good for bristol

Sunday, 18 November 2012

GoCycleTour of Bristol docks

Yesterday I did a tour round Bristol docks led by Graison Hill of GoCycleTours.  It was excellent and I'd recommend it to anyone wanting a quick and meaningful introduction to Bristol's fascinating history.

I met Graison outside the YHA on Narrow Quay.  He was dressed in a tweed jacket, flat cap (guess what - he lives in Bath) and surrounded by a collection of 1930s and 1940s vintage classic bicycles.  After waiting for the rest of the five strong tour party to turn up we set off on a gentle trundle round historic Bristol, mostly a loop round the docks.

The trip was Queens Square, St Mary Redcliffe, back down to Redcliffe wharf and the caves, Bathurst Basin, Wapping Wharf passing round behind the M-Shed, SS Great Britain, Bristol Marina, Baltic Wharf, the underfall, Ashton Swing Bridge, along the new path under Brunel Way to a view of the suspension bridge, over the lock gates to the north side of Cumberland Basin then back to the centre following the north side of the docks.

Overall a very well designed and paced cycle ride pitched just about right for an inexperienced cyclist on an unfamiliar bike while feeling just a little bit entertainingly challenging.  I don't think everyone on the ride appreciated just what a special view they were getting of Bristol - most locals don't know about the viewing point at the tip of the docks, for example.

I'd suggest starting the ride outside the Arnolfini rather than the YHA though - particularly as the Mathew was moored there yesterday.  There are usually a few interesting boats moored up to look at while waiting for the group to assemble and a great view out over the water.

Also it would have been great to go round the front of the M-Shed and take in the cranes, John King, Pyronaut and view but I understand between the pedestrians, static obstacles and train tracks it'd be too dangerous for inexperienced cyclists on unfamiliar bikes.  A shame though - almost worth walking that bit maybe?

I'd recommend Graison's tour to anyone wanting to learn more about the history and layout of Bristol's docks.  His website is, email GraisonHill@GoCycleTour, facebook, phone 07982 429716.  Tours are arranged to suit and Graison charges a very reasonable £10.  He's all taxed, insured and legitimate and can issue proper receipts and so on if required.


  1. Hey dude - I've just worked out that residents of four whole Bristol suburbs were excluded from the Mayoral elections - Downend, Staple Hill, Kingswood, and Filton. Classic Rotten Burough stuff - complete stitch-up.

  2. That's because they're all in South Gloucestershire despite being clearly culturally Bristolian.

    Perhaps our new Mayor will lead a campaign for a greater Bristol and free these areas from the oppression of alien councils?

  3. Maybe they are happy being in South Glos?

  4. Possible, but unlikely - what is there in South Glos to make people happy? Decomissioned nuclear power plants and motorway intersections mostly. I'm sure they'd be much happier in Bristol.

  5. Mostly they think they are in Bristol...