I’ve not been as good as I should be about getting on the bike, but yesterday I did get further than I had before along National Route 41.
Most times, I’ve just ridden to Draycote Water and back – with perhaps a circuit of the reservoir. I have been up to Birdingbury once or twice, but when I saw that the next bit was uphill, I turned tail and headed back.
However, seeing that Long Itchington has six pubs, I resolved to make it there and back before dusk – leaving the house at half-past four meant I had two hours each way and not a lot left for refreshments.
Turns out that the hill after Birdingbury is pretty easy going, and after that you drop out onto the Grand Union Canal just where it meets the A426 at the Boat Inn, by Stockton. from there it’s a stepped downhill ride to Long Itchington – the steps being the many locks that must frustrate the barge pilots. As it was a warm sunny day, and the towpath is narrow in places, I had to take care to look out for pedestrians and their dogs.
I reached my target in good time, and decided to head back for a pint at the Blue Lias, which is about a half-mile along the canal back towards Stockton. The reason was that I didn’t fancy cycling around Long Itchington, and I’d already been to the Two Boats a few weeks ago.
A refreshing pint of Adnams later, I was ready for the cycle back, relishing the long downward slope into Birdingbury and the cool breeze off of Draycote Water.
It’s only about 10 miles from Rugby to Long Itchington, and along the way there are some great views of the countryside.