Got going nice and early in the morning on my ‘Towers and Spires’ bike ride based on the brochure Lyn gave me several days ago. The entire route cover 12 churches on a 42-mile circuit, but I’m only planning on doing the northeast part.
I rode first to the canal (of course) and left it at Dunhampstead, where I took the road southeast. There’s not much traffic on the road and it’s nice and smooth, and winds past lots of trees and hay fields. There was supposed to be a church at Huddington but I couldn’t find any signs or see any spires so I continued on to Grafton Flyford.
You have to go a few km up another side road to get there, but at least they had signs so I managed to find the church. It has a late medieval timber bell frame and apparently there are two recently restored 16th-century paintings showing the symbols of St. Mark and St. John, although the door was locked so I couldn’t take a peek at them.
I back-tracked to the ‘main’ road and headed northeast past Stock Green and on to Bradley Green. Just as I was turning onto the church road (again, good signage) there was a local cycling club going for a ride in the other direction – there must have been 15 or 20 of them and they said hi to me as I turned down the lane.
Same as the church at Grafton Flyford this one is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It’s a Victorian successor to an earlier medieval chapel, and has the ‘Bromsgrove Guild’ west rose window which is the memorial to the men of the parish killed in the First Word War.
When leaving the church I took a moment to visit the cows in the field next door – the farmer had delivered a load of hay to them while I was walking around the church.
The cows were several different colours, and there were some really cute babies, as well as some young bulls. Some of them looked at me like they might run over – maybe they thought I had another load of hay for them.
I back-tracked a bit again so that instead of going all the way north and then west to see Hanbury Church I cut across and went west and a bit south to Himbleton. Partway along there was another road that joined it – there was water running over the side road, and a sign that said ‘slippery’. I walked the bike down to take a photo and the whole road was covered in algae – I guess it’s almost always under water for some reason. It seems like maybe they could use a bridge or something.
When I reached Himbleton I took a short ride up the wrong hill but then I got my bearings and found the sign down a side lane to the church, which is dedicated to St. Mary Magdeline.
When I went to leave the church I noticed that my front tire was a bit low – it had gone very low several days ago after sitting in the sun for a couple of days when I first got to Worcester, but after pumping it up it seemed ok. As long as I topped it up a bit with air every day I’d had no problem riding on the trails or up/down the canal.
I pumped the tire up before leaving the churchyard and made it back to the canal and just past Tibberton when I noticed that it had now gone completely flat. I was right near the lock that has the house at it, so coasted there are pulled off the path. The man that lives in the house came up and asked if I wanted to use his pump, but it wouldn’t have made any difference. Even tho I had tools and a spare inner tube in my pannier I didn’t want to try changing it in case I did something wrong, so I just tried inflating it again and got back on.
I barely got 100 metres and it was flat again, so I ended up walking the last 4 km or so back to the house. Walking a bike that far sucks, but it was a lot better than having a flat at the mid-point of my ride in the middle of nowhere. I had ridden just over 38 km when the flat occurred, so it could have been a much longer walk.