We will ride overnight to arrive at Stonehenge in time to see sunrise on the summer solstice (you might like to bring a picnic). There will be a couple of stops for late night sustenance along the way, and a breakfast stop on the way back. We'll then split into two parties: one cycling back to Havant and the other cycling to Salisbury to catch a train back (John is returning by train).
English Heritage don't organise any solstice events themselves, but we can expect to see some ceremonies from pagan and druidic groups.
There will be a pub stop around 22h30 - too late to order food, but teas, coffees and regular pub drinks will be available with outside seating (if suitable), so a picnic sandwich is recommended. McDonalds on the outskirts of Amesbury is open with seating and toilets, giving us time to get sorted before heading over to Stonehenge. Phil has made a couple of trips to Stonehenge, and reports that if we take Stonehenge Road out of Amesbury there is a cycle track alongside the A303 which takes us to a dirt road leading to the Stones. We think it will be safe enough to lock our bikes to the fence (bring a good lock, although we won't be far away).
Wiltshire is lovely at the moment, with beautiful landscapes, and fields of wild flowers.
(click to enlarge photos)
Sunrise on 21 June in Amesbury is at 04h51 at 049° in the NE skyline. We will aim to arrive at Stonehenge around 04h00 in order to enjoy the pre-dawn atmosphere and preparations (and cope with the crowds).
This ride may be an introduction for some of us to the joys of night riding. Bearing this in mind, please give your bike a thorough check before starting (especially tyres and lights), and carry the spares and tools needed to deal with common mechanical problems. The other mission-critical element for the ride is you; you need to be comfortable on the bike, have a good dinner beforehand, and ideally a good night's sleep the previous night, and/or a snooze during the day. Navigation won't be an issue as you can be assured nobody will be left behind.
John is aware of at least two riders wishing to join the group in Wickham. We will pause for five minutes opposite the public toilets in Station Road, Wickham to facilitate this. Around 9:30 pm will be a good rendezvous time.
By popular request John has uploaded a map of the route where you can scroll around or zoom in and out, and a gpx file that you can download to your navigation device.
Please let John know if you plan to come.
Stop press: The overnight weather forecast for 20-21 June shows little chance of rain after early evening on the 20th and unusually high overnight temperatures. See https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/gcneps190#?date=2018-06-21 (Other weather forecasting software is available.) Choose your clothing accordingly; John will be bringing an extra layer, and a lightweight waterproof.
About Saturday and Wednesday rides
Rides from Havant with stops for elevenses, lunch and sometimes tea. If you're unable to keep up or have a mechanical problem, someone will be available to help you - although we obviously cannot guarantee to solve all problems.
Riders are free to join and leave the ride at various points. Some ride directly to the elevenses stop.
Click either heading below to find out more about Wednesday and Saturday rides:
Wednesday rides are the largest of our rides and can provide a range of options to riders. We often split into multiple groups at the start, for example:
- A fast group that takes a longer and/or hillier route to the elevenses stop
- A ride which takes a more direct route to the elevenses stop at a moderate pace
- An elevenses ride comprised of riders going only to elevenses; the elevenses ride will have its own ride leader and might go to a different destination if the route to the main elevenses destination is long and/or hilly
On Wednesdays it is highly likely that there will be several riders coming back to the Havant area from the elevenses stop - although they might not include a PCTC ride leader. If that is what you'd like to do, please consult the ride leader at the start to ensure someone knows and is able to bring you back.
In addition, some rides split after elevenses to go at different paces or to alternate destinations. These are usually announced during the ride briefing. Please ask if you are unsure about the options available.
Saturday rides are (usually) much smaller than Wednesday rides. As a result they offer fewer options for rides but more flexibility for routes and destinations.
The rides are often shown as 'informal' meaning there is no prescribed ride leader. Unless weather is particularly adverse, however, they always go ahead at the stated time and start point. We try to keep to the suggested elevenses destination to allow for people who want to ride directly there.
The lunch destination does change occasionally but we will always take views of riders into account. In particular, if you join a ride because you think you can manage the distance/hilliness, we would not substitute an alternative if it meant you couldn't join the ride.
If you want to ride with us but only to elevenses and need someone to help you with the route back, please use our general enquiry form to let us know in advance of the ride so we can try to arrange something for you.
This article describes what you should consider bringing with you on one of these rides.