South Downs Part II – Day 9

Quick breakfast. Scrambled eggs, some salad and coffee. Then the takedown of the tent and packing. Shower.

Then I decided to ride through Dorking rather than going through Woking and then along canals and river.

Going through the countryside was really nice and I was going slowly as I was very aware of the spoke that I replaced yesterday. Got to Shere and then took the A25 for 10km.

The rest of the way I was sailing through the places I know so well from my rides around Surrey Hills.

Got home safe and sound. Realised that I put the spoke without weaving it at the back of the other. So there is a job for tomorrow.

South Downs Part II – Day 8

Day 8 in South Downs started with a clear blue sky. Not a single cloud on the horizon. Temperature was rising very quickly so I head for woodlands at 10.00. Slow ride today as I was trying to get back to camp as late as possible.

It turned out that I didn’t have to make the slow ride as in Pulborough I had a braking spoke in the front wheel. Had a look for bike shops around and was heading to one in Chichester when it occurred to me that I should check if they can do repairs on the go.

Phoned all the shops around and none would do  the repair on the spot. Fantastic for the business that all of them are so busy. Not so great for me. As I was getting to the camp I thought I would get a spoke from the shop in Midhurst. Cycled there. Got it and then for the first time in my life changed the spoke on the wheel. As I didn’t have a clue how to set the tension I played by the ear and hopefully the repair will get me back to Twickenham.

I’m pretty sure that I straightened up the buckle a bit. The wheel looks ok. Still will have it looked at when back home.

As I was in Midhurst I did my shopping for the night and the morning. Entered to Tesco’s with clear blue sky and when I left there were loads of clouds and the temperature started dropping straight away.

Supper and so on on the campsite. Loads of new people here. One big family with screaming kids and a massive yurt. Maybe it is a good idea to leave a day early. I don’t know how long I could take the noise.

Apart from the kids screaming there is a couple with a boom box. Don’t want to be here a day longer.

South Downs Part II – Day 7

Last night it got chilly very quickly so I dived into  my tent and had some crisps. Woke up just before 8.00.

Breakfast – scrambled eggs as usual. Straight from the hens on the farm. With mushrooms today.

Then shower and got ready for the ride.

It turned out that yesterday’s bone shaking road has played havoc with my breaks and gears. Had to stop and sort out both. Reset completely the breaks and then adjust tension of the gears. Slowly, slowly got it working again.

Forgot to put the sun protection this morning so was trying to ride in the woodlands looking for some shade. Very slow start but then I got going. Harder day as the temperature went up. Had to stop and have a snack in Petersfield. Got to Tesco’s and had couple of sausages, and a banana.

With the energy restored I carried on. Had a lovely ride to Haslemere and then to Petworth. At some point before Petworth the shade has gone and the last 20 km was a bit of a sunny ride.

Stopped in Midhurst for provisions. Today – carrots, broccoli, cauliflower mix with smoked haddock. It was excellent.

Tomorrow is going to be a very hot day. Must remember to put the sunblock on in the morning and then choose a route through the woodlands again.

South Downs Part II – Day 6

Settled down for the night at 22.30 last night. It was a great day of cycling and wandering around South Downs.

This morning it was the usual. Scrambled eggs, salad and coffee. Was out at 10.00 or there about.

Yesterday, there were 4 cyclists and 3 walkers that joined me on the campsite. None of them had a shower in the evening nor in the morning. How?

Today there are 3 walkers and all of them had a shower and washed their gear.

Today I decided to get to Chichester and then to Selsey and Witterings. I thought I will be alone on those roads. What a traffic. It was car after car after car… Non stop. Between Chichester and Selsey. From Selsey it was the first bit of getting out. Then I found a gravel and then some side roads to Witterings. Both Witterings were absolutely full of cars. West Wittering car park – not a free spot.

Managed to escape through some side roads after suffering the massive traffic headingto Rowlands Castle.

From there I realised that I was getting well into a 100+km for the day, so I headed back to big Tesco’s in Chichester for the evening provisions and then came back to the camp.

Today it was smoked mackerel, prawns, nectarine, peach, avocado and white onion salad. Delicious with a splash of mustard, pepper and salt.

