The corporate ride season is well and truly underway, marked as ever by a sortie around the Cotswolds hosted by Swanvale Developments and Winckworth Sherwood.
This annual event is likely the friendliest of all corporate bike rides, starting (with fine bacon sandwiches and coffee) and finishing (with superb burgers and beer) in the Peacock Pub, in the Warwickshire village of Oxhill, near Banbury, that Swanvale managing director Andy Macdonald calls home.
The 86km route covered a landscape of farms and achingly pretty villages that rolled gently, for the most part, taking in just over 1,000m of climbing. The group of 16 riders split into two, with Winckworth Sherwood partner Andrew Bedford guiding one, while the lead group juked it out for King of the Mountains on the 3km drag up Snowshill.
With the sun occasionally breaking through, and ample cake supplied in pretty Blockley, spirits were high - even when the road unexpectedly veered up to 9% on Broad Campden Hill, just before the coffee stop. "I didn't realise that was there," route planner Macdonald said.
Post-lunch awards were presented to King and Queen of the Mountains (Anthony Tugwell, director at transport planner Vectos and Penny Moss, associate at Planning Potential), with a special award "in the over 100kg category" to TownCentreParking founding director and Duchenne DashMax creator Alasdair Robertson.
Meanwhile, founder of architect Child Graddon Lewis, Simon Child, was disqualified from the sartorial elegance award, despite looking as immaculate as ever, on the grounds of "being a serial winner". The winner was Chris Dyson Architects' eponymous founder "on the basis of his Change UK-themed outfit which the prize (a stripey buff) somehow complemented".
"Another fantastic ride," said Child. "Always a special day and a great group of friends old (well not so old) and new."
"I thoroughly enjoyed the ride around what is a really great route," agreed Duncan O'Neill, founder of investment manager Claymore Group. "Excellent company and the best burger I've had for some time made it a perfect day."