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Rescheduled West of England 2023

  • Arrival
  • 6/4/2023
  • Departure
  • 6/17/2023
  • Ride Coordinator
  • George Ellis
  • Tour Company
  • Iron Donkey Bicycle Tours
  • Starting Location
  • Wells, UK
  • Finishing Location
  • Blunsdon, UK
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $3870
  • Deposit
  • $1500
  • Number of Riders
  • 22 (min. 16 /max. 24)
  • Space Available
  • 2
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

2B  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

OVERVIEW:  The West of England offers some of the most stunning scenery anywhere in Britain.  To the south of Bath, the kingdom of Wessex encompasses the limestone hills, gorges and caves of the Mendips, the low-lying meadows and moors of the Somerset Levels, the beautiful valley of the River Wylye, the vast expanse of Salisbury Plain and the sweeping Marlborough Downs.  The area is enriched by a wealth of historical and architectural attractions, ranging from the prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury to the stunning facade of Wells Cathedral and the elegance of Longleat House. Camelot, the legendary court of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, was sited close to Glastonbury.  To the north of Bath, the rolling limestone hills of the Cotswolds produce some of the finest rural landscapes in England.  For centuries, this has been superb sheep farming country, and the enormous wealth engendered from the medieval wool trade was poured into building majestic churches and fine houses. Built almost entirely of the local honey-coloured stone, the cottages, barns and manor houses contribute a great deal to the overall beauty of the Cotswolds landscapes.

ATTRACTIONS:  The wonderful Georgian city of Bath, the Kennet and Avon Canal, Longleat Estate, Stourhead House, Salisbury Cathedral, Wells Cathedral, Stonehenge, Prehistoric Avebury, the valley of the River Coln, Malmesbury Abbey, Chavenage House, Wilton House, Lacock Abbey, Westonbirt Arboretum, Chedworth Roman Villa, Arlington Row in Bibury.

RIDE RATING:  This tour is rated 2B, with an ALERT. The average daily required riding distance is 36.5 miles with an average daily elevation gain of 1887 feet, making this a solid level 2B ride.  There is one required riding day that exceeds the 2500 foot climbing limit for level 2 rides, Kingscote to Bourton at 2874 feet.    Bourton Loop at 2769 feet is a loop ride, and is not mandatory.  There are no days that exceed the B rating of 50 miles.  While the ride is rated as a 2 for elevation gain, be prepared for a few short but steep hills.  95% of the routes are on the road, and suitable for road bikes with 25mm to 28mm tire widths.  There are short stretches on canal towpaths with hard pack surfaces, also suitable for road bikes.

DAY 1:  The tour starts with a two-night stop in the beautiful cathedral city of Wells.  On arrival, there will be bike fitting for those renting and bike assembling for those bringing their own, with the option of a short warm-up ride before the initial tour introductions, briefing and first group dinner.

DAY 2:  Wells Loop 40.1 miles, + 2014 feet (not mandatory).   The  route is a clockwise  loop  based on the ancient city of  Wells  and the Bishop’s Palace.  From Wells we ride south on a  mix of country lanes and bike paths to mystical  Glastonbury, where  we  can climb to Glastonbury Tor and visit Glastonbury Abbey.

DAY 3:  Wells to Longbridge Deverill 35 miles, + 2276 feet.  Day 3 sees us leaving Wells and riding east into the Somerset countryside, passing the East Somerset Railway (of interest to steam enthusiasts) and continuing through a series of picture-postcard villages before climbing to enjoy a wonderful vista from Alfred’s Tower.

DAY 4:  Longbridge Deverill to Amesbury 42.2 Miles, + 1926 feet.  Back tracking  from Longbridge Deverill, we ride through Longleat  Estate, stopping to visit  the  magnificent Longleat House if you wish. Leaving Longleat we skirt around the southern outskirts of Warminster to meet the valley of the River Wylye at Tytherington. The ride down the beautiful valley takes you through a series of picture postcard villages that line the river – thatched cottages, ancient coaching inns and medieval churches are everywhere.

DAY 5:  Amesbury to Devizes 22.3 miles, + 897 feet. The first part of today’s route is an optional out-­‐and-­‐back ride from Amesbury to Stonehenge on backroads (mostly) with a short off-­‐road section. On arrival at the visitor center we will lock your bikes and make our way to Stonehenge on foot or by the shuttle bus. (Note that it will be wise to book in advance if you plan to visit the monument). We then return to Amesbury by retracing our outward route. From Amesbury you ride north, continuing to follow the River Avon through a series of villages to Upavon, where we bear west, bypassing Pewsey and following a series of quiet country lanes to Devizes.

DAY 6: Devizes Loop 41.6 miles, + 1640 feet (Not mandatory).  For most, the main focus of interest on today’s loop ride is the ancient site of Avebury, to the northeast of Devizes.   The ride from Devizes takes us first to the lovely Vale of Pewsey and then north through Royal Savernake Forest to the town of Marlborough, with its Elizabethan shop fronts, its huge market place and its famous public school (attended by Kate Middleton amongst other notables).

DAY 7: Devizes to Bath 34.7 miles +1111 feet. The direct route from Devizes to Bath is along the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal.  Just after leaving Devizes we come to the remarkable Caen Hill.  The 29 locks have a rise of 237 feet in 2 miles and take 5 to 6 hours to traverse in a boat.

DAY 8:  In Bath.  Day 8 is intended as a rest day which will allow us to explore the beautiful and historic city of Bath with its myriad attractions.  There is also the option of a loop ride for those who can’t bear to have a day out of the saddle!

DAY 9: Bath to Kingscote 40.6 miles +2306 feet. From the center of Bath take either the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath or the London Road (traffic but bike lanes) to Batheaston, then turn north toward St. Catherine’s for a good climb up the southern slopes of the Cotswolds escarpment to the village of Marshfield.

DAY 10: Kingscote to Bourton 38.9 miles +2874 feet. Although not a particularly long ride, this has quite a lot of up and down work!  Day 10 sees us continue north into the very heart of the Cotswolds. Shortly after leaving Tetbury we pass Chavenage House, a historic Elizabethan manor house, before riding through a series of picture postcard Cotswold villages to a well-earned pub lunch by the river in Withington.  From here there is some roller coaster riding before we arrive in Bourton-on-the-Water, England’s Little Venice, for a two-night stop.

DAY 11: Bourton Loop 42.0 miles + 2769 feet (not mandatory). This loop ride is packed with sites of interest and you will probably have difficulty deciding on which ones you want to spend your time in.

DAY 12: Bourton to Cirencester 35.2 miles +1845 feet.  Leaving Bourton we climb to Great Rissington and then turn south to Great Barrington.  Here we ride east to historic Burford following the northern bank of the River Windrush.   A last climb is followed by a long and gentle descent to Cirencester.

DAY 13: Cirencester to Blunsdon 42.9 Miles + 1859 feet.  Our last ride takes us through the eastern Cotswolds, starting with a gentle descent along the Coln Valley to enchanting Bibury with its Trout Farm, its tea shops and its gift shops. The last stretch takes us through Quenington and Fairford to finish in the village of Blunsdon.

WEATHER:  June is one of the warmest and driest months in Southwest England with an average daily low of 51 degrees F, and an average daily high of 65 degrees F.  Average rainfall for the month of June is 1.7 inches.  This IS England however, and you should be prepared for cooler temperatures and rain at any time.

LODGING & MEALS: The estimated cost covers 13 nights’ accommodations, Wells (2), Longbridge Deverill, Amesbury, Devizes (2), Bath (2), Tetbury, Bourton (2), Cirencester, and Blunsdon. 13 breakfasts, and 7 dinners (3 course).  Lodging will range from 3* (one 4* and one 2*) hotels to local guesthouses and inns.

LOGISTICS : Most people will fly into London Heathrow (LHR). If you have the time, London is a fantastic destination, and deserving of a few sightseeing days by itself.  Transport between Heathrow and Wells and between Blundson to Heathrow are both served by train and/or bus.  If there is enough interest, a more direct shuttle will be arranged for additional cost.  NOTE If there is a shuttle, for those taking it from Blunsdon to Heathrow (LHR) on June 17. 2023, it will leave the hotel at 9:00 a.m., taking approximately 2 hours, and arriving at Heathrow airport around 11:00 AM.  Please allow plenty of time when making your plane reservations home. 

The tour officially begins with a get-together and dinner at our hotel in Wells on Sunday, June 4, 2023.  The tour officially ends after breakfast at our hotel in Blunsdon on Saturday, June 17, 2023. Bikes, including Hybrid, Road, tandems and E-Bikes are available from Iron Donkey and arrangements must be made directly with them.  Garmin GPS units are also available for rent from Iron Donkey.   

COST & ADMINISTRATION: In addition to the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee of $100, and the payment processing fee, the estimated tour cost is $3870 based on a calculated exchange rate of £1 = $1.45.  The final payment may be adjusted up or down based on the exchange rate at the time. Tour costs include 13 nights’ accommodation, all breakfasts, 7 (three course dinners), electronic cue sheets, maps, GPS files, luggage transfer, van pickup for emergency use, bike box storage, tips and nightly business meetings. Nightly happy hour/business meetings will be held in or near the hotel bars or pubs. BAC will cover the first beverage each evening (wine, beer, soft drink, juice, etc.)  A deposit of $1,500 plus the $100 BAC fee will be due when you sign up, and the remaining $2370 will be due on February 1, 2023

SINGLES & SOLOS POLICY:  It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own. However, after receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until no later than 30 days after sign-up to find a roommate. If they are unable to find a roommate, they will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and payment processing fee) or pay the $1195 solo supplement and stay on the ride (There is room for a maximum of 2 Solos on this tour).  If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary.  The Ride Leader will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride.  Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office no later than 30 days after sign-up. Checks should be made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check.  They should be mailed to:  Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.

CANCELLATION POLICY: The $100 BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fee is not refundable unless the entire tour is canceled because the number of participants registered is less than the minimum established for the tour..  Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped.  The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations.  If the canceling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time.  If the canceling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed.  If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the canceling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour.  BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

In addition to the BAC Cancellation policy, those who cancel may be subject to Iron Donkey's cancellation policy: If the participant cancels, and no replacement can be found, then the following penalties will apply (all amounts are subject to adjustment based upon the exchange rate in effect at the time).

  • More than 90 days before the tour starts, 10% of Iron Donkey trip cost or $320
  • Between 90 days and 30 days before departure: 25% of Iron Donkey trip cost or $ 795
  • 30 days before departure and departure: 100% of Iron Donkey trip cost or $3,185

RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY:  Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support.  Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles.   All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour.  We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from Ride Leader.  While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up.  Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour.  Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you may have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.

SIGN-UP:  To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description.  When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List.  At this time you will receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the $100 non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and the initial tour deposit ($1500) by credit card.  As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.

Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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