Yesterday, Mr Brennan and I returned from our adventure round France.
Day 1 – Portsmouth – Redhill, 64miles, 2,950 ft climbing
We had a leisurely start because Brennan had been busy coming 8th in the Tour of Sussex and wasn’t chomping at the bit to exit the house at 8am (I was). By the time we were packed and good to go, it was about 11.30am – but this being said, we did have until 11pm to get the 70 or so miles to Portsmouth.
Getting used to the touring bike took a couple of miles – the fact that your are suddenly so much wider, that you actually have to push quite hard on the flat, and that you need to utilise a fair bit of core strength to hold the bike underneath you when out the saddle. Still – we had plenty of time to become accustomed…
We planned a route that included a pit stop in Petworth – a beautiful little town where we were accosted by a very friendly Philosophy student from Sussex Uni – whom I lent a puncture repair patch to and discussed politics with. He went on his way, and was replaced by an older couple who wanted to know where we were going with all our kit. We actually seemed to be attracting curious strangers like honey does bees – but thankfully they didn’t all need puncture supplies.
There was a big fat climb towards the end – but I’d been so well forewarned, that I was quite pleased to reach the top and discover it wasn’t so awful as expected. I’d had a few warm-up little climbs to test the bike – and it didn’t handle AS BADLY as I’d expected but there certainly is an art to climbing out the saddle on a tour laden bike.
Reaching Portsmouth, we got some incredibly yummy dinner – lots of refillable salad and coke, and prepared to try to sleep in the reclining seats on the ferry.
Arriving at the port, we met a fellow traveller who had an awesome Brookes saddle with elegant matching bar tape on a classy bike that had recently sent him End-to-End – and a bloke from London Dynamo who was fairly chatty..
The ride looked like this:
My huge breakfast paid off when we reached a mass of holiday towns around lunch time that were basically uninhabited – the villages ruined by holiday makers with second homes, we supposed. It was like a 30 mile stretch of hay-bail moment. Maurice was starting to dream in baguette, but I was still full of breakfast, which was helpful since he’s less of a bonk risk than me on long rides when hunger strikes.