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Colin Ward

Welcome to my tour page


Where am I going in 2022?

I'm going back to the Isle of Wight in May for a week. Last year I found a great hotel on the mainland near Chichester Harbour where we could meet up and stay one night before setting out in the morning for the Ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne. Cyclists who arrived by car were also able to park there for a modest fee while we toured the island. We spent five nights on the other side of the Solent in a cliff-top hotel where I have stayed with my cycling club on many happy week-ends away. On my visits over the years, I have built up a repertoire of day rides which can include well-known destinations like Queen Victoria's home, Osborne House, and little-known beauty spots like the Newtown Nature Reserve.
In the summer I'm going to spend some time cycling in France, reconnoitring a new tour for 2023.

My experience and style

What to expect

Who am I?
One of my favourite activities is getting out on my bike to discover cycle routes that are new to me. The quieter and more rural they are the better I like them. When it's cold, dark and slippery, I like to spend time at home studying maps and guide books and computer based resources like street-view and RidewithGPS. Being a tour leader gives me the opportunity to share my discoveries with other cyclists
I am a former Royal Navy Artificer and Primary School Teacher. I'm married with grown-up daughters and young grandchildren. When I'm not out cycling, I'm an active member of my local Lions Club.
My tour leading style
Before a tour I send all participants the following:
·      links to the routes on RidewithGPS (can be read on Smart Phones and I-phones)
·      files to load onto GPS devices including .gpx, .fit and .tcx
·      PDF maps, elevation profiles and cue sheets to print (useful if you don't have a GPS device)
Being in possession of these resources means that those who want to travel faster than the group can go on ahead and those who want to take their time can catch up later. Having said all that, I usually lead from the front at about 12mph and most cyclists like to follow me. We have plenty of stops for coffee, lunch, tea and to admire the landscapes, seascapes, buildings of interest etc. Some riders are avid BCQ hunters and routes can be adjusted or detours suggested to take these in.
The roads we take
I will always take country lanes in preference to main roads. I like cycle paths (there are a few of these on the Isle of Wight) but I prefer those with a smooth surface to the ones covered in gravel. Sometimes gravel is unavoidable so it's a good idea to have puncture resistant tyres. Marked cycle routes (like Sustrans) are often useful but only if they take us fairly directly to where we want to go.
The places we stay
I have planned and led a number of camping tours. I have a very sturdy tent made in Sweden to withstand the worst weather and I like to cook over my little twig-burning stove. I have also organised some tours with hostel accommodation and a communal kitchen. But, in recent times, I have come to appreciate the comforts of a nice hotel.
Where do I go?
In 2022 I will probably be sticking to the UK but I intend to take a tour to France in 2023 where I have covered some very enjoyable kilometres. France appeals to me because I like the food, wine and countryside

Where have I been?

I have led a number of tours in the south west of England and the Isle of Wight. I have also led three tours in South India. Independently, I have toured in France, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark and Scotland.

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