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Castles Bike Ride - Rider Instructions and FAQS

You’ve Got Questions. We’ve Got Answers.


Coate Water Country Park, Marborough Road, Swindon, SN3 6AA

The 'What 3 Words' for the start of the Castles Bike ride event on Sunday 2 June 2024 is 

Read our What 3 Words BLOG to find out more 

Entering the event

Entries on the day will be accepted up to a limit of 300 riders. Enter in advance and save £3 for an adult entry.

See REGISTER page to enter the event 

Car Parking 

Cycle to the event if you can.  If driving to the event please follow the signs to Coate Water County Park.  Event Car parking will be in the overflow car park behind the Sun Inn

Please note there is a 2 metre height restriction on the entrance. 

Vehicles with roof racks, vans, and other large vehicles may use the second entrance which is marked as EXIT but follow marshal instructions who may direct you to the main car park area.

All car parks are Pay and Display Car Parks. Ensure you purchase sufficient parking time so your enjoyment of the day is not marred by a parking fine.

The route to the Registration Area will be marked.

Please take care cycling out of the car park as some cars will be coming in as you exit.

Arriving at the registration

Registration will be at Coate Water Country Park near to the Model Railway and will be open from 0900 to 1000 for those who have entered on line and for Entry On The Day (Note that entries on the day will be by card payment only)   You should register before 0930, or earlier for entries on the day. 

At registration Ensure you are registered on your chosen course you will collect your handlebar card and zip ties. The handlebar card, which will be colour coded, helps our marshals send you on the correct route and to distinguish you from the other bike riders out on the day.

The Start

The Start and Finish will be located close to the Registration area.   There will not be a mass start.  Once you have registered and made yourself ready to go, follow the signs to the start point where our marshal will start you in small groups. This is to avoid having a huge peleton riding through the Country Park.  The first start will be at 0930 and the last start at 10:15

Rider Conduct

Please remember that this is a fun event that attracts riders of all abilities and all ages.  Some will be taking part in their first-ever event. There is no event timing.


Our marshals are there for your safety. They are not permitted to stop traffic but to point you in the correct direction and advise of traffic when they can. Please obey any instructions from the Marshals and they appreciate a thankyou as you ride past.


The first and last 2 miles are through Coate Water Country Park.  Much of your route is on Route 45 of the National Cycle Network  On the way out, on the outskirts of Chiseldon you will join a road for about 500 metres.  There are a few more road section which link the off road sections of the course


At all times please adhere to the rules of the road, be very careful on descents, and do not overtake unless and until it is safe to do so.  


Do not ride on the wrong side of the road.


There are several sections where Mountain Bike Riders are sharing the tracks and trails with other users such as pedestrians, dog walkers, children, other cyclists, and horse riders.  It is essential that our riders respect the other users and take care when approaching or passing.  


This is especially important in the following areas:

    a. The Ridgeway and the Railway Path. Both are very popular with Horse riders and other Cyclists.

    b.Coate Water. This is the National Cycle Network, it does not imply bike riders have exclusive use of the path.


If you find another rider in difficulty either through a fall or a mechanical issue please try to assist.  If First Aid is required please call the number on your handlebar tag.  If it is a life-threatening emergency and you feel an ambulance is required please dial 999


If the weather is good you can expect many people to be out enjoying the same tracks and trails and back at Coate Water many families with children will be in the area by the model railway


The main route signage will be black and yellow Cycle Route signs and these will be used for all 3 routes. You should however familiarise yourself with your chosen route as from time to time our signs go astray.

Cycle Route CBR.jpg

Route Splits

Please be aware of the places where the routes split and ensure you are following your chosen route. Should you wish to change course whilst on the route please tell the marshal at the splits that you have done so or they will send you the “wrong” way according to the colour/number of your card.

The course splits are at:

1. 2.5 Miles All routes turn left into “Three Fields” from the B4005

2. 3.7 Miles Short course turns left: Long and Medium courses turn right.

3. 6.2 Miles  Long route continues straight on to Hackpen along Route 45 of NCN. The medium route turns left and left again to go in a gate and up to Barbury Castle and their refreshment stop.

4. 18.5 miles long & 10.45 miles med. Ogbourne St George.  Riders the Long and Medium routes have come together near Barbury Castle and before Smeethes Ridge.  They split again in Ogbourne St George at the road under the A346. There is an additional water available at this point.

Medium route - turns left and goes north on the railway path toward Chiseldon.

Long Route - goes under A346 then turns right to join the railway path after about 400 metres. The long route then does a loop returning to Ogbourne St George and then turns right to go north on the railway path.

Cut Off Times

Riders on the long route must get to Ogbourne St George before 11.30.  At 11.30 all riders will be sent north on the Railway path and all direction signs removed. This is to avoid our Marshals having to be in location for extended periods of time 

Resdiential area in Chisledon

Please ride carefully through the village.  The route follows the NCN R45 signs and may not be marshalled at all junctions. Please familiarise yourself with the route shown on the map below. A reminder that care is needed on the final tracks as there are 2 steep descents, the Curly Wurly Bridge and a sharp S Bend as you get back to Coate Water

Chiseldon Route map.jpg


All riders should start the ride with full water bottles and any snacks (such as energy bars and gels) they need.   Riders on the long and medium courses will have refreshment points at 12.5 and 6.5 miles respectively.  

Water and some food will be available at these points. There is also a last-minute water replen at Ogbourne St George but will have limited supplies

Please be mindful of the needs of riders behind you and only take what you need.  

Bar and Gel wrappers can be deposited in the rubbish bags provided and must NOT be dropped anywhere on the course


Toilets are available behind the Coate Water Kiosk.

Your bike

The event is suitable for Mountain Bikes and Hybrids with good quality off road tyres.  It is not suitable for road bikes.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your bike is in a safe condition.  You must have two working brakes.  Your tyres should be in good condition and correctly inflated.  You are required to wear a cycle helmet at all times.

Tony Staples of Mobile Cycle Medic will be the registration area at the start to provide last minute assistance but this should not be relied upon

Mechanical Support

Please note that it is not feasible to provide support in the event of a mechanical issue.  You should carry enough spares and tools to be able to repair punctures.  In the event that you are unable to complete the ride due a mechanical issue we may be able to recover you from the roadside but you should not relay on this as our driver and vehicle could be on other tasks

The Finish

The Finish will be at the start point in Coate Water Country Park.  When you finish you can collect an optional Certificate of Thanks from the Macmillan Team.  Refreshments will be on sale at the Kiosk

Donations and Sponsorship

We hope that many of you will have managed to get sponsored.  We appreciate, though, that with so many sponsorship events that one can’t keep asking.  If you are not able to get sponsored perhaps you could make a small donation on the day.  Collection tins will be around the registration point.

Useful Links

Castles Bike Ride Facebook page 
Castles Bike Ride - Macmillan registration page 

Awaiting link

Tony Staples - Cycle Medic
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