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SOTA Cycling


I intend activating Long Mountain/Beacon Ring by bike tomorrow (Saturday 26th). I will be starting from Shrewsbury Railway Station. If anyone fancies joining me just say. Not going very fast; average 13-16 mph.

73 Richard G3CWI


In reply to G3CWI:
Hi Richard,

A pleasant route, I think, enjoy. I haven’t ridden a bike for years, but it is a tempting thought!

Your post made me reflect that there are probably a number of summits in GW/MW and G/WB that could reasonably be activated by train / cycle. There are stations in Wellington, Shrewsbury, Church Stretton, Craven Arms and Ludlow, to name a few. There are also ways up several of the hills without taking the obvious - and often steep - walking routes.

I dare say that you have already been there, done that, but I’m sharing my thoughts with your thread, in case others are tempted…



Boy was it hot!

I cycled to Wilmslow to catch the 0846 to Shrewsbury. I used the main road. It does have a parallel cycle path but as it’s shared with pedestrians, many of whom jog with earphones in and dogs alongside, it’s far safer to stay with the cars. Sadly very little UK cycling infrastructure is suitable for cyclists who travel at more than 10mph. I took it easy. 9.3 miles 16.9mph.

The train was on time and I enjoyed a restful ride to Shrewsbury. At the station I turned on the satnav and set off. For some reason the satnav was playing up and it was a while before I started getting the turn information. I was using automatic routing and it led me all wrong. One section was a footpath across fields. I was happy to push the bike but had to negotiate no less than three electric fences (and a stile) - only to find the footpath was impassable further on. Thus I had to negotiate the fences and stile again. I will be emailing the local Footpaths Officer about this. A few more wrong turns and I began to realise what the problem was - the satnav did not actually know where Long Mountain was. I ended up asking people and eventually got back on the route. It’s a long ascent. Not that steep but it goes on for 10km. My main problem was hydration. I was carrying 3.5 litres of water/rehydration fluid and I was sweating it out at a huge rate. Eventually I got to the top. 24.4 miles 11.2mph.

I have been to Long Mountain a few times but have never had the time (or inclination) to explore. This time I decided to have a look around. I was pleasantly surprised to find a picnic table and bench on the other side of Beacon Ring - with a magnificent view of the Welsh Borders. Perfect.

For the radio part of the trip I had the 3 band MTR, a 4.1m pole and a 3 band trap dipole for 30-20-17m. The bands were in poor shape, only 20m proving particularly fruitful with 11 contacts. To that I added one QSO on 17m and none on 30m. It was incredibly hot in the sun and it was tempting to drink all my remaining water but I left 750ml for the return trip. My legs and arms were covered in dead flies picked up on the ride up and stuck in my suntan cream: nice. Lunch was a large packet of honey roasted cashew nuts.

Not wishing to miss my return train I switched on the satnav. To my horror it was predicting an ETA at Shrewsbury station of 15:37. Given that the train was at 15:49 this was cutting it a bit fine. I packed up in 4 minutes and set off. I had to take it easy down the track to the radio station but as soon as I hit the road I adopted an aero position (as aero as I could get with all the stuff I had with me anyway) and accelerated. The ETA on the satnav started to fall nicely. The main road to Shewsbury was smooth and undulating and I flew along at nearly full power all the way. I arrived at Shrewsbury Station at 15:05 having smashed my PB for 10 miles by 12 seconds (ave 21mph). Overall 16.8 miles, 19.1mph.

I had time to buy some water and a soft drink before the train arrived.
At Wilmslow Station I then just had to cycle home. This time I went the pretty way, slowly. 7.4 miles 13.2mph.

Overall about 58 miles cycled (~100km). 322 calories per QSO.

At home I had two pints of rehydration fluid and two dinners!

Rest day today I think.

[Useless fact: 21 mph = 33.8 km/hr. Chris Froome averaged 40.5 km/hr over the entire Tour de France course in 2013. He clearly has a better bike than I do…]


In reply to G3CWI:
33.8 average is a great effort Richard I think. The winner of the time trial in Tour de France yesterday averaged 48.8 km/hr but he’s on more than cashews.
My activation Saturday never gave me any dx cw chasers on the higher bands that’s the first time this year. No bike SOTA just a scramble up about 250m of hill face through rocks and bush, but a short bike ride Sunday morning to sort the legs out from my activating and hike, scramble, bush bash.
73 de Ian vk5cz …