Saturday 23 July 2019
Summer Solstice Sunny Saunter!
High pressure! Not just the first time this month that we had seen this welcome meteorological phenomenon giving us a glorious day, but also what an unprepared ride leader puts on herself the day before, not having sorted the route! So having forgotten to speak to Gold Hill café about the possibility of an early influx, we got there promptly to brief them and ward off any folks’ attempts to encourage them to open early….she doesn’t like that!
11 people arrived and set out to the pealing of bells from the church and soon Jenny also peeled off to play tennis! I think that was wise as she avoided the hill up behind Iwerne Minster, but as promised this was the worst of the day – so no apologies to fixed gear Mike P! Down through Tarrant Gunville we turned left for our short off-road section linking across to the pretty village of Chettle. On Friday we had done a recce of the path fearing that the week’s rain may have turned it into a Matten-type track i.e. muddy! but it was entertainingly narrow with some herbage, roots, gates and electric fencing to keep people on their toes! We even cleared the grasping bramble shoots for Mary’s sake! Don’t expect this treatment every time!! We also chanced upon the owners of Chettle House…..m’lud!
A brief navigation fart on exiting Chettle was cleared by a glance at Dave’s phone. There was no choice with only one road leading from Chettle!
Down the Gussage valley, disappointing Ron that the ford was dry and on to lunch at the Cranborne Garden Centre. Mary left immediately having seen a sign for Shaftesbury as she was being musical later on. Ken departed in the prepositioned car to release the beasts.
The remaining number filled the 2 reserved tables outside and had a pleasant lunch.
Richard decided to leave us to go and sample the cakes at Compton Abbas airfield so the dwindling number set off in a southerly direction toward Wimborne. We grazed around the edge, through the cemetery and onto the 12 mile stretch to Blandford along the Stour on Cycle Route 25. Easy riding and scenic, we passed an enormous event of cyclists on anything from trikes to BMX and dressed in 1940s(?) gear. But then horror! The stretch between White Mill and Blandford had been top dressed that morning leaving a horrid rough, dusty surface with numerous deep piles of gravel. Luckily we all stayed upright. To dampen the dust we stopped at Brasserie 65 in town, except Ron who hit the Trailway for home. Milkshakes and discussion about the flashpoint of various fuels left Charlie so confused that he managed to pay for nothing he had actually ordered! We think they owe him a Danish pastry!
Part C of the ride was up through Bryanston school…with permission of course, although it was the busiest road we encountered due to the closure of Durweston bridge. Onto the Trailway, although Mike P opted to head for home on the road as he needed some more miles, and off at Shillingstone. Just as I stopped in Child Okeford to bid my remaining riders farewell, Mickey Drippin’ hit the floor beside me… cleats?! And just when I thought it had been an incident-free ride!
My mileage was 60 and well done Roger who also did his longest ride this year. It was pretty amazing that after 3 rough sections no one had a puncture. Thanks to all who joined me on the (nearly) Longest Day ride and the best news is that I think I’m about to have a long relationship with my new saddle…..Bliss!