A367, Radstock BA3 3AA
- Where: Old Miners Wheel/Bike It in Radstock
- When: Every Friday evening from mid-April until mid-Sept
- Time: 17:50 for 18:00 start
- Distance: 35 Miles with 1950ft climbing
- Average Speed: 18-20+ mph
This is a fast paced “drop” group training ride. You should be comfortable and confident holding a wheel, riding in a close proximity group and in a chain gang at speed. The route stays the same, and is a 35 mile circuit from Radstock. There are 2 regrouping points if you are dropped.
- The layby on the left at the top of the Bristol Road hill (aka The Mast Hill)
- At the crossroads of the B3371 and B3134 (Top of the Rifle Range road)
There is a slighter shorter version of this ride which is used when the evening light is at a premium. This cuts out the descent into Wells and the Mast Hill climb. It will be made clear at the start if the shorter route will be taken. Please ensure you are familiar with the route as after the 2nd re-grouping point you’d be expected to find your own way back to Radstock if you are no longer in the group.
Bring what you need (tubes, pump, tools, snacks and fluids). There is no designated ride leader. If you have a mechanical issue, please shout! Front and rear lights are advisable early and late season in case of mechanical delay. Please adhere to the highway code at ALL times and be considerate to other road users.
The infamous “Friday Night Ride” is a route that has been honed to perfection over the years so as to provide a bit of everything. It takes in some of the Mendip’s finest views, although you should be cycling too hard to enjoy them fully. Using the Cycle Path to start, the social pleasantries can be dealt with before the long drag up from Midsomer Norton to Emborough. It is a tough start for cold legs where everyone rides as close group: 2 abreast where appropriate. It’s worth the effort though, as the descent down into Wells is fast and spectacular. A quick right turn in Wells just after the petrol station brings the Mast hill into view. Ride this at your own pace, go for the KOM or try and improve your time week on week. The ride regroups at the top in the layby on the left. It is possible to cut out the descent and Mast Hill climb if you don’t have your climbing legs on by taking the right hand turn at the Mendip Shooting club (just after the old Slab house pub) which brings you out opposite the regrouping layby to wait for the group. We would, however, always recommend attempting the climb as you only get better at hills by doing hills!
Once together, take the first left along the undulating road through Priddy. This straight and relatively quiet road is perfect for the chain gang (through and off/bit and bit) to get going. We try to keep it all together over the rise at the far side of Priddy village. At the end of the road, take 2 another left turns towards Cheddar head, again trying to keep the chain going. Ease up for the sharp 140 degree right turn and watch for gravel, just before the start of the gorge proper which heralds the start of the Rifle Range road. This is a slight drag up, usually with a cross-wind or head-wind that allows you to test your performance against others in the group as the pace is continually wound up along this road. Regroup at the crossroads at the end.
Turning right at the crossroads, the ride now heads for home. This is usually another fast section of road where the group will single out. If you are still feeling fit, take your turn on the front to tow the group along. If you can’t, just sit in and enjoy the drafting effect, nobody will mind. Take a left turn at the crossroads (this is a dangerous junction and has a STOP sign, please take care) which leads to another drag up, however the reward for staying together to the top is the long fast gradual descent through Torhole bottom to Chewton Mendip, following a left turn on the corner. This section of road is a favourite for all who ride it and in a group it’s exhilarating with speeds touching nearly 40mph.
A quick right then left at Chewton Mendip brings the gradual climb back up to Emborough. Turning left at the top and back onto the main road yields another fast section. Taking care as the ride crosses the A37, the shallow descent from Emborough to the White Post roundabout via Chilcompton is always quick as riders can now open up the taps and empty the tank. Left at the White Post roundabout and it’s the home straight, still heading downwards you should arrive back in Radstock with nothing left in your legs, but happy with your effort.