Ricky Recon

When I plotted the route for my original solo Gnarbital, I used a long stretch of canal tow path and rail trail to get from Uxbridge all the way to past Watford.  An easy option that made sense for that ride, but maybe not so much for the upcoming Cranks Gnarbital… 

The original was ridden on a weekday,  and I knew I was going to hit that section during the evening rush.  Plus I had the daft idea of going all the way around in one day and wanted to cap the total distance at 250km.  So a traffic free, direct and flat route through that section of the ride appealed.  But it was all very samey, and a dull and tedious 30km to ride.   Not only that but it cut off the M25’s Abbots Langley bulge, which rather made it feel like I was shortcutting.  It was the first bit I thought I’d change if I were doing it again.

For the Cranks Gnarbital we have fewer constraints.  We’ll have two days to get around and we’ll be riding at the weekend, when there’ll be no rush hour traffic but potentially more people out walking along the tow path.  Let’s take the opportunity then to stick closer to the M25, I thought.

Over the winter I plotted a new route through that section that looked great on the OS map, and last week I went out to test it.  Sadly it just reminded me that the presence of a right of way on a map is no guarantee it’ll be passable on the ground.  One bridleway had been deliberately blocked using heavy machinery to knock over trees and create earth banks, and another had been stopped up for HS2 construction.  Without those bits there was too much road to make leaving the tow path worthwhile, so back to the OS maps…

Yesterday I went back out scouting various options in and around Rickmansworth and I think I’ve come up with a bit of a winner.  We’ll take a mix of bridleways, farm tracks, and lanes (and a short bit of another tow path), go through woods and over open ground, before rejoining the original route further round.  It also now stays even closer to the motorway which, afterall, was the inspiration for the ride.  I’m now pleased with the way as it’s worked out.  I hope you will be too.

Next up, the section past Heathrow..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.