The autumn tour, day one: ‘performance touring’ was not on today’s menu, at least not until the last hour of the ride. For starters the light, cold, autumnal rain falling as we left Cirencester put a bit of a dampener on the whole idea of cycle touring.
My front wheel puncture at the bottom of a descent outside Chedworth, famous for its Roman villa, slowed an already steady riding pace still further and even the pretty streets of Winchcombe didn’t look quite so picture postcard in the drizzle.
Still, we (me, Andy Kay, Simon Smythe and James Shrubsall) are hardened touring men and we had a goal; find the same rural pub we ate at some eight years previously.
Then it proudly displayed the legend ‘Voted Worcestershire’s Best Pub’ and easily lived up to the boast. Never go back, they say. When, wet and hungry, we found it, we found out why. The excellent bar food and welcoming landlord were no more, the latter replaced by an Al Murray lookalike with an obvious aversion to wet cyclists, even touring ones.
Pressing on, we found another hostelry of modern decor with perfectly good food and beer and decided to forget about performance for a while, which was just as well given the effect of three pints of Marston’s Pedigree on a touring man’s legs.