Cycling in Somerset

When the magazine rang me up to say ‘Guess What? you’ve won the prize.’ I didn’t actually know what she was talking about. I had totally forgotten about entering a competition and I had to feign excitement as the idea of winning three nights mid week at the end of April in a B&B somewhere down south didn’t really appeal to me and I just thought, this is going to cost me a lot of money and at the end of April, it’s not going to be great weather and ‘Who am I going to take with me?’

The previous year at the Bike Show I subscribed to a cycle touring magazine, it was on offer. It was the last day of the show and the chap who was selling me the subscription threw in a ‘Hardnutz’ helmet as well as all of the other freebies that they were giving away with the subscription. He was just trying to get rid of stuff so that he wouldn’t have to take it all back with him. My friend Maryam, was next to me, she was unsure as to whether to subscribe, eventually she did and as well as getting all of the usual freebies the chap threw in a Scicon Bicycle Travel bag which was worth a few hundred quid; which Maryam went onto flog on eBay. Obviously I was pleased for Maryam that she got such a nice freebie but at the same time I was a bit miffed that all I got was a helmet whereas she got a really nice and expensive bicycle bag.

So the competition was in this Cycle touring magazine. It was one of those really easy competitions where they had the answer in the description. The woman from the cycling magazine gave me the contact details of the B&B so that I could book my three nights. I rang up the owner of the BnB and then found out that I had actually won three nights in an Air BnB, which had 5 bedrooms, a couple of living rooms, a kitchen and it’s very own 36 seater cinema attached. The place had the capacity for at least 15 people. It was usually booked by large groups. The house had actually been on one of Kirstie Allsop’s TV shows.

So, although Maryam got the more expensive gift when signing up to the magazine. I was really chuffed that I’d actually won this prize; a prize that I could actually share with friends, including Maryam.

The accommodation was in Axbridge, Somerset. So we were able to cycle to Wells, Burnam on Sea and the absolutely spectacular Cheddar Gorge. We were actually on the Strawberry Line, which is a Sustrans cycle route. the owners wanted to get more cyclists using the accommodation. They thought that it would be ideal for cyclists hence why they put it in a competition in this Cycle touring magazine.

I cycled there and back stopping off at Longleat and Stonehenge on the way home. I discovered that Stonehenge definitely isn’t the particularly cycle friendly and I got a lot of stares when I was sat outside the visitors centre scoffing an alfresco tuna baguette with my bicycle.

By Susan Doram

I am passionate about cycling and enjoy encouraging others to ride their bicycles. I am a cycle coach and founder member and chair for Leicester Women's Velo and Founder member and club secretary for Ride on Sistas. I love to encourage others to get active. I am an award wining personal trainer and one of Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling 2019. I've been on numerous cycle tours and have encouraged others to join me. Part of my cycle touring experience has included cycling around the world for just over 2 1/2 years.

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