There are three ways to tackle this problem, all with drawbacks for the cyclist (like me) who is aware of Old Father Time's approach. Today, I made the journey to Worcester by train, both cheap and bike-friendly. Rather than wait for 90 minutes for the next bus to Tenbury, I set out under a grey sky to find the Martley road, via good views of the Cathedral, the River Severn and the Worcester County Cricket Ground. The decision has to be taken whether to follow the River Teme, after its crossing at Ham Bridge, or to plough on the B4204, involving a 200m ascent. Well, that's where it ought to be taken, but I missed the turning after the bridge and by the time I was half way up to Clifton (misleadingly called "on Teme"), it was rather late to go back.
The advantage of sweating up the hill is that you have a nice long downhill into Tenbury, passing Hill Top and Kyrewood, two places mentioned in my ancestor's diaries: I'm in the process of editing these, hence the expedition.
On the way back, I had thought of taking the relatively flat (until Abberley) A443, but having biked along to Burford Church from Tenbury, quite a wide stretch of that road, I realised that I might be lucky to survive the unequal battle with the lorry traffic. So instead I took the minor road along the South bank of the Teme, via Lower Rochford, Eastham, Orleton and Stanford - coming out again to join the B4204 at Ham Bridge. Drawbacks? Well it's marked with 19th Century milestones, scenic and there isn't a lot of traffic; but it's very steep and narrow - and it was pouring with rain.