cycling in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and beyond…..

Danebury 150

One of the reasons  I go on the Sunday ride (and there are others such as just enjoying being on the bike and the companionship) is to get over the stresses of the week.  So having to decide whether I was going to go on the Danebury 150 given the weather foreast, which bike to ride and what to wear doesn’t reduce the stress.  And having faffed for too long and driven in the car along the roads I would have ridden – rather than going the car-friendly route – and struggling to find a parking spot I was late. Everyone had set off.    Huge thanks to Nick for registering me at top speed and ringing Peter to say I was chasing behind.  I should catch up at Whitchurch.  No idea why the usual 10min-grace-period-for-a-puncture-on-route delay to the start was not observed.  But anyway I set off in haste and hoped the weather would improve.

Luckily for me, Peter Clive, Ann, Chris and Alan dawdled and stopped for a dropped chain and I caught up with them before Farnham – which significantly improved my mood as I was not sure that I would make Whitchurch on my own if it got any wetter .  But having pushed hard I was now getting cold.  An unfortunate puncture for Alan meant I had time to put on a an extra layer which did the trick.  And as the rain increased I deployed my rainlegs whilst wondering when I became a fully paid up masochist.  Rainlegs are great – they keep an important part of you dry and warm – the downside is the stick that you get from some of your companions – which happened at Whitchurch.  Great cake though – which tasted even better as the rain start to pour down outside.  Our coffee break might have been extended a little bit.

Finally braving the great outdoors once again we set off for Danebury and the weather steadily improved.  The ride was uneventful and taken at a steady pace, held back a bit by the wind.  Danebury was marked by the taking of a photo and a selfie. The less said about both the better.  Lunch in Stockbridge and the food got my internal combustion engine going and warmed me right through.  On to  New Alresford through beautiful countryside and past innumerable thatched cottages that look amazing from the outside but I imagine them to be dark inside and the regular re-thatching a financial millstone.  But what lovely villages and hamlets to live if you want to get away from the city.  The sun came out and it was a lovely ride.  On to new  Alresford and we arrived at the station just as the station master was walking away with his stamp.  Not to worry, tea and cake were waiting.

The final push back to Elstead felt like the end of a long ride and the temperature was beginning to drop.  The new pennant was a welcome sight as we rolled back in the Elstead.  Even more welcome was the tea and food –  huge thanks to Nick and Marion for such a wonderful spread full of treats that really hit the spot. Great end to a great ride.