I first met Jaana and Bill exactly 10 years ago on a cycle ride in Cuba. Last weekend, we met up to explore the Cotswolds by bike.
Meeting regularly, we always cycle bye-lanes to explore the countryside and find great pubs. Often we see somewhere special in some way and plans for the day are changed while we stop to have a look.
Our previous rides have been a mixture of challenges from hard to easy. Bill accompanied me on Lon Las Cymru, 250 miles across Wales on what some say is the most challenging road ride in Britain while Jaana has been with me across Scotland and Norway.
The Cotswolds in late February in brilliant sunshine are hard to beat. We started at Princes Risborough, cycled to Oxford and on to Witney where we stopped overnight. As we rode, a flock of 15 red kites gave a stunning display swooping down into the furrows as a farmer was ploughing his fields.
The next night found us in a pub just outside Stroud. We followed a route on the National Cycle Network that was a mixture of canal paths, quiet roads, gentle hills and small towns.
At Frampton on Severn on the following day, we parted company. Jaana and Bill cycled to Gloucester to meet a train home while I pedalled south to Bristol. Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire are well worth exploring and as always cars leave us alone while we are on the National Cycle Network.
Our next ride is already planned. We resume at Gloucester to head north close to the River Severn.