Tuesday – June 4 : Isle of Wight – Fareham (Portsmouth area) (47km)
Back to Portsmouth.
Today was a magnificent day, not so much in terms of weather, because it rained quite a lot, but in terms of sponsorship.
While I sat in a pub to have something to eat and use their wifi, a group of cycling tourists came in to have a drink. When the rain had stopped, we all left the bar together to continue cycling. Once outside they asked what the purpose was of my trip. Result: 4×20 £, or 90.2 € for Cipriano!
Thanks, guys, you ‘ve made my day!
Wednesday – June 5 : Fareham – Winchester (28km)
I was to interview British female long-distance cycling pioneer Josie Dew for the Dutch/Belgian World Cyclist/Holiday Cyclist magazine and rode all the way south to Portsmouth, a detour of some 200 km, to meet her.
When I warned her last week that I was approaching Portsmouth, Josie was cycling on the Isle of Wight during the mid-term school holiday.
Since the Portsmouth region is noisy and traffic-laden, I decided to also go to Wight, but meeting each other there was not possible because Josie’s son had fallen ill and she had to return home prematurely.
During last weekend I had mailed her that I would return to Portsmouth on Tuesdag and asked her to communicate a time and location for the interview. I didn’t hear anything until Tuesday evening, after I had checked in in a camping 25 km NW of the city.
Josie wrote that Saturday would be a suitable day for her, but idly waiting for another 4 days was impossible for me. Josie apologized saying she did not realize that I was cycling for a project and a — albeit flexible — schedule, adding that she could meet me for half an hour today near her hometown, located 50 km east from where I was. This meant I would have to return on my steps, totally out of the way from my route to Fishguard. I really didn’t feel like ycing another 100 additional km, so the interview will have to be taken in another way…
I was fairly disappointed about the time I lost and the kilometers I had cycled in vain, since I could already have been in Ireland, but fortunately Isle of Wight was beautiful, this somewhat eased the swallowing of this bitter pill.
Thursday – June 6 : Winchester – Pitton (Whitehill Farm) (44,5 km)
Winchester is a cozy and picturesque town. A visit to the cathedral was about € 9. I already visited it in the early 1980’s and I even think that I still have a guide of the cathedral somewhere, so I decided to keep those pennies in my purse.
It was tough and long climbing to get out of Winchester, but after that the slopes became soft and rolling and it was wonderful to cycle over the peaceful country roads and gravel paths.
The first day of my trip that was pure cycling pleasure from start to finish!
Saturday – June 8 : Pitton – Stonehenge – Tilshead (40km)
Today the tent had to undergo its first storm: West Wind 7. As a precaution I had put two tent pegs on the storm ropes. She did well. My bike however was knocked over.
I didn’t get much sleep either with all the hustle and bustle. Earplugs did bring some relief.This morning it is still windy, but luckily not that extreme anymore. Today I’m heading to Stonehenge.
After the stormy night it remained dry in the morning and due to the wind my tent dried quickly. Around 10 o’clock I was ready to leave for Stonehenge, a ride of some 25 km. I had booked an entry ticket for 13hrs, so I thought I had plenty of time to get there.
However, my rear tyre spoiled my generous timing: It was as flat as a pancake! A deep sigh followed by a curse. I unpacked my bike again and began to replace the tube. I managed to do so, but lost about an hour with it.
The ride to Stonehenge was very agreeable by small lanes, but also 4 km by a grass path which was rather difficult cycling with a fully packed ordinary city bike.
After about 3 km, however, I was rewarded with the sight of several prehistoric barrows alongside the path. In the Stonehenge visitors’ centre I learnt that they are known as the Normanton Down Barrows. And after I had laboriously crawled uphill, I suddenly saw the formidable Stonehenge monument right before me! It made my heart beat even faster than it already did after the ascent.
When I reached Brades Acre campsite in the evening, I spent until 22:30 drinking aperitives with three West Flemisch motorcycle riders who had invited me and Silas, a French-British cyclist who arrived after me at the campsite.
As a result, I still had to start cooking and go and take a shower at 22:30….
Danny, Reginald and Ronny: these are the motorcycle riders with the aperitives who were responsible for the fact that Silas Cooper and I jumped into our sleeping bags rather late Saturday evening.
A little party every now and then doesn’t hurt…
Sunday – June 9 : Tilshead – Bristol (80km)
Video from Tilshead to Bradford, Bath and Bristol via Canal 6 : click HERE
Optimistically I jumped on my bike again after quite a heavy rain shower to start the last 35 km of the day. After 10 meters, however, underneath a bridge over the river Avon, despair replaced optimism: my second flat in two days’ time!
The last 25 km on a bumpy gravel road had been too demanding for the rear tyre of my poor heavily packed city bike. Another hour lost…
Fortunately from Bradford onwards the gravel path became smoother, and from Bath to Bristol I could follow the asfalted ‘railway cycling path’. The final 20 km I cycled munching wine gums and digestive cookies because my stomach was becoming very noisy…
For a long time I rode along a small gravel track alongside Bath Canal 6, which has no fewer than 105 locks over its total length of approximately 140 km. These locks have to be operated manually by the skippers themselves, really hard labour. Only narrowboats can use the canal because the locks are quite narrow. Many of these boats are inhabited.
It is nice to know that you are not all by yourself along these canals. Other boats are used by holidaymakers.
Due to the rather bumpy gravel track, I incurred a punched tyre.
From Bath to Bristol, I followed the Railway Cycling Path, including a train tunnel that reminded me a lot of the wet tunnels in Norway. In my opinion this was the first cycling route in the UK that lived up to its name.
Due to the length of the ride (80 km), the punched tyre and a long rain shower, I arrived at the Enneywevvers campsite in Bristol — a site that reminded me of Freetown Christiana in Copenhagen — around 22 hrs.
Video Flower-power camping Enneywevvers Bristol: click HERE