Cycling Club VC Walcot rides every Sunday in all weathers

Organiser Arran Armstrong has published this year’s fiendish celebration of all things epic and timed as usual to coincide with the climax of the Classics cycling season: Paris-Roubaix


Sunday April 8th is the date for this year’s Classics Ride; it’s just like a normal 9am Sunday ride with the Velo Club Walcot but potentially an awful lot harder. With emphasis on the word ‘awful’. Or, as Arran Armstrong the route planner would prefer to title it – ‘epic’. Plus, it’s an opportunity to wear all your most garish 70s and 80s ‘Pro’ kit.

Arran goes on, “So, it’s that time of year again when VC Walcot rides out on Paris-Roubaix day to celebrate the Spring Classics and explore the less frequented roads around Bath, taking in some interesting climbs and lanes. However, many of these roads are not designed for your best race wheels or tyres.

This year the format has changed and we have three routes to choose from:

Green Route – ~29 miles and 2,800ft of climbing The easiest – led by Rich Wood

Amber Route – ~37 miles and 3,900ft of climbing Led by Nick Rearden plus others as required

Red Route – ~47 miles and 4,900ft of climbing The hardest – led by Arran Armstrong plus others as required

The green route is designed by Rich Wood with the Easyriders in mind, or anyone else that fancies it for that matter.

The Amber and Red route riders have the option of leaving Bath via the Two Tunnels or if you like the burn of lactic acid in your legs, then Perrymead Road which is what features in the GPX routes. If you’re brave enough to start with Perrymead Road, don’t forget to leave plenty of space between riders on the steep part for some zig zag manoeuvering.

Either way, our designated routes re-join in time to pass the Hope & Anchor, although it may be too early in the morning for a pint at this point. These routes are not designed for fast riding, rather enjoyment with relatively short, but fairly punchy climbs. That said, the Amber and Red routes do include a final, spiteful climb up Hodshill to Southstoke just in case you have anything left in the tank.

The plan is to meet at the normal time and place; 9am outside Brown’s Restaurant on Orange Grove BA1 1LP in the centre of Bath, and head off in groups of up to ~10 people, with those heading out on the Red Route first then the Amber and Green groups. We’ll be looking for volunteers to lead groups, the leading is all about not getting lost and if you do get lost – like I do on a regular basis – then getting unlost – with assistance in my case. If groups fancy a coffee and cake stop on the route then go for it, there is no hurry to get back. There will be some ‘recovery’ drinks at the end of the ride at the Bath Brewhouse – next to the Odeon cinema in Bath.

Regarding the ‘recovery’ drinks, we have managed to book the Tank Room upstairs at the Bath Brewhouse for after-ride drinks and snacks. We have our own bar in the room, as well as a large screen with the Paris-Roubaix race showing on Eurosport. Bikes can be parked round the back, just head down the side of the pub. The Bath  Brewhouse is expecting us to start arriving from noon onwards. Being inside this year for drinks means it’ll be warm and dry and then of course I hope other halves, partners, etc could be tempted to join us and confirm their fears that we’re all slightly bonkers.

Remember, the VC Walcot Classics Ride is only as hard as you make it; a gentle spin or smashing it up the short sharp climbs – it’s up to you. With three routes this year, I hope we have catered for everyone’s abilities.

Needless to say, members of other clubs are most welcome to join in. The Timsbury Cycle Group in particular because that’s their picture at the top from last year’s ride.

Any questions, just email:


Bath Brew House details here

If you want to read up on the Paris-Roubaix race we’re celebrating, it’s all here


The face of a tired and muddy but happy cyclist

Muddy but smiling; Barney Speller shows what the Velo Club Walcot Classics Ride is likely to do to your face.