August bank holiday weekend has been a blast so far (and its only Sunday). Been a weekend of “Firsts and Lasts”, “Ups and Downs”, “Highs and Lows” almost exclusively in a good way. To get one of the “lasts” out of the way early on, I was reminded that it is the last public holiday now until Christmas . Never mind that! The late August bank holiday arrived with a blaze of late summer sunshine here in Dorset, with a cracking day on Saturday we decided to get in a serious cycling session in preparation for next months London to Brighton. The new forest is a great place to get close to nature (more of that later) and a real mecca for cyclists. With Skippy (2) loaded up with her roofbars the first “first” was that I had my first experience of loading a cycle on top, which wasn’t quite as easy as I had envisaged it would be, but once it was hoisted above head height it was on and we were off. Early morning rendezvous planned with little Bro and Kim, I headed into the forest, luckily against the flow of bank holiday traffic flocking south to enjoy a part of the country that I am lucky enough to call home.
The ride itself was great, we covered 60km (a little more than intended due to some navigational issues) and the aforementioned highs and lows inclu
ded plenty of climbs and descents, which is probably where we hit another high in the form of a max speed of 58km, which is quite exhilarating on two human powered wheels. Shame we weren’t consistent in that as we would have finished in about a third of the time it actually took us. I also got a lot more acquainted with the saddle than I was particularly comfortable with especially at cattle grid sections of the route. We also got to commune with nature in a few ways. The forest is home to an abundance of ponies inclined to wander at will but they didn’t trouble us. We had two close encounters within a very short space. Mine was in the form of a stationary hedge that I bounced off due to an ill executed moving alongside little bro just as he moved right to avoid a patch of gravel, Kim who saw the whole incident from her vantage point just behind us had hardly stopped laughing when she became a victim of a winged stinging insect that got stuck in her jersey, stinging her just before it escaped.
The route took us through some parts of the forest that I kn
ow fairly well and some that I don’t think I’ve seen before, it shared with us some spectacular views and even the traffic gridlocked (as it always is) Lyndhurst was fun as we weaved through traffic. A small miscalculation towards the end added about 5km to the planned route but the upshot was that we covered a good two thirds of what we will need to do next month and so I’m feeling good
with only a few weeks to go.