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Going round in circles

Boost your cycle rides with places of interest 

Unless 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.

Records breaker

Decommissioned 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 motorbike!

These 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.


Cycle sightseeing

As 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.


Created On  2 May 2017 14:56  -  Permalink


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