Saturday, 16 July 2011

'Bike Blog' - Sunday, 16 March 2008

Because, who wouldn't want to cycle from Portsmouth to Southampton?!  Back in the day, when I actually used to ride my bike...
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Well, it’s been over a month since Zainab and I hauled ourselves onto our bikes and set out for
Southampton, and I’ve still not had the courtesy to sit and blog about it. Unfortunately, tho, five weeks is a long time in my head, and I’ve forgotten most of the trip, so not really much to blog about!

After a bit of a warm up:

 we set off.  Three times.  First time we had to go back so Zainab could re-adjust her breaks – we thought maybe it might be a good idea for them to be working; second time, we’d got halfway down the road when we realised we’d left our amazing SUSTRANS flags, which did nothing for streamlining and speed (like we were ever gonna go fast anyway!), but looked pretty cool.
We ferried over to Gosport:
then hit the road to Lee-On-Solent, which, amazingly enough had cycle paths:
although you wouldn’t think it, from all the pedestrians who insisted on walking ultra s l o w right in front of our bikes, even with the ting-ting of my new bell.
It got better when we hit the coastal paths - beautiful views of the sea and no traffic:
But also quite a lot of mud!
Caked in mud and a little scratched-up from encounters with narrow hedged pathways, we made it back out onto the road at Warsash, and encountered the first of many hills.  At first, we tried to be uber-enthusiastic, and cycle up them.  After coming to a complete stop midway up the first one, I gave up and decided cycling uphill was a mug’s game.  It took Zainab a couple more hills to realise pushing really was the way to go:
We got the Hamble ferry (tiny dinky pink thing that took about ten passengers a time)
 and got back on the coastal path, and on with the pedalling.  We passed Nettley Abbey, avoided knocking over all the little kids from the families who’d suddenly apparated, and got back on to the roads.
Much pedalling later, and this sweet, sweet vision greeted us:
Somehow, we’d made it! We had one more bridge to cross before we hit ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Southampton proper though – literally.  The Itchen Bridge has to be the scariest thing I have ever encountered on my bike, ever. It was like being on the slope of a roller-coaster all the way down – Zainab insisted we wouldn’t die, but I didn’t really believe her.  It was quite a way to finish up the ride – freewheeling down what felt like at least a 45 degree gradient, with cars, trucks and buses zooming by, and survival depending on my brakes not giving out at the bottom.
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& that was it, really.  We arrived in
Southampton centre about 4½ hours after setting off from Southsea – we could have probably done it in about 3 hours, if I hadn’t stopped every five minutes to take pictures or check the map.  We weren’t all that tired or achey, but were quite covered in mud, and I spent the rest of the day a little dizzy (I blame the Itchen Bridge).  The worst part was probably cycling to the theatre where Mark was performing – it was dark, the road was too big & busy to cycle on, and the path was massively bumpy & cracked.  We also managed to get lost in the campus.  It was all worth it though – the show was, if possible, even funnier second time round, with Mark on top form, despite almost disappearing into the abyss (otherwise known as the orchestra pit) in front of the stage a few times…
Big huge massive thank yous to everyone that’s sponsored us so far, and magical thanks to Mark for bigging us up by blog & on stage.  We’ve reached about half of our target, and the sponsor page’ll be open for a while yet, so if you’ve not managed to sponsor us just yet, please do – it’d be wicked to have been able to raise £500 for sustrans.  Just click here:
Many thanks, and kudos for reading,
w xxx

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