This was a fantastic day for a ride, bearing in mind the month: dry, no black ice and precious little wind.
Two illiterates joined me on the ride - had they noted the name of the ride? There were concerns about health: one had been potentially exposed to students with hand, foot and mouth, while the other, having had a cold, sounded like an unbalanced steam engine on the first few climbs.
We made steady progress taking hills at our own rate and regrouping at the top and made the Post Office at Great Bedwyn just in time for a welcome coffee before they closed.
Keen to ensure at least 1,000m of climbing we forsook the gentle route through Vernham Dean for the demanding Conholt Hill and then, for reasons that cannot be explained, turned onto an inviting track that was a dead end. We eventually arrived at the Tea Cosy in Hurstbourne Tarrant, having enjoyed some panoramic vistas.
The route after lunch was as bucolic as before, climbing Coombe at our own pace and then whizzing down through to Kintbury. We then navigated the undulations to Welford at our own pace, after which we rode as a tight group through Shefford and then along the A338 to the county line. We were back in Wantage at 14:50, 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
The lanes were delightful, the drivers considerate and the company bright and cheerful.