Last weekend my motorbiking co-worker had his motorbike in for some work to be done and decided to cycle to work from Yate near Bristol to St. Philips in Bristol. He was severely late and kept phoning to let us know where he had gotten to. We were bored so printed out a map and each time he phoned we marked his progress on the map. Eventually he arrived 3 1/2 hours after leaving home. Looking up his route on google maps new walking feature we then pointed out that it would have taken 3 hours 29 mins to walk saving him a whole minute over his cycling time.
Today I had a day off and decided to see what time I could manage. Its a fantastic ride if anyone wants a pootle in Bristol. I joined that Bristol to Bath railway path in a Bath-erly direction and had a few races with school kids as it was late afternoon and they seem tpo hate being overtaken by someone on such a silly looking little bike (see my avatar picture) so you just have to do it . Somewhere in the staple hill area the path splits at an old station and I left the Bath-erly route in favour of the Ring road cycle path with its breathtaking views over the Bristol ring road. Fortunately after a short stretch along the ring road you go under the ring road and head Yate-ward on more disused railway and now you're out of the city (you can tell this by the smell and the big hairy organic bycycles some people are riding).
So heres where I got lost; the path forks and straight on its overgrown and decidedly un-bikepathy and to the right is a downhill stretch that looks more like a bike path. So I went right. There were no signposts saying 'You want to go straight on if you want to get to Yate, its a bike path really!'
At the bottom of the slope it joined a road with signs for many different destinations, none of them were Yate. I looked at my map and managed to quickly work out that I really should buy a more up to date version as the path I had been on didn't exist in 1990 (in fact the ring road was listed as 'proposed ring road due for completion in 1994).
Theres something quite liberating about knowing you're completely lost and your map is useless, it means you can take whichever route looks most appealing until you find out where you are. Then deep in the undergrowth I saw a Board with what looked like a map. I managed to get close enough to read it and found that if I went towards Framton Cotterell on the Avon cycleway route there was a 'Yate link'.
So now I wasn't lost (or so the sign said) and I headed towards FC on nice quiet country lanes, keeping a lookout for signs showing the way to this 'Yate link'. You would have thought that having made a 'Yate link' cycle path, someone would put up a sign saying where you turn off for it! I should have turned off just before going under the railway as I reached FC, but I didn't know that at the time. So I reached FC and was lost again, eventually reaching a main road with a sign for Yate. I was close to my target now and only 50 mins into the ride so I decided that getting to Yate in under an hour was worth a stretch of main road, it was uphill and by now I was knackered but I made Yate bang on the 1 hour mark.
I found the Fabled 'Yate link' on the way home, its a great little path. If you go south from Yate towards Westerleigh on what looks on my map like a quiet country lane, you will quickly find that it's actually a busy country lane and you have a tailback of motorist types behind you. The first place where you can pull over to let them past is a tea room just as you reach Westerleigh. While the cars and lorries go past you can look around and realise that if you were coming from the other direction (ie. via the road from the direction of Bristol) there would be a sign you could see directing you towards the Bristol and Bath Railway path.
It took me 2 hours to get back as I was in no hurry and had knackered myself out setting a good time on the outward journey.
I popped into work to rub in the fact that I had managed the journey 2 1/2 hours faster. Maybe he'll take up the challenge and eventually ditch petrol power.
I know what you're gunna ask but No I didn't have a camera with me
If you want to follow the route: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/ccm/cms-se...et_id=29934233