MTB Nat Rt 4 Walton on Thames to Reading 3rd Feb.

Three riders met on a very cold (-2c) morning to explore the first section of the route to be used on the London to Cardiff MTB ride in June.

Bill Martin and Dave Repson parked at Walton on Thames and cycled Route 4 on the north side of the Thames past Chertsey Lock into Staines.

After crossing Staines  Bridge they climbed Coopers Hill to meet me at the top, the meeting point being at the Air Force Memorial, Runnymede.

I’d left home an hour before slipping and sliding my way across Ascot Racecourse and Windsor Great Park from the other direction to meet them.

Bill and Dave found me sitting on a bench in the grounds of the memorial trying my best to pick up any heat from the bright but weak sunshine.

After paying our respects at the memorial we headed out across Windsor Great Park to descend into Windsor on Thames. Bill and Dave soon discovered that Berkshire had got significantly more snow on the previous Thursday than the south of London. It was extremely slippery in some places due to Saturday’s thaw as the water had been flash frozen overnight in -4c temperature into rock hard ‘glass like’ ice flows.

We cycled our way carefully through the backstreets of Windsor and picked up the Thames and headed for Dorney.

A minor detour allowed for a nice view of the Elton Dorney Rowing lakes used in the Olympic Games and then a lunch stop was needed.

Living locally I led them to a nice warm cafe at Dorney Court where some very nice sausage sandwiches and tea were consumed.

After lunch we crossed the Thames once again and headed through Bray to Maidenhead following Route 4 all the way. Maidenhead was busy, but Route 4 ‘Iggy Wiggies’ its way west through the residential areas until you cross over the Great Western Railway line just north of White Waltham Airfield heading towards Knowle Hill.

After crossing the A4 Bath Road at Knowle Hill Route 4 takes you on a bridleway climb of the very aptly named ‘Crazies Hill.’ The  route has you climb up and do two sides of a triangle just to drop you back down in Wargrave some two miles west of where you started the climb!

We concluded it was to keep cyclists away from the A4 and let them enjoy the scenery as they huffed and puffed up the climb. The climb was slippery, snow covered and difficult but alas we knew it would be dry and in much better shape in June. (We hope!)

After dropping back down a very snow covered and treacherous lane into the back of Wargrave we were back on the A4/Route 4 cycle path and heading for Reading. The route follows the main road until the outskirts of Reading where it dives down under a closed road railway bridge taking you into Thames Valley Park to ride once again along the Thames.

At Kennet Mouth we said Goodbye for now to Route 4 which goes under the railway and heads west through Reading for us to use a simpler route to the railway station and home. We parked ourselves at Costa Coffee in the station and warmed ourselves up with tea, coffee etc and then caught the train home. For me a relatively short journey to Martins Heron and a two mile cycle journey to home, for Bill and Dave around five miles from Staines on road to pick up the parked van and home.

Paul @ 43 miles.

Bill & Dave @ 52 miles.

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