Something I've wanted to do for a while is ride the full length of The Ridgeway. Since I've signed up for the SDW100 mile charity ride for the British Heart Foundation in July, I figured that a good rider and bike reliability test was in order, and The Ridgeway seemed to fit the bill quite nicely. Having got the GPX from the National Trails website some time ago, I had already loaded it up on ridewithgps.co.uk and spent a bit of time tidying up the route, and looking at the elevation profile decided it was best to ride the route north to south. The northern half is a lot more spiky, I'd also never ridden it before and had seen maps indicating much was footpath, so it made sense to plan to get the more troublesome and probably slower part of the ride out the way first and have an easier second half. On the day that turned out to be a great plan, as for the first few miles I courteously gave way to the many people who were taking part in a running event. Once past that it was mainly slow going between many many stiles and foot paths and being courteous to many groups of walkers who were out enjoying the fine summers weather. After reading a few stories of bad experiences with walkers, I havent yet had any confront me for using foot paths, but knowing how popular the National Trails routes are with the red sockers I was expecting some hassle. However only one older lady made any effort to confront me for using a footpath ... oddly after sarcastically asking me if we were on a foot path and then reaching for her map she simply wished me a good day which I did likewise to her. I'd like to think my good manners pacified this meeting of walked and MTBer, as I had stopped a good way up the trail when I saw them (and I was going slowly too) to allow them to pass and had offered pleasantries and my charming smile ... as I do for everyone who I meet when I'm out. A smile, a nod, a "Hi/Hey/Hello" and a "Have a good ride/walk/day/afternoon" seems to go a long distance with the vast majority of other trail users. Good manners cost nothing. Aside from that, the day was perfect really, blue skies, green grass, friendly people some who were curious and interested in why someone would want to ride the better part of 100 miles in a day... some conversations remind me how small the world is, other how much there is that I would love to explore. Cycling really is great, everyone should at least try.