Bikes & Bridges – our motorway bridge adventure

Last week, we rode over every motorway bridge on the OS map of Leicester and Hinckley. There’s 24 of them (I had originally stated that there were 23, but whilst editing the video, I realised that I had missed one off my list and there were indeed 24).

We filmed our adventure and here is the link to the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/gj74h-Rc3wI

Planning

We started by planning our adventure and routes. We started by marking all of the bridges on the OS map that we were using and then checked them against Google Maps Streetview to check that they were actually bridges. We also added one new bridge onto the map (due to a new road being built fairly close to our house).

We split the bridges into 3 days – one day heading north along the M1, one day heading south along the M1, and one day riding along the M69. Obviously, we didn’t actually ride on the motorway.

We rode the first day from memory, because these were mostly roads that we ride often and could remember the route. For the other two rides, we plotted the route as a Garmin course and followed it on my Garmin bike computer.

Our biggest problem was finding a place to cross the A5 (as there were 3 bridges on the other side of it). Our original route for the M69 day was over 60 miles, crossing the A5 at a roundabout and at a crossroads. Upon more inspection of the road, we found a bike path that meant we could ride along the A5 for a small section, and this cut our route down to 45 miles (which would still be Andrew’s longest ride to date).

Day 1

Day 1 (Monday 1st June) saw us ride familiar roads, as we crossed all of the M1 bridges north of our house and 1 marginally south. This was the shortest and easiest day, mainly because the roads were familiar and the ride was a similar length to most of our rides.

We rode 19.60 miles and crossed 6 bridges.

It was lovely and sunny, which got our tour of motorway bridges off to a good start.

Day 2

On day 2 (Tuesday 2nd June), we headed south parallel to the M1. The first bridge we crossed was actually an M69 bridge, because there was an M1 bridge further along the same road.

We were almost entirely on unfamiliar roads, which made the ride seem to drag a bit. We both struggled, but we were slowly ticking the bridges off the list. Apart from a few busy roads, we were mainly on quiet country roads, zig-zagging over the motorway.

We crossed another 6 bridges of the M1 and 2 of the M69. This meant that we completed all of the M1 bridges – watch the video to see Andrew’s celebration of the ‘M1 complete’.

On this route, we planned to cross most of the bridges, as we headed south and then ride as directly north as possible, to make the quickest route home. On the way home, we took a slight detour to cross one last M69 bridge, with the aim of shortening the route for the next ride.

Again, it was sunny, which was good.

We crossed a train track twice (on the way out and the way back) and both times, we had to stop for a train, which was quite amusing because we regularly ride across another level crossing and have never been stopped.

We rode 29.45 miles and crossed 8 bridges.

Day 3

After a day off, we rode the third day on Thursday 4th June. In the opposite approach to Day 2, we headed as far west as we could before zig-zagging over the bridges on the way back. We had 10 bridges to cross. We rode to the A5, crossing one bridge on route, before riding along the bike path to cross the A5, and start crossing the 3 bridges. On a quick break, we saw 4 police cars zoom past us – Andrew was disappointed that we didn’t have the camera recording.

We continued on our ride, crossing the 3 required bridges. We saw a police helicopter hovering around and then saw a police car turn around in front of us. As we continued back to the A5, we saw another police car, and then another one, and then a motorbike and then quite a few more police cars. These can be seen in the video and really helped the time pass quickly.

We started heading back along the way we came before turning off to take in 2 more bridges. Once again, we returned to familiar roads and continued zig-zagging over the M69, crossing the 4 remaining bridges in quite quick succession. We stopped on the last bridge, to do some filming and take a selfie, of course.

We rode 43.59 miles and crossed 10 bridges.

Andrew’s comment

It was fun but long. It was good to ride new roads, that were far away. It was very dramatic with all of the police cars, especially when we saw 5 on one road and then one stopped to talk to us. It was a good adventure.

My final comment

I really enjoyed this challenge and it was a great way of exploring new roads, whilst remaining fairly local. Having markers/bridges to check off made for a great adventure and I have loved sharing it on social media.

3 thoughts on “Bikes & Bridges – our motorway bridge adventure

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