It must be time to panic. It is only two weeks before we leave. To a degree we are panicking – but only about all the things we have to do at home before we leave.
Training actually seems to be going quite well. We decided to prove to ourselves that we were able to manage 50 miles a day for 2 days in a row. So we booked into the Pines Hotel in Swanage and off we set.I tried hard to pick the hilly route going and the flat route back and I pretty much succeeded. We went across the forest via Bramshaw, Fritham and Linwood. Had a nice coffee at the Alice Lisle pub – we did manage to fight off the offer of lemon drizzle cake.
Then through the streets of Ringwood, along the old railway track and down the road through Matchams and Hurn to Christchurch. It was now getting to lunchtime and I had my one paddy of the day when Elaine rejected the third sandwhich shop in a row because the service was not fast enough. It had not been clear from Google maps, but except for July and August it is possible to cycle all the way along the promenade from Hengistbury to Sandbanks – and we did. It was a beautiful sunny day so much effort was needed to avoid the pedestrians who thought that just because it was a promenade the could stroll along without a care in the world.
At Sandbanks we took the chain ferry across to StudlandBikes have to pay £1 each way but pedestrians get a return for £1. Cheek. The biggest hill of the day was going over the top and down into Swanage. As we glided effortlessly down I reminded myself that the only way home was back up the hill again.
Anyway we arrived about 3:15 with Elaine saying – Have we really done 50 miles already – it is too early.
We had time for a stroll further down the hill into the centre of Swanage before going back to the hotel for dinner. The wine was good, the beer was good and we ate far too much of the excellent dinner. So we had a rotten nights sleep and compounded things by having an excellent full English for breakfast. Just the right thing to do before tackling the hill back out of town. But we did much better then I expected and got most of the way up before walking the last few hundred yards. Back across the ferry and on to the promenade. It was much earlier, on a much cooler day so there were far fewer walkers to dodge. The wind was behind us and we made excellent time all the way along to the little ferry between Hengistbury and Mudeford. £6.00 for the two of us for a 5 minute trip – double cheek. I had forgotten that the main road up to Highcliffe was quite so steep (the name might have given me a hint) but there was a nice cycle path to keep us out of the traffic. Then through Barton & Milford to Lymington. Again much lumpier than I had remembered. To keep out of the traffic we took the country route trough South Baddesley to Beaulieu. Beautiful countryside that I had never seen before. Although we had stopped for a coffee (and biscuits from the hotel), in Barton we felt that we deserved a bowl of soup at the tearooms on the High Steet. From there it is actually nice and flat, across the forest to Dibden Purlieu, then through Marchwood and Eling Wharf (no charge for bikes on the toll bridge), past B&Q along Lee Lane and home in time for tea.
We manage 10 miles round Braishfield most days with longer rides (25 miles) about once a week. I think that I have finally got the European route sorted out and the waypoints entered in to Lola. So all we have to do now is get the packing done and head for the airport.