Sunday, 6 September 2009

Harding Route

The OSM map for Thame is a bit thin, and my original plan for yesterday's ride had been to cycle there, do a bit of mapping, and cycle home again. But when I realised that someone else is actively working on the town I thought I should find somewhere else. I settled on Amersham, which is a decent ride away, and the starting point for three local cycle routes that I haven't tried yet.

I didn't stay long in Amersham, setting off to ride the "Harding Route". This is named after Thomas Harding, a 16th century religious dissident and martyr. He was a follower of Wycliffe, or a "Lollard" who was sentenced to be burned for his religious beliefs and so tied to a stake at Chesham. Apparently, the priests told people that if they brought wood to burn heretics they would have an indulgence to commit sins for forty days. Once they had lit the fire, someone beat his brains out with a stick.

Happy times.

Anyway, the Harding Route is one of three 25 mile "Heritage" rides around Amersham. This one runs to the north and east. I think they were set up as a millenium project, and they seem to have been well thought out. Certainly this one goes through some nice countryside, and some pretty villages. It's towards the "strenuous" end of my normal range, which means it's hilly enough to be interesting, and then some. Combined with a few tough climbs on the way out to Amersham and the same coming back, I ended up covering just over 60 miles, and by the time I got home I certainly knew I had been for a ride.

The route is reasonably well signed, though some of them are a bit hard to spot. I had to retrace my path a couple of times, and I know I drifted off it at one point. I'm still not sure which bits I followed accurately. As far as I can tell, all the roads I followed are already on Open Street Map, but the cycle route is not marked as such on the map. It shouldn't be too difficult to add it - but I think it's going to need at least one more circuit to be confident of getting it right. Meanwhile the official map is here.

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