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For some reason or another I couldn’t get my head around a road ride again today.. I think it stems from my recent trip to France and the wonderful scenery, climbs and empty but very wide and smooth roads.  It seems so second rate here after that with the poor surfaces and volume of traffic that we have.  I have been spoiled.

Anyway I saw my Kona Kula mountain bike languishing in the garage and thought I would take it out for a trip.  There is quite a good route I can do from my home over tracks and trails with very little road riding involved.  I follow the route of the Three Shires Way from Olney and as far as Three Shires Wood just the other side of Lavendon.

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The ‘Three Shires’ refer to the three counties of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire which the rout runs through.  Starting from Tathall End just north of Milton Keynes and running for 37 miles to Graffham Water in Cambridgeshire, pretty much all of it off road but not made up tracks it follows old bridle paths which were originally for horse traffic and they are the main users of the trail now.  They make it pretty rough and bumpy too.  When its wet and muddy they leave great big hoof marks in the ground that take forever to disappear and give you a good shaking up on the bike.

Typical Three Shires Way Terrain

Once I left the Three Shires Way after passing through Three Shires wood I was still on similar terrain but just an ordinary bridle path typical of those that criss-cross our countryside.

I made my way down towards Harrold and there I joined a road for about a mile and half then off road again for a couple of miles to Cold Brayfield, crossed the main Northampton to Bedford road there and across country again via  a river crossing  to Newton Blossomville, a bit more road and then cross country all the way back towards Olney.  At one stage following the route of the old Bedford to Northampton railway line to Clifton Reynes and dropping down the hill and over the River Ouse and across the meadows and into Olney.

It was about 15 miles of pleasant riding and I didnt see a soul except when I was on the road bits.  It made a nice change and just fitted the bill for today.

PS: If you read the Garmin data ignore the temperatures.. it wasn’t that hot I just had the Garmin my pocket.. 😉