|Dad's bicycle by Lunar (aged 4)|
Cycled to work and back on 3 occasions during the week. Garmin was replaced by my TomTom for the second 2 commutes. My real adventure began during the Easter holidays though.
|101.7k The 3 Castles Path|
(The Three Castles Path is a 60-mile long-distance footpath in England from Winchester Great Hall, Hampshire to Windsor Castle, Berkshire via the ruins of Odiham Castle. Winchester Great Hall is the only surviving part of Winchester Castle. Wikipedia)
We all came together again and reflected on our awesome first day over a feast at a local 'spoons pub. All was great until Chris had noticed that his and Jamie's mixed grill did not come with eggs. No eggs! What?! This was Easter after all. I had words with the 'egg girl', who in turn had words with the manager. The result - 2 free desserts! Bonus! I asked for 4 but only 2 materialised. I enjoyed sharing Chris's ice cream and crumble - it complemented my chicken noodles just fine!
Our day ended by cycling to the start of the South Downs Way. Here we (Chris) found a stealth place to camp down for the night. Tarps up and soon the sound of snoring after a little tipple of port from the hip flask.
Day 2 'the South Downs Way'. This day began about 6:30. Had slept pretty well considering the snoring and trumping of my buddies. Cooked up a nice porridge and washed this down with a tasty brew before we cleared camp and headed off.
|First to awake|
|My 3 buddies, still asleep|
Chris and I had cycled this route before on our mountain bikes. Lots of beautiful track but rather hilly throughout. Big climbs and fast descents throughout the day. Just to make things more interesting, decided to ride my bike with brakes that didn't work.
|94.2k The South Downs Way|
I think some random walkers were impressed (or thought 'such lunacy') with the speed I sped down some cobbled, gravelly descents - truth is, I couldn't slow myself or stop. Not sure what Chris's excuse was... Both Chris and I were stopped by a fence at the end of at least one descent. Still have the scars to prove it! - a barbed wire fence was my buffer! I reached speeds of 62.7k today and Chris 67.2!
Lunch stop today was pretty amazing. We found a great pub that served up a mighty fine ploughman's lunch. Cheese so thick, oh man, was worth cycling all the hilly k's just for this.
|Who'd have thought we would see a shark?!|
The next stop was great too. We tasted the delights of Caroline's ice cream. Mmm, much better than Kevin's cream!
Not everything was fine and dandy though. The puncture pixie visited a few times throughout the day. In fact, by the end of this day, I had 2 punctures, Andy 3 and Chris 1. Jamie was the winner and had none.
Today was tough. After 80k of tough tracks we decided to leave the off-road tracks and cycle a stretch of tarmac instead. Good choice - the tarmac led to a pub where steak burgers and rum followed!
The camp spot tonight was on the grounds of a girls school, hidden between some trees. I had spotted the site on route to the pub - good job Andy and had remembered how to get back there. Tarps up and into bed after a quick swig from the flask. Jamie won best tarp set up again. Jamie really was the winner (best tarp set up throughout and zero punctures).
Day 3 'flat is the new fat'. I was first up again today. Breakfast was mighty fine, Heinz pasta and noodles. Delicious!
|Not so smug in the morning is he?!|
|102.5k Last day of The Southern Discomfort Tour|
There was still some mad fast descents here and there and a couple of tough climbs too. Somewhere during this adventure my glasses broke and went AWOL. This became a real problem on this day as a bug got caught in my eye during the descent. Chris managed to get the bug out after a few pokes.
We stopped at a lovely cafe for lunch. It was called the Milk Churn if I remember correctly? Here, we all devoured some tasty cheese on toast and drank tea. A few other cyclists were gathered here too - one cyclist had an artificial leg. Don't think I could have cycled this adventure with only one leg.