Picture of Ken and Linda with their tandem

Title: End to End by Tandem. Ken & Linda Hardy

 Day 4: September 13 th , Taunton to Nailsworth

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The first stop on Wednesday morning was at a bike shop in Taunton to change the rear tyre. This wasn't strictly necessary as it turned out but having heard stories of tyres blowing out on tandems due to sidewall wear and tear we felt it was worth doing since we were carrying quite a lot of weight in the panniers and the tyres had done a couple of thousand miles. We wasted a little bit of time finding our way out of Taunton, going round the centre twice before finding the road we wanted. The A361 took us across the Somerset Levels, very flat country and quite featureless but satisfyingly fast cycling, towards Street and then onwards via the A39 to Glastonbury. We saw Glastonbury Tor in the distance but the road bypassed the town and took us on to Wells.

This is a very interesting town with a large cathedral with a market square in front, lots of historic interest. We stopped here and had a picnic lunch by the water in the cathedral grounds.

From Wells the A39 presented a steady climb up onto the high ground towards Bath. The road joined the A37 for a short way and then we missed a turn, eventually making our way across country by back lanes to join the A367 which took us into Bath. We both felt that, although it was a little slower, it had made a nice change to be on the quiet lanes for a while.

We spent an hour or so in Bath, looking round and having a hot chocolate and cookies to warm us up - the weather was somewhat cooler by now. We left Bath by the A46, not a pleasant road for cycling, at least for the first several miles. It starts off from Bath as a wide dual carriageway up a steep gradient and is quite busy, probably because it is the main route towards the M4. Certainly we found that once we'd crossed the M4, our road became much quieter. By now we were back on the high ground and the road followed this for much of the rest of the way to Nailsworth, a few miles south of Stroud, where we spent the night. As with the Somerset Levels, this high, mostly level ground made for quite fast, satisfying cycling and this resulted in our longest daily mileage of the whole trip.

Dusk was falling as we dropped into Nailsworth and we had a little difficulty finding a B&B but were eventually directed to a lovely house on the edge of the village where we spent a very pleasant night. Instead of a pub meal we went to the local chippy for our evening meal and sat on a bench to eat.

Day 4 - Mileage: Day 78; Cumulative 243