Dave Morrison goes back to the nineties to steal a rhyme from some old associates:
“East Coast stompin’, rippin’ and rompin’
“Box Hill, then Windsor Great Park and Quainton
“Checka, checka check it out
“The loops for the troops, more bounce to the ounce
“And wow how now wow, how now, brown cow?”
OK, I’m stealing a line (or two) from 90s rap legends A Tribe Called Quest’s classic ‘Scenario’ but the CTC’s (Cycling UK) British Cycle Quest (BCQ) is one hell of a challenge – all you have to do is visit 402 checkpoints spread across the UK, covering all counties as well as the Orkneys, Shetlands, Outer Hebrides, Isle of Man and Isle Wight! A list of all the checkpoints, listed by county can be found here:
However, a more ‘bite size’ challenge exists alongside whereby visiting 10 sites will earn any participant a certificate….compared to doing all 402 which involves receiving an engraved trophy.
I found about this because a guy from Redhill CC was telling me that he was considering entering Westerley CC’s Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang Audax on 1st May because it goes through Hambledon….one of the BCQ checkpoints. He wondered if it visited any more so I took a look. In fact it does, and a few small detours could take in a few more.
The Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang Audax takes in 7 counties over 209km, Middx, Herts, Bucks, Oxon, Berks, Hants and Surrey which, I suspect, is unusual! So which BCQ checkpoints could be ticked off on the day?
Sadly, nothing in Middlesex, but Aldbury in Hertfordshire is easily reached. Remember that riders do not have to do the exact route when riding an Audax (although most do), so a detour between Audax controls is permitted. One such detour, between Berkhamsted and Ivinghoe Beacon, will add very little in distance, whilst passing a BCQ checkpoint at Aldbury.
The first Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang Audax control of the ride is at Ivinghoe Beacon. Although the Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang does not visit Bedfordshire, from the top of Ivinghoe Beacon there is a view of Whipsnade Zoo to the right. A determined rider could detour a few miles after Ivinghow Beacon and visit the Whipsnade BCQ checkpoint, although beware of the climb at Bison Hill!
Next up, Buckinghamshire, and, sadly as local as Jordans is to local Westerley CC club riders the Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang does not visit it. Mind you, along with Gunnersbury Park and Richmond Park in Greater London, it is a short Sunday morning jaunt if it is needed! So, back to the Chiltern Chiltern Bang Bang and Hambledon is our next BCQ checkpoint. You will need to go into the village centre, but it only deviates from the route by a few hundred metres. Hambledon also features in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
So on to Oxfordshire, and another BCQ deviation that doesn’t add too many miles, although it will add a more challenging climb, is Watlington. Instead of going through Ibstone where the windmill from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is situated, riders could continue on south from the foot of Aston Hill and go to Henley via Watlington and Pishill (or Russells Water) then past the Chiltern Winery on Dudley Lane and down to Hambledon. Russells Water, incidentally, is where the duck pond in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film is situated!
Sadly, our brief forays in to Berkshire and Hampshire don’t yield any BCQ checkpoint opportunities, so on in to Surrey and pretty soon the ride reaches Pirbright, which will involve a minor deviation of a few hundred metres to reach the BCQ checkpoint.
So, Aldbury, Whipsnade, Watlington, Hambledon and Pirbright are all within reach of the ride, a sunday morning ride to Box Hill and Shere via Gunnersbury Park and Richmond Park plus a brief ride out to Jordans, Cookham Dean or Windsor Great Park one evening and you could get the 10 checkpoints certificate! Using another Tribe Called Quest classic, ‘Can You Kick It?’
There are more details about the quest here: http://www.cyclinguk.org/british-cycle-quest
And you can find out all the details for out May Day audax here: http://www.westerley.cc/chiltern-chiltern-bang-bang-200km-audax/