The exact route for the 2022 GWR will be confirmed much nearer the time (around May/June 2022) but, having made a few changes in 2021 that received an overwhelmingly positive response, it's highly likely that the route will be very similar in 2022.
And, once again, we'll be aiming to offer EIGHT possible routes & distances to choose from - so, while they are very much provisional at this stage, the description and the links below should give you a good idea of the challenges that await at the GWR.
The Ride starts at the Park & Ride near Long Ashton, in south-west Bristol (just off the A370).
Riders then head out through Long Ashton on a nice, flat stretch to get the legs going, before turning towards Barrow Gurney and the first little uphill section of the day.
Or, if you fancy an extra bit of climbing and want to get the blood pumping straightaway, this is where you'll find the first of the GWR's three optional sections - a steepish climb followed by a fast, twisty descent.
Once through Barrow Gurney, the route turns right at traffic lights and follows the A38 for a very short distance (c. 700 metres), before then heading through Winford and up towards Chew Valley Lake.
The route skirts the lake on a lovely stretch of road before then turning towards Blagdon and on to the magnificent Burrington Combe.
Passing the Rock of Ages, where the Rev. Toplady is reputed to have written his famous hymn, riders face possibly the most challenging stretch of the Ride - ascending the Combe. It's about 2.5 miles of steady uphill riding, but at c. 5-6% gradient (1 in 20 or so in old money) it should be manageable for most people. But whether on bike or on foot, it's definitely worth the effort!
Once at the top of the Combe, there's a nice, flat(ish) stretch along the top of the Mendips as the route makes its way to the halfway point near the village of Priddy, and this is where riders will encounter some fabulous panoramic views and also the big descent of the day - a lovely but quite narrow 1.5-mile downhill section that just requires sensible and careful riding.
However, if you're in desperate need of an additional significant climb this is where you'll find the second optional section - comprising another fast descent followed by a 3-mile climb of the iconic Cheddar Gorge. This is recommended for experienced riders only.
From here, the route continues on the Somerset Levels and heads towards Wedmore via some wonderful, quiet country lanes.
And here's where you'll find the third and final optional section - a flat-ish 6-mile stretch that will introduce you to even more of the wonderful Levels.
After Wedmore, the route continues to explore more of the very quiet lanes of the Somerset Levels before heading north to skirt around Burnham-on-Sea and on up towards Berrow, where it then turns east for six miles of yet more wonderful, quiet country lanes prior to entering the final straight towards Weston.
The route joins the A370 briefly on the approach into Weston, it then passes through Uphill and the Ride finally finishes on the Beach Lawns just behind Weston's lovely seafront, where friends, family and other well-wishers will be gathered to help riders celebrate their achievement!
NB we reserve the right to amend or withdraw the optional sections of the route if we anticipate particularly inclement weather or any other unfavourable conditions that might adversely impact safety and enjoyment on the day.