RideEatCamp

Battling Bristol

Europe

From Bath our goal today was to enter Wales. To get to Wales however we had to get through Bristol.

Next to the bike shop where we got a city map was a small pasties shop. Pasties are like an English burrito. Yum.
Next to the bike shop where we got a city map was a small pasties shop. Pasties are like an English burrito. Yum.

We each devoured two pasties. It was my first experience of English food.
We each devoured two pasties. It was my first experience of English food.

Like all of England, Bristol’s road network is best described as a labyrinth. The organization behind route 4, Sustrans, deserves some recognition. The fact that they could string together some roads as complicated as Bristol’s into a dedicated cycle route is nothing short of amazing.

Despite their best efforts to guide cyclists through Bristol, we still got lost several times. We ended up in front of a bike shop called Cycle Shack after losing the route markers for the second time. A friendly employee tried his best to get us back on course, but even he struggled to give us guidance. To provide further support, he gave us a Bristol cycling map. This was the first map we’d used that was actually helpful. Complete with highlighted bike lanes and cycle paths, the map guided us successfully out of town.

It was at this point that the rain came. We had many more miles ahead of us and the skies were getting darker.

You could blindfold me and stick me in a corn maze and I'd have a better chance of navigating than trying to get through Bristol's streets. This map helped us get un lost several times.
You could blindfold me and stick me in a corn maze and I’d have a better chance of navigating than trying to get through Bristol’s streets. This map helped us get un lost several times.

We took shelter in a bus stop to check our progress. We had more testing miles ahead that day.
We took shelter in a bus stop to check our progress. We had more rainy miles ahead that day.

We soldiered on for a couple of hours until the lure of a pub called the Rose Inn was too strong to resist. Sopping wet, we parked or bikes under an awning on the side of the building and did our best impressions of dogs shaking off a romp in the lake. Wet but not dripping, we entered the pub.

It was so nice to be inside away from the rain and the cold wind. I ordered a pint and a tea for Carrie and we sat down at a table and enjoyed the simple pleasures. Before long, we had to figure out where we were going to pitch our tent for the night. I asked who I believe was the owner and cook and she said we could just pitch up in the garden behind the pub. That was music to our ears. Since we were getting free accommodation, we decided that we should at least buy dinner and dessert, so we enjoyed a good meal. A great way to end a challenging day.