Saturday, 24 July 2010

The All-New Forest Show

So today two of the Trois V are sleeping like babies (if only the club mascot could learn to do so) ahead of the Dunwich Dynamo tonight.

The non night-riding member of the club decided to take a jaunt around the New Forest. You can see my route/rowt here. The New Forest isn't far from the Club Mascot's Mum's family, but in order to get Trois V Trusty Steed Number 2 down here, I had to put it in the car. Which meant I had to disassemble it. In the middle of the street. In central London.

Tomorrow I'm buying a bike rack!

But I digress.

Arriving at Brockenhurst, I initially struggled to find the start of the purple line on the GPS. Several wrong turns, and a double level crossing later, I eventually found it, and the glorious vista of the Forest opened up before me.

You thought I was being sarcastic then, didn't you? But look! It IS glorious. Hurrah!

Not only was it pretty, but the road was smooth, and motorised traffic has a 40mph speed limit, so the going was good and relaxed. I soon found myself in some trees, and with the smell of hot pines in the sunshine it reminded me of California.

Then I saw a road sign: Rhinefield Ornamental Drive. The keen eyed amongst you will notice that this was the final descent into Brockenhurst for the end of the ride. I was doing the route backwards.


Undaunted, I pressed on, since a loop is a loop, right? Everything would be fine. Until I reached the wrong end of a one-way system later in the ride and had to walk. Which of course is the ONLY REASON my average speed is lower than I would have liked.

No wait! There are two more excuses, I mean reasons, why.

The first is one of the things that the New Forest is famous for, New Forest ponies. Their main distinctive features are their long manes, and, like hippies, they somehow think this gives them licence to do whatever the hell they like and everyone else just has to put up with their bong-addled wanderings:

The funniest part about this was the car that sped up behind me as I moved to the middle of the road, obviously thinking 'I will get this arrogant cyclist to move back to the left by revving my engine. Muhahaha! Oh right, horses.' and then slowed down and backed off.

My second excuse, although it's my own stupid fault, is the fact that shortly after encountering those horses and doubling back to regain the purple line (ahem), I found myself on one of the many cycle routes in the New Forest. Alas they are designed for bikes with slightly wider tyres than mine, and it was a bit like cycling on very sharp, very pointy, marbles. So I got off and pushed. Which gave me the excuse to eat a Mule Bar and take this scene of bucolic wonderousness.

Having successfully struck tarmac again, and saying a prayer of thanks to John McAdam and Edgar Hooley, I then had to scamper across a dual carriageway (note: scampering in SPD cleats is not a dignified affair) before getting back onto lovely New Forest roads and down for a peek at the Solent (which should have started the ride) and into Brockenhurst for the train back.

A very lovely ride, which needs some tweaking to be truly excellent (a bit like my navigation), but equipped with a bike rack, there will be tweaking opportunities aplenty.

And as for the derring-doers tonight, I wish you both clear roads and clearer skies. Enjoy your salty bath in the morning. Here's a song for me, and and a song for you.



Neil Young - Tonight's the Night (Live)
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