Text: Ben Keeley
Pictures: Ben Keeley
Riders: Ben Keeley, Simon Light, Jackson Barnes, Paul Dunne, Robbie Ferri
Crossing 7 counties (Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire) 5 adventurous Velouse flyers set off from Knettishall Heath to reach Aylesbury. Of course they wanted to make it a challenge and enjoy some spectacular scenery along the way, so they decided to plot the route to follow the entire Icknield Way Trail from Knetishall to Ivinghoe Beacon, most of which is off-road terrain.
The Icknield Way Trail follows bridleways, byways and where necessary roads, passing along an ancient chalk ridge but there is a variety of landscapes to view including flat fenland and rolling chalk download, as well as picturesque villages and ancient beech woodland.
The route was extremely scenic and mostly traffic free, passing a few hikers, only a handful of other cyclists and even a horse and cart on the return journey. They took the sandy tracks leaving the south Brecklands around Euston and then through Kings Forest. Passed a Dalham Estate, Chilford Hall Estate and took a lunch stop at Linton on both the outward and return journeys.
Following the ancient track we rode through ploughed fields, meadows, crossing stiles, bridges, and fields of overgrown stinging nettles, the flyers arrived at the Luton tarmacked cycleway where it became somewhat easier after that.
After 180km they reached the Dunstable Downs and then around Whipsnade Zoo before ending their ride at Ivinghoe Beacon.
Two of the Flyers rode back home retracing much of their route along the Icknield Way trail too.