury for the Premier Inn and the evening rest.
As the day unwound, it became clear that 3 of the riders were competing to see who could get the next destination before anyone else (this isn’t meant to be a bike race). However many congratulations to Chris Benger, Cayleb Needham and Ben Beach for getting to the Premier Inn a good 5 minutes before the next rider.
[caption id="attachment_3311" align="aligncenter" width="596"] Congratulations gentlemen for some energetic riding, but I’m not quite sure whether the name of the restaurant adjacent to the Premier Inn is a good omen![/caption]
Once again it’s great to say that there were no accidents today, although Nick Gresham came close when a driver opened the car door in front of him. Today Ian Evans’ bike refused to behave itself and Mark Charlton very kindly donated his ‘standby bike’ to help Ian get back on the road. On the puncture list, I count 4 punctures today (I daren’t say who had two of them within ½ an hour – I just hope there are no more for me tomorrow).
Thanks to everyone for your continued support – there’s a number of hard miles left ahead of us – more details tomorrow.