|Boost your cycle rides with places of interest
you're on a pedalling tour or weekend break, leisure rides will inevitably
finish from where you started. Although the process of turning the pedals and
enjoying the freedom and fresh air are undoubtedly sufficient reasons in
themselves to be cheerful, such journeys can be made even more interesting by
visiting places en route – especially if you do your research, according to
Sigma author and this week’s guest blogger Dave Hancock. On group rides, a cafe
or pub will often be the choice for a mid-ride break. Lone and paired cyclists
can be more adventurous – a castle, viewpoint or beach, perhaps.
A French ace
Ride 1 - Oswestry old mills and bridges - in my book More Cycles Rides in Shropshire is a 20-mile route to the east of Oswestry which takes in the old perimeter road of Rednal airfield. A former RAF base, the airfield is on a large plateau. The Discovering Shropshire's History website has considerable information about the site of the former RAF Rednal, including that it was an Operational Training Unit from April 1942. Spitfires and Miles Master aircraft were used at Rednal and, sadly, there were many accidents, with pilots killed. According to the website, the French fighter ace, Pierre "Clo Clo" Clostermann, trained at Rednal. He went on to claim 33 "kills" (a number that has often been refuted) and died in 2006 at the age of 85.
in 1945 and then sold in 1962, Rednal airfield now hosts a variety of different
activities. There are many industrial units and workshops, some located in old
hangars. Unusual activities to have taken place there include the testing of
airships (global balloonist Per Lindstrand has a base in nearby Oswestry) and
the setting of three world records by Jason Rennie for jumping trucks on a
days the popular pursuits at Rednal include karting on a specially built track,
paintballing based around the old WWII control tower and, in the same area,
outdoor laser shooting parties. The site also hosts a large Volkswagen camper
van festival each year and is used as a timed test on an historic car rally.
well as watching the activities, it's also worth taking in the scenery as the
plateau, although not high above sea level, offers good panoramic views. One
drawback, depending on which direction you're pedalling in, is the strong
headwind on the short section of road parallel to the main runway. At least
overcoming it is a good excuse to stop for refreshments at Canal Central
teashop further along this ride.