Long hoursin the saddle today. The road from Chichester pretty much past Rowlands Castle was absolutely awful. Nearly 70km of a bone shaker. I’m glad my eyeballs are still in my eye sockets.

In West Sussex even the tiny roads have got better surface than those around the Sea Resorts. And another really appalling thing. No infrastructure for cycling or walking along those main roads. There are so many residents, people running on the main roads. Recipe for disaster.

Time to have a beer.

South Downs Part II – Day 5 – Cycling Meditations & Gluttony for Punishment

It is my 13th year of cycling trips and 11th year of cycling and camping. Through all those trips I have suffered some physical punishment but nothing compared to the joy of the road and the challenge of pushing through all of the obstacles the road presents me with. The physical challenge helps with the recognition of the mental test. Going up and down those hills, not knowing what awaits me round the next corner, speeding to the point of fear and going as slow as it is possible, paying constant attention to the traffic opens up the mindful part of my brain and body.

I believe this is were the joy comes from. Today I went up the Bury Hill. Quite a long stretch of uphill cycling. My bike computer was showing a gradient between 8 and 13%. Only on my way back I saw the sign 20%. Maybe my mindset would have been different if I knew I was going up a 20% hill. Sometimes the ignorance can be a blessing.

Yesterday the rain stopped at 4pm. Then it was just the mighty wind reigning over the hill were the camp is.

Slept like a baby. Breakfast at 8. Some scrambled eggs. Got myself some instant coffee – Azera – thought it might be a good idea. What a mistake. Thankfully I bought only a small can. Should be out of it in couple of days. Never again. Same goes for Jack Daniels in a can. Why did I think it might be a good idea?

Started cycling at about 10. Went on the route to Arundel. From there decided to visit Littlehampton. Few minutes by the sea. Always a joy. Back through Petworth and then shopping in Midhurst.

The wind came from the front only through the Petworth – Midhurst part of the trip and it was blowing strong.

In the campsite had my shower, washing, and then the carnivore feast part II. Loin chops from the farm. What a delicious meal.

Now chilling out with couple of beers and soaking up the sun.

When sheep cough they make rather human noise.

La Vita E Bella.

South Downs Part II – Day 4

The rain camearound at 23.00. it didn’t stop till nearly 8am.

Managed to get my head out, prepare the breakfast, hand over power pack for charging, have the breakfast. And then the rain came down again.

Group of cyclists left in the middle of the heavy shower. Some of the walkers left very early and one couple waited till the weather calmed down a bit.

In all of the madness of the rain chasing me or me chasing the rain I managed to cycle through 65km. Had to put the rain jacket for the last 15 or km. Otherwise completely dry. How did this happen?

The route took care of itself again. I had just the initial idea where to head and then it was just the road. Didn’t have any 17% on the road today but between South Harting and Compton there was a proper stinker. 14-13 % all the way. I was puffing and huffing and managed to get up the slope.

Then managed to hit a bit of flat on the way to Chichester. Managed to get only to big Tesco’s outside Chichester when the rain and the wind begun. It was like apocalyptic nightmare. First took the shelterat Tesco’s petrol station. Then when it didn’t look so menacing I went to the shop. Got some veg and wine. Having a lamb chops from the farm today.

The last bit of the trip was a struggle through the wind and the finest of rain.

The rain stopped at about 16.00. The wind is blowing and is absolutely relentless.

Had my shower under the sky. Washed my clothes. Cooked the lamb chops. They were absolutely delicious. Got some nice free range eggs and pork chops for tomorrow. Good to be on the farm.

Even though the facilities are really basic I would say come to this campsite. Especially if you’re a carnivore.

All washing on the line. Wine in a mug. Garmin Connect is working again. Life is looking good.

South Downs Part II – Day 3

26.07.2020

Dist 77.6 km
Time 4.01
AVG speed 18.3 km/h
Max speed 54 km/h
Cal 1783
Ascent 766 m

First day of cycling around the South Downs.

The rain stopped pretty early yesterday. I had a few drops coming from Midhurst to the campsite. Had a very late supper and then the bed.

This morning scrambled eggs. Was out before 10 am. Had a completely free run with navigation. Just go with the flow.

Sunday, it was motorbikers day. Few very nice and respectful. Going around in groups wearing yellow jackets the first and  the last. Some just might be completely brain-dead. Where’s the rush? Just insane and totally crazy. Speed!!!

