This weekend I went to Bournemouth to visit my family. I had intended to use a combination of bike & train to get there but unfortunately I discovered that the rail network doesn’t connect directly between the two cities, which would have meant 3 hours of rail travel, plus travel time to and from the stations, plus waiting time. Realistically I calculated that this method would take about 5 hours and would cost £30 each way. The alternative option of just cycling the 70 miles each way would similarly take about 5 hours but would cost nothing. So the decision was made.
I set off early Saturday morning with panniers loaded with food and clothing. From Bristol to Shaftesbury was a series of hills, some of which were a real struggle with the added weight on the bike. However the tops of the hills did offer some spectacular views of the countryside.
Weather-wise it was a lovely Autumn weekend. I needed gloves, tights and overshoes to keep warm, but luckily there was no rain to worry about. From Shaftesbury it was a flatter run down to Bournemouth, and I arrived in time for lunch to the bemusement of my Dad who thought I was coming by train and took some convincing that I had cycled the whole way.
We had Saturday afternoon and evening together (and for me to get some much needed recovery). After spending Sunday morning together I set off for home just before midday.
On the return leg I did a better job of sticking to the B roads to keep away from fast traffic, but it was still difficult at times when most road signs lead drivers to the quicker roads. I rode at an easy pace trying to save what little energy I had left for the steep hills.
The only trouble I had on the return was when I prematurely exited an essential run along a busy A road. What had initially looked like a country lane turned into a muddy, rutted track which eventually became impassable by road bike. It was a steep hill and after struggling to get any traction I had to get off and push for 200 metres.
The track soon became rideable again so I remounted and wobbled and vibrated my way up to the main road. Upon arriving home and uploading my ride to Strava I saw that I had been awarded a ‘King of the Mountain’ for this section. However closer inspection revealed that nobody else had ever been stupid enough to try and ride this ‘road’ so the dubious honour of being first out of one was quickly ignored.
I was also immature enough to take a detour along a road named ‘Ass Hill’ on my map, however was disappointed by the lack of road sign to allow me to take a photo for ‘posteriority’. Shortly afterwards I was rewarded by the road sign below which better described the condition of my rear end after 10 hours of riding in one weekend.
I made it home before dark and crashed on the sofa trying to ignore the fact I will be up early tomorrow morning for a full week of cycle commuting on my tender Binegar Bottom.