Pierre and myself had planned a day cycling around the New Forest – Pierre had worked out a circular route of approx 80Km and suggested we start from Fritham.
Well lovely sunny day – bit cold when I left Bromley, only 8 degrees at 8:00am. We had arranged to meet outside the Royal Oak pub at Fritham at approx 10:30am. I encountered some traffic jams on the M25 and on the M27 near Southampton so arrived about 20 mins late. As luck would have it, Pierre had arrived early so had to wait for me.
Still, got the car parked, unloaded the bike and was ready to go. This was the first long ride either of us had done since the Big Wheel trip in May.
The New Forest is a fantastic area for cycling. Not too many cars on the minor roads, cool under the trees, unspoilt villages with nice country pubs and lots of very free range animals. There were horses, cows, pony’s and donkeys just wandering about all over the place. They seemed to regard the middle of a road or even the centre of a town (Brockenhurst) as a good place to stand around and pass the time of day.
Some of very free range animals on route
We noticed the houses either had gates or cattle grids – essential, otherwise their gardens would just be munched by a grateful cow.
Still cycled on and stopped for lunch at the Forresters Arms at Brockenhurst. Ploughmans and a pint went down well.
Pierre with a pint of Ringwood Best Ale
Still, back to cycling. Now the terrain is getting a bit hilly – seemed to be climbing a lot. I had thought the New Forest was flat – it isn’t. Still carried on envious of cyclists going the other way – downhill. Some nice sharp short hills up and down so some good short very fast runs on the way down. Great fun.
Stopped for another pint at the Royal Oak where a donkey took a passing interest in my bike.
Royal Oak Pub and a Donkey…
Then it’s back on the bikes to finish the run. On the way back I came across a small herd of cows just standing in the middle of the road and causing problems for the traffic. I stopped and tapped one cow on the nose so it retreated onto the verge, the others followed it and the road was clear again.
Me near the end of the ride
So it was back to Fritham, load the bike on the car and head back to Bromley.
We covered approx 85Km so a good run. My legs were a bit sore but not too bad considering the distance. The New Forest is a great area for cycling and I really enjoyed the day. Also good practice for the France trip next year – just need to keep this up and arrange another ride. With Winter approaching, might be tricky but I feel a planning meeting in a nice pub is required.
Google earth KML file of the route below. Unfortunately I must have stopped the GPS when I stopped to tap the cow on the nose so not all the route is shown – the last bit is missing but as we finished in the same place we started it’s easy to see what the complete route was. New Forest Cycle Route
Vital Statistics (from my cycle computer) distance 85Km, Average Speed 19.3km/h, Maximum speed 51.6km/h, cycling time approx 5 hours.