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Colin Ward

Welcome to my tour page


Where am I going in 2024?

Isle of Wight

In May I'm planning another visit to the Isle of Wight.
 The group will meet up at a hotel on the mainland before riding south through Hayling Island on the traffic-free Billy Trail (the track of an old Victorian tramway). We make the short crossing to Portsea Island on the little Hayling ferry and then follow the sea-front to catch the bigger ferry across the Solent. The Isle of Wight will be explored in a series of day rides from our cliff-top hotel base. The Isle of Wight is like a chunk of the South Downs that has been sawn off and shoved out into the English Channel, so climbs over 300ft hills feature on most routes. Cycle paths mostly follow the routes of disused railways which were built along river valleys.



I'm planning a week's single base holiday in the Normandy region of France in July. We will be crossing the channel from Portsmouth to Caen – Ouistreham, carrying our own luggage, and staying in the Bayeux area. The surrounding countryside will be explored in a series of day rides.
The coast is famous for its D-Day landing Beaches and there are many museums and monuments that we can visit. At Arromanches, the remains of the Mulberry harbour can still be seen. The French have kept the memory of the liberation alive with WWII Heroes photo-banners lining every sea-front and new museums being built to this day.
But WWII sites are not the only attraction in this part of France. Many of the country roads are very little used by motor vehicles and are perfect for cycling. There is a cycle route that follows the coast, providing clifftop rides where the wind and the skylark's song are the only sounds to be heard. The nearby Marshland National Park is a great bird-watching area.
The ancient city of Bayeux is the home of the famous tapestry and cathedral. Medieval streets, gardens, parks, the riverside and markets are there to discover. The city also has a railway station so it would be possible to extend our cycling range by taking our bikes on the train. The towns of St Lo, Carentan and Cherbourg are all within reach.

My experience and style

What to expect

Who am I?
One of my favourite activities is getting out on my bike to discover cycle routes that are new to me. The quieter and more rural they are the better I like them. When it's cold, dark and slippery, I like to spend time at home studying maps and guide books and computer based resources like street-view and RidewithGPS. Being a tour leader gives me the opportunity to share my discoveries with other cyclists
I am a former Royal Navy Artificer and Primary School Teacher. I'm married with grown-up daughters and young grandchildren. When I'm not out cycling, I'm an active member of my local Lions Club.
My tour leading style
Before a tour I send all participants the following:
·      links to the routes on RidewithGPS (can be read on Smart Phones and I-phones)
·      files to load onto GPS devices including .gpx, .fit and .tcx
·      PDF maps, elevation profiles and cue sheets to print (useful if you don't have a GPS device)
Being in possession of these resources means that those who want to travel faster than the group can go on ahead and those who want to take their time can catch up later. Having said all that, I usually lead from the front at about 12mph and most cyclists like to follow me. We have plenty of stops for coffee, lunch, tea and to admire the landscapes, seascapes, buildings of interest etc. Some riders are avid BCQ hunters and routes can be adjusted or detours suggested to take these in.
The roads we take
I will always take country lanes in preference to main roads. I like cycle paths (there are a few of these on the Isle of Wight) but I prefer those with a smooth surface to the ones covered in gravel. Sometimes gravel is unavoidable so it's a good idea to have puncture resistant tyres. Marked cycle routes (like Sustrans) are often useful but only if they take us fairly directly to where we want to go.
The places we stay
I have planned and led a number of camping tours. I have a very sturdy tent made in Sweden to withstand the worst weather and I like to cook over my little twig-burning stove. I have also organised some tours with hostel accommodation and a communal kitchen. But, in recent times, I have come to appreciate the comforts of a nice hotel.
Where do I go?
In 2022 I will probably be sticking to the UK but I intend to take a tour to France in 2023 where I have covered some very enjoyable kilometres. France appeals to me because I like the food, wine and countryside

Where have I been?

I have led a number of tours in the south west of England and the Isle of Wight. I have also led three tours in South India. Independently, I have toured in France, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark and Scotland.

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