Next Ride, the 600km Brian Chapman Memorial

12 05 2010

Brian Chapman was by all accounts a slightly miserable cyclist who lived in Bristol and rode a bike made in or around Menai, North Wales. When ever he needed work doing on the bike he would cycle from Bristol across Wales to Meni to see the frame builder, and then cycle back again. He died a number of years ago of cancer and the Brian Chapman Memorial ride was born.

The ride starts just over the Seven River from Bristol in Chepstow and weaves it’s way through Wales up to the Menai Bridge before heading south again to arrive back in Chepstow some 600km (372 miles) later. As with all Audax rides there are time constants, for this ride no faster than 20 hours, no slower than 40.

I first heard of this ride some 4 or 5 years ago when attempting a 200km Audax with Simon. People on the ride were telling us about their friends riding across Wales that weekend, some 600km, I could not believe that it was possible. By the way it was also on that Audax that I was first inspired to ride a fixed gear bike (another story.) Roll forward a few years to 2009 and I found myself at the start in Chepstow at 6am on my fix gear looking North, and totally confidant that I’d finish in good time.

I did not finish, I bonked big style at the top of the Elan Valley reservoirs whist cycling into a headwind and torrential rain. It seems that riding fixed with a lot of luggage was just too much for me. I limped it to Mchynlleth and quite happy climbed on a train bound for Birmingham and home. I’d managed 240km of the 600km. Wales had beaten me good and proper!

So I’m going back again this year to have another go over the 15th -16th May. I’m a little bit wiser, better prepared (I hope) and stronger. I’m also taking gears, so I can enjoy the long downhill sections. So when your running from another shower this weekend, or flicking the heating back on, spare a thought for those poor silly soles crossing Wales twice on their bikes.

But then again if I’m digging for sympathy, this weekend a mountain biker, Richard Holes, will be attempting to cycling from Cardiff to Caernathon some 204 miles of-road in under 22 hours! Now that’s a tough ride! And if I ever get a suitable mountain bike, that’s where all these long rode rides will take me, back to where I really enjoy riding a bike.




5 responses

12 05 2010

I’m just looking at that route and thinking owch.

The NCR8 runs along a very similar route. I was looking at riding the NCR8 over 2 days, so that route you’ve shown would embarassingly take me 4 days!

12 05 2010

When your knees are back up to speed I reckon could do that route in two days. It would just be more enjoyable over 4.

13 05 2010

I was hearing a lot about this ride when I did a 300km audax earlier in the year. Enjoy, I now want to do a 600!

13 05 2010

It’s a long way 600km, but such an adventure!

17 06 2010

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