The first hill of the day was the biggest challenge. I don’t think I have seen on my bike computer 17% uphill gradient before. The hill between Singleton and Goodwood. The bike was going vertical.

Great day cycling. Getting around places. Changing my mind where to go. Forgot to put lubricanton the chain this morning so it was a bit of a challenge to ride towards the end of the day. All sorted now.

Washing done, cooking done, … chill.

South Downs II – Day 2

Dist 55km
Time 3.31
AVG speed 15.72 km/h
Max speed 49.2 km/h
Cal 1758
Ascent 847 m

Miserable day in the South Downs. Woke up with rain and it didn’t stop till 10 am. So I packed all of dirty stuff and headed to Gail’s. Managed to get to the place without any major showers.

Had a lovely time with Doug and Gail, plus couple of bottles of wine. Before I knew it it was 19.00. Decided to head to the camp. 

It was a long trip back home. Stopped in Midhurst for some basic shopping. It started raining as I was entering the shop and it stopped when I was getting out. Got a bit wet on the way but nothing major.

Had a shower with the moon. Rather exciting. Now chilling out. 

South Downs Part II – Day 1

Dist 109.1
Time 6.09 07
AVG speed 17.7 km/h
Max speed 56.8 km/h
Cal 2840
Ascent 679 m

I had to take the remainder of my holidays before August so I decided to come to one of my favourite places from previous trips. Tried to book the camp in Graffham but they haven’t got facilities working so I looked around and found place in Manor Farm next to Cocking. Facilities very basic but will do for my stay through the week.

Somehow I thought I knew where I was going the first part of the trip to Woking. Got lost couple of times and had to ask uncle Google for help.

Then used navigation most of the way. Apart from the last bit when Googlewas sending me through gravel road in the middle of the field.

Today I cycled a lot along canals and rivers. Got to the road pretty much after Guildford.

Great weather for cycling. Nice temperature, not too windy. A few uphills but nothing really horrific. Apart from the one between Cocking and the farm. 7% all the way, about a 1000m.

Once I set up the camp had to head to Midhurst for a bit of shopping. 7km down and 7km up – pretty much. Going through the big hill again.

Did 110km pretty much in total. Felt ok.

Shower, washing, supper, beer… 8 tents in the whole of the camp.

The adventure continues.

Day 3 – 25 August 2019

I really missed the cycling holiday this summer. It was great to visit Poland and have sort out in the flat, see family and friends. The week by the sea was fantastic and then the Masurian Lakes and couple of trips through forests.

These 3 days in Dorset have been a blessing. Really enjoyed the countryside and the challenge this roads open in front of the cyclist. Today’s trip was a culmination of this beautiful places.

Woke up before 8.00. The usual – stumbled eggs, and some salad and then coffee. Left the camp just around 10 direction Fovant. Before I knew it I was going up a 15% hill, and then another and then another. First hour of the trip I did 13 km only. One of the uphills 15% was rather long maybe 0.5 km. I didn’t think I had it in me to get up this one. But somehow griting my teeth I went slowly up and up and up to the summit. Felt really good.

In Martin popped in to have a bit of a break to open studio. Had a chat with Julie and a nice cup of coffee and a very delicious flapjack. Interesting exhibition of the work of 4 local female artists.

Back on the road I took the turn direction New Forest. Before I knew it I was in Fordingbridge and getting into the pony area. The traffic coming to Fordingbridge was just unbelievable. 6 km of queue of cars.

It was great to see all the heather coming to bloom. All the way nearly purple. Then the landscape changed and I was going through a beautiful forest with some amazing pine trees smell . It started in Hamptworth and went through good few kilometres.

Then it was a quick ride through Salisbury and shopping on the way at the BP station in Barford St Martin. Then back to camp. Supper and a very rewarding can of Guinness.

Tomorrow back to London.

Rant – road kills. So many corpses through the ride. From the smallest birds, through pheasants, squirrels, badgers, weasels, birds of pray to couple of deer, well actually a doe and a dear. At some point yesterday there were 7or 8 animals dead in the space of 30 meters. It was a carnage. I understand that drivers are natural selectors of the wildlife around the world. But the views and the smell something unbearable at moments.