Cheltenham to Bristol by bike (the horror of Birdlip)

today i rode home from Cheltenham. i didn’t expect it to be all that tricky, and in a fit of guileless optimism decided to tackle Birdlip, which i didn’t remember as being all that tough the last time i rode it. however, the last time i rode it on my lightest geared bike, and not my winter beast with a 68″ gear. this was a near fatal error, it was by some considerable distance the toughest climb of the festive period and by the time i neared the top i was as ragged as an adopted blacksmith’s boy in a dickensian novel adapted for television. i really really struggled. it’s over two miles with an average gradient in excess of 9%, and a couple of sections where it reaches up towards 20%. it’s now seared into my memory and shall be repressed into the reaches of the subconscious as a traumatic experience.

the rest of the ride was nowhere near as eventful, aside from a couple of sharp inclines, Selsey was not very nice. the only other thing of note was this:

i think it's an emu

it was skulking through the fields near iron acton. i stopped and stared. i told belle when i got home, she said it’s the first emu she’s ever seen that doesn’t have Rod Hull’s hand up its ass. the emu trumps the stoat, i think.

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