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100-mile challenge takes in beauty of the Cotswolds

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Cyclist Robin Bigwood, from Kemble, will be undertaking a gruelling 100-mile bike ride through the Cotswolds this weekend to raise money for the Great Western Air Ambulance.

“The route, called The Kemble Round, is completely new – I put it together during the pandemic lockdowns of this year and last, when I found myself with a bit more time on my hands for exploring the backroads, byways and bridleways of Gloucestershire,” he explained.

The route is a 100-mile gravel/cyclocross/MTB route, intended as a self-guided single day challenge for enthusiast cyclists, similar to the South Downs Way or the Trans-Cambrian Way. It crosses endlessly varied, often beautiful, and occasionally remote countryside, and includes almost 10,000ft of climbing.

“It starts and finishes in the quiet village where I live and takes in a great swathe of the picturesque and steep-sided Cotswold edge to the west, from Wotton-under-Edge to Cleeve Hill, via Dursley, Stroud, Painswick, Birdlip and Andoversford. The return leg passes through more remote countryside to the east and returns down the Churn Valley into Cirencester. It’s beautiful, and very hilly – and it’s this aspect that might well test me to the limit.”

Robin plans to publicise the route more widely so that other keen cyclists can step up to the challenge. A website, thekembleround.uk, will contain downloadable GPS route files, route descriptions and maps, tips for preparation and attempts, and donation links to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.

“Gloucestershire and much of the rest of the West Country is incredibly fortunate to be served by the Great Western Air Ambulance. As someone who loves the outdoors I wanted to do my bit to support the amazing, life-saving work they do, which is so valued by cyclists, walkers, paddlers and climbers,” explained Robin.

“At the same time it’ll be a fun project to establish this new cycling challenge that really shows off some of the most breath-taking Gloucestershire landscapes and will perhaps introduce this beautiful part of the world to more people.”

For more information visit: The Kemble Round website and The Kemble Round on Facebook. To donate: Great Western Air Ambulance Charity: The Kemble Round – 100 mile Cotswolds off-road cycling challenge (enthuse.com)

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