Sunday, 28 March 2010

Iffley & Radley

The weather forecast for Saturday was better than the forecast for Sunday, so I chose yesterday for my long ride, and two more churches for the destination. It turned out that the weather wasn't too bad for March. I got caught in a few showers, but only one that was heavy.

Both of the churches that I visited are fairly old. St Mary the Virgin at Iffley (in Oxford) dates from 1170, and St James the Great at Radley (near Abingdon) dates from 1290.

St Mary the Virgin, Iffley
Iffley is the more famous of the two, as an example of Romanesque architecture. I particularly like the beak carvings around the door. Pictures of the whole building always look distorted, to my eyes at least. It seems too tall and narrow, but that's also how it looks in reality. They built churches that way in those days - without side aisles.

I hadn't visited Radley before, but it's another nice building, noted for four massive wooden posts supporting the roof. I suspect that I'm doing someone an injustice here, but Radley is also the first church I can recall from my cycling trips that has provided bicycle stands.

The round trip came to just over 75 miles. I got a bit lost coming into Oxford, but otherwise everything went to plan. For once I had even estimated the journey fairly accurately beforehand, so I made an early start and I wasn't too late getting home. Because of the distance I tried to save time by not doing as much riding as usual on the quiet back roads. That meant quite a lot of traffic on some stretches, but on the whole the roads were pretty quiet. It was a long haul though, with some fairly demanding hills over Christmas Common on the way out, and then the climb between Wallingford and Nettlebed on the way back. It's a lovely long fast drop down from Nettlebed to Henley, but there's a price to pay on the way up.

There were a lot of other cyclists out - some club runs, and some individuals - with a particularly large number in the Christmas Common area. Most of them looked pretty serious. However, there were also a few who looked as though they were finding the hills bit of a challenge. I suspect that I'm not the only one who is suffering the after-effects this morning.

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