Quirky Facts about Bristol

Bristol Suspension Bridge

If you’re on two wheels you can use most of the bus lanes in Bristol, part of a trial originally started in 1996. Bristol was one of the first to experiment with the idea, which is now being adopted by other cities throughout the UK.

Bristol boasts the world’s biggest manufacturer of hot air balloons, which are one of the modern symbols of Bristol. Cameron Balloons in Bedminster makes more than anyone else in the world. Bristol even has its own International Balloon Fiesta, which many local fans feel is best watched from the Avon Gorge hotel’s patio bar rather than up close and personal in Ashton Court!

Ribena was invented in Long Ashton. Loved by all (except maybe dentists), this traditionally blackcurrant-flavoured drink was invented by a Bristol University scientist in 1933 at the National Fruit and Cider Institute, and quickly gained popularity during the second world war as an alternative source of vitamin C.

Born in Bristol in 1680, Blackbeard, aka Edward Teach, is famed as the world’s most notorious pirate. Believed to be the inspiration for Treasure Island’s Long John Silver, Blackbeard had a hide-out in Redcliffe caves, and the home of his birth still stands on the harbourside.

The Nails outside the Exchange on Corn Street is said to be the where the phrase ‘paying on the nail’ and ‘cash on the nail’ originated from. The bronze nails, with their flat tops and raised edges that prevent coins from tumbling onto the pavement, were made as convenient tables at which merchants could carry out their business. The oldest pillar is undated, but experts say it is late Elizabethan. The second oldest was given by Bristol merchant Robert Kitchen who died in 1594. The two remaining nails are dated 1625 and 1631. The Exchange building behind the Nails is the only surviving 18th century building of its type in England and now houses St. Nicholas Market a very successful indoor market selling great food and other wares.

Made famous in ‘Only Fools and Horses’, Mandela House stands behind Ashton Gate. The fictional Peckham estate is, in fact, in the south of Bristol. Much of the filming for the series took place in and around Bristol, and the renowned Batman & Robin scene was filmed in Broadmead.

The first bungee jump took place from the Suspension Bridge. On 1st April 1979 (this was no mere April Fools jape!), a member of Oxford University’s ‘Dangerous Sports Club’ bungee-jumped from the Clifton Suspension Bridge and a new sport was born around the world.

The prolific and international street artist Banksy hails from Bristol where several pieces of his work are still visible today, Originating from Kingswood but remaining anonymous he has had numerous successful exhibitions throughout the world including L.A, New York and of course the Bristol Museum which saw very long queues every day of the exhibit.

Wallace & Gromit were created by Bristol-based Oscar-winning Aardman Animations, whose main man is Nick Park. He acknowledges the debt the lovable Plasticine duo owe to the city and believes a lot of the humour has come from Aardman being rooted in the Bristol area.

Interesting Points about Fowlers Motorcycles…

  • Situated opposite Temple Meads, Brunel’s Great Western Railway station, Fowlers is just minutes away from the dock housing his famous iron ship, the SS Great Britain, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, perched over Avon Gorge, also engineered by this great man.
  • Popular rendezvous point for ride-outs, with a large free car & bike park, outside seating area, great café and good links to routes out of Bristol
  • Family run business for over nine decades with friendly, knowledgeable and helpful staff.
  • Fully-equipped workshop with factory-trained technicians, including no fewer than 6 ‘Master Technicians’.
  • Between 350 – 400 quality pre-owned bikes in stock
  • The latest models and offers from Triumph plus nine other franchises.
  • Probably Europe’s largest stockist of genuine spare parts for 11 franchises.
  • Huge area dedicated to clothing, helmets, boots and accessories.
  • Off Road Centre


Some ride-out info has been included, which Fowlers’ RAT club has recently completed over this Summer. The basic route notes have been converted into Google map routes to make it easier – just use the links below.

Fowlers – Compton Abbas http://fowlers.bike/ridecompabbas (approx. 2½ hours duration)

Fowlers – West Bay (Dorset) http://fowlers.bike/ridebay1 and return route is http://fowlers.bike/ridebay2 (approx 5 hours)

Fowlers – Cheddar (Somerset) http://fowlers.bike/ridebay1 and return route is http://fowlers.bike/ridebay2 (approx 5 hours)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *