8 brilliant local bike rides (and a tribute)
My village recently lost two much-loved members of its cycling community. In tribute, here are 3 of their favourite rides - plus 5 others right across Bucks and Oxon.
This one is dedicated to Damien Natale and Andy Coles, two mainstays of my village Haddenham’s cycling community, who we tragically lost recently in an appalling road accident. The two much-loved locals went on a bike ride together and didn’t come back. Co-founders of cycling events company Allez Sportives, and organisers of annual cancer charity ride Circuitto del Caffe (which runs between two NORSK and Little Italy Espresso Bar cafés), they will be hugely missed.
In tribute, we’d like to share three of Damien and Andy’s favourite local biking routes, courtesy of their cycling group Haddenham Hillbillies, complete with pit-stops for the hungry. Enjoy – and please be careful out there.
1. Turville Heath and The Barn Cafe
This ‘no car cafe‘ was Andy’s favourite hidden away gem, which is perfectly placed halfway round the route. It’s especially well received you do the route clockwise, as it comes at the end of a long climb up from Fingest and Turville. Cake comes as mandatory, great slabs of it. See the route here, 37 miles/60k.
2. Quainton and The George and Dragon
One of Damien’s favourites, this pub serves great sausage rolls and was a popular stop on many routes when 40 miles had been completed, leaving just 12 – 15 miles home depending which way you went. This route is shorter and ideal for the ‘let’s go for a nice weekend ride’ cyclists. See the route here, 27 miles/43k.
3. Benson and The Waterfront Café
Loved by both – and probably most cyclists in the area. A perfect Sunday ride with a climb into the Chilterns, followed by a long descent to Benson and then a gentle flat ride home. The Thames and the awesomely quick service at The Waterfront Café make this a perfect stop – and the millionaire’s shortbread just adds a finishing touch. See the route here, 40 miles/64k.
Not near you? Here are 5 other brilliant bike rides (plus refreshments) across other parts of Bucks and Oxon…
Hambleden Weir Loop, Henley
This intermediate ride starts at Henley train station and takes you along Hambleden Weir and the beautiful Dolesden Lane. Suggested stops include The Flower Pot Hotel, Henley and The Fox and Hounds at Christmas Common. See the route here, 26.5 miles/42.6k.
Charlbury and Kingham Loop
A picturesque, intermediate ride that takes you through all the best sites of Kingham and Charlbury, including St. Nicholas Church and Wychwood. Stop for a refresher at Charlbury Cafe and Deli or The Kingham Plough. See the route here, 25.4 miles/41k.
An easy ride for a weekend, this route starts in the city centre and takes you out through Headington and Straight Mile Road to some picture-pretty countryside. Get your caffeine fix at the cafe at New Ground Coffee, Headington on your way out (or as you come back in). See the route here, 25.4 miles/41k.
Princes Risborough to Wheatley Loop
This lengthy loop straddles the Bucks/Oxon border, and is best suited to intermediate riders – especially as there are some steeper hills. Stops along the way include the Tea Room at Hartwell Nurseries and Clifden Arms in Worminghall (lovely beer garden). See the route here, 46 miles/74k.
Chalfont St Giles loop
You can’t get more handy than a route than starts and ends at a pub – namely, The White Hart in Chalfont St Giles. If you’d rather a pit stop on the way, this intermediate loop takes you via the pretty pub garden of The Squirrel in Amersham. See the route here, 15 miles/25.4k.