My second trip this year included a ferry. Not to a different country though; the Isle of Wight was my destination.Arriving in Portsmouth by bicycle meant I could use the foot passenger only catamaran that landed me in Ryde, my base for two nights. I hadn't thought of using the hovercraft, I was under the impression it was no longer in use. I talked to my sister about my holiday and she mentioned them. Gone are the huge craft capable of carrying cars. These are much smaller, they do carry bikes. But they have to be packaged as cargo. The vessel I used has cycle racks, so much less hassle.
The trip to Portsmouth.
It was a good journey, rolling hills that were not too much of a test. Except for a very steep climb after about 40 miles, it peaked at 20%, then 15 miles later another at over 15%.
I arrived at Midhurst needing lunch. A very busy town, I found a seat outside the Midhurst bakery.
Delicious coffee and the best vegan "sausage" rolls. The filling was curried veg, I had two.
|waiting for the food to be warmed at Midhurst bakery|
Interesting place names.
Unfortunately not long after lunch on a narrow country lane an idiot who was either too impatient, didn't care or incompetent overtook when there wasn't enough room. It took me off the bike.
Three people stopped. Two women had first aid training and a huge kit. They cleaned and patched up my knee and elbow. The third, Robert, rang 111. I discussed what happened and how I felt. It was decided I didn't need an ambulance, which was good. Robert suggested I take the lift in the horse box offered by the two women to the nearest station and head home. I declined, the bike was rideable and I really wanted to get to the island. Luckily I had obtained the name, number and reg from the idiot because by the time I had been patched up she had gone. Robert was the last to leave, staying until I had got my head together and could carry on. It was whilst we stood and chatted that I assessed my situation. My gilet was shredded, the jersey underneath had damage to the shoulder, and my shorts had a huge hole in them. I used some gauze bandage to stop the grazes sticking to what was left of the garment and to cover my dignity.
My first view of the coast.
I had intended to walk around the naval dockyard and take pictures of HMS Victory etc. Not surprisingly I didn't feel like it.
|HMS Warrior opposite the ferry/train terminal.|
I did take a couple of pictures from the ferry.
The ferry docks at the end of Ryde Pier.
It was a short walk up the hill to my hotel. I must have looked a bit of a mess, but no-one at the ferry or hotel made any mention of it.
Staying in one place for more than a night was a welcome change, especially considering the situation I found myself in. I'll also ensure I have company in the future. Which will please my family.
Last month's trip had me checking out every morning. Traveling to a new place by bike is very rewarding, knowing I achieved it by my own effort. But it was nice to return to the same place in the evening. Maybe my future plans will change now. Instead of constantly moving on I could base myself in one place and ride loops each day.
Another change; I wasn't alone, on the island at least. Stefan was my guide. I'd never met him face to face before.
Later I tweeted my plan to take a trip to the island. Stefan suggested we could meet and he'd show me around.
A couple of weeks before departure we had a video call. We talked about what I wanted to do, and where I'd like to visit. Marcia was within earshot some of the time and remarked afterwards that he seemed like a nice man; high praise.
I sent Stefan a message to update him. The planned ride was obviously off. I was feeling pretty down and sorry for myself. He replied saying he'd drive to meet me at the cafe as we'd discussed previously. I hadn't fancied the breakfast offering from the hotel. A full fry-up veg style was also expensive at £9.99.
We drove the route discussed a couple of weeks earlier. And chatted about our lives, thoughts and plans. Probably more so than if we'd been on the bikes.
It was just what I needed. He is an easy going friendly guy. The day was absolutely brilliant.
|st helens church ruins nodes point|
CHARLES ANDERSON PELHAM
EARL OF YARBOROUGH
OF YARBOROUGH IN THE COUNTY OF LINCOLN
OF APPULDURCOMBE IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT
D.C.L. F.R.S. F.S.A.
WHOSE BENEVOLENCE KINDNESS, HEART
ENDEARED HIM TO ALL WHO KNEW HIM
AS TESTIMONY AFFECTION AND RESPECT
BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION
Stefan then drove me back to my hotel. The steps tracker on my watch recorded over six miles of walking. It certainly didn't feel like it.
That night I had dinner in an Italian restaurant. At first I was alone, it was just after opening time. The dining room soon filled up. I had wanted to eat there on the Sunday night but by 18:30 it was fully booked.
After dinner I went for a walk. And discovered the hovercraft.
Certainly not the behemoths of yesteryear.
Tuesday morning and time to go home. I woke early, packed, collected my bike and headed out along the pier. Breakfast was from the Seagull Cafe at the end.
|seagull cafe wightlink terminal ryde pier|
I'd just missed a departure, but I didn't mind. It gave me time eat some porridge and drink a latte.
At the train station I bought a ticket from the office, we need to have these and not allow them to be closed. I asked if I needed to change during my journey. The guy behind the counter looked pleased and said "no you look just fine dressed as your are". It made me smile. He informed me Americans especially like this joke. A machine wouldn't have been the same.
|waiting for my train|
I changed at Gatwick, heading for another at Redhill. Unfortunately a points failure further up the line meant my final connection was cancelled. So I rode the last 7.5 miles to home.
A final thought. The roads that I saw on the island were well surfaced, great for riding on. It's the holiday season and they weren't that busy. Just like the standard European countries beloved of my fellow cyclists. Okay there aren't any incredible climbs, but I'll definitely be back to sample what is available. I wrote about the impact of holidays, the Isle of Wight has good travel connections. You don't need to fly for a start. I know the weather might not be as predictable, but no-one ever melted when they got rained on.
Info about the dinosaurs at Blackgang Chine.
Yelf's Hotel. An old style hotel, that is a bit tatty around the edges. The staff were friendly and helpful, if not that observant. The bike storage was in the cellar so very secure. If your bike is heavy I'd remove any luggage before taking it down there. The ramp is very steep. Don't load up until you have it in the courtyard for the same reason. Also on Monday I had been told there would be someone to unlock the gate, but I couldn't find anyone. I eventually left a message with one of the people serving breakfast that I wouldn't require the bike.
I told the receptionist on Monday evening I'd need to checkout early, before breakfast, the next day. She left a note for the night porter. He knocked on my room door just after seven and made sure I had the bike sorted and in the main bar area for me to leave shortly after.
Wightlink Ferry. Quick efficient service, joined to Portsmouth train station so it's easy to get to. There is another station, the one I left from. Just a short distance away; it's called Portsmouth and Southsea. Trains leave for London via Gatwick.
About Stefan. Exec & Leadership Coach. He also trains baristas and is a musician.
The Freshwater Coffee House An award winning establishment. Definitely visit if you are in the area.
Artist The Little Boat IW. You can buy prints online, he does commissioned pieces too.