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. Average speed is 11-
If you'd prefer not to do the full day ride, you're welcome to join us as far as the elevenses stop and come back from there. Please make sure the ride leader knows that's what you intend to do so we can make sure someone is available to come back with you.
Larger rides split into multiple groups:
- A fast group that takes a longer and/or hillier route to the elevenses stop
- The rest of the main ride which takes a more direct route to the elevenses stop
- 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
The rides are informal and riders are free to join and leave the ride at various points. Some ride directly to the elevenses stop.
This article describes what you should consider bringing with you.