Day 1: London to Brockenhurst - An Old Man in the New Forest - CycleBlaze

May 10, 2013

Day 1: London to Brockenhurst

Day 1
(and once again, I forgot to switch off the timer, so the trip out of London can be disregarded!)
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Ahhhhhhhhhh...........There are few joys more invigorating to the modern, city-bound man - due in no small part, of course, to the environment in which he is forced to spend so much of his time during the hours he toils - than a night spent in the forest. So close to the earth whence he sprang; so close to the nature that his forefathers knew and loved.A man could be content forever here.We are in the New Forest, and it is divine. So without further ado, gentle reader, I shall talk you through the route both geographical and spiritual which brought us here.This morning's rise was not an easy one. Snuggled in behind Penelope, what man could tear himself from the warmth? Eventually, at 06:20, I managed to extricate myself from bed, and only then did I remember that last night's packing... erm, hadn't happened. Penelope had done her packing duty, but I had been too lazy to do so. Once that task had been completed, Penelope and I struck out on the familiar run into Central London, to spend a full day being bored senseless whilst yearning for the open road at the handlebar of the world's greatest touring bicycle. At 17:30, I finally tasted freedom, and Penelope was waiting outside my office, as she had promised. We saddled up and headed first south along Aldersgate Street, and then SW towards Waterloo Bridge, and thence to the station that bears the same name.Peckish, we treated ourselves to a spicy bean burger and fries from Burger King, and eventually forced our way onto the 19:05 to Brockenhurst.

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I hate trains. All right, let me qualify that. I hate rush-hour (or almost rush-hour) trains, when one is trying to get on with a bicycle. British train companies really have to get their effing finger out and get it into their thick effing skull that cycling is no longer a 'fringe interest'. Whether it is for financial reasons, for health reasons or simply a 'lifestyle choice', more and more people are getting into cycling, and frankly, the train companies tossing a mangy bone our way in the shape of a desultory two or three carriages per train, really isn't cutting it anymore. Because of this attitude, Penelope and I had to struggle to find a carriage where we could put the bikes. Even then, the only support offered was a 'slot' which was supposed to hold the front wheel, but which had the undesirable side-effect of making the bike rock as if they were going to fall over.

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The piss-off effect is multiplied by the retards who insist on getting on the train right at the first carriage, and walking all the way up to their seat, in the train. Excuse me, you mouth-breathing inbreds, but if you're going to the front of the train, is there any particular reason why you don't walk up the bloody platform?Oh, but of course there's a reason. It wouldn't be quite so annoying for other passengers if you walked up the platform.Silly me.Eventually, we alighted at Brockenhurst, and got another taste of how this country really hasn't got a clue about how to run trains: no lift at the station. All right, I turned forty-six last week, and I have enough strength to lift a fully-laden LHT up and down a set of stairs, but what about a woman touring alone? What about a person in a wheelchair? What about an older person unable to lift the bicycle? Unclip the panniers, carry the unloaded bike, and then go back to find a pannier has been nicked?Get it together, Network Rail!Anyway, Hollands Park campsite is no more than two miles to the north, and we were very lucky with the weather: we could feel the first spits of rain just as we pulled into the campsite. The staff at the front gate were very helpful: gave us a map, explained to us where we could camp, and so we cycled peacefully into the oasis of calm of the site. There are ponies walking around - not wild, but feral (and thus owned by someone), but it is a very pleasant experience to cycle along at walking pace, to hear nothing but distant traffic, and to see ponies grazing by the side of the road. We settled into a spot on the right of the road, opposite the second toilet block - N 50° 50' 07" W 1° 34' 06" for the techies in the audience. The rain was still light as we set up the tent, but was threatening to get bothersome, so we hurried to get everything set up - especially since the inner tent really has to go up before the outer. It's for this reason that we're giving serious consideration to going for a tent that allows us to put the fly up before the inner goes under it. Hilleberg does this, if I recall correctly. Something to consider before our big US trip in three years.After everything was just 'so', we sought refuge inside the tent, after having locked the bikes to each other. As we sit and write these words, the rain sounds torrential outside, and we are snug as two bugs in a rug. It's not all perfect, since we're in separate sleeping bags, but shall definitely remedy that by A Dutch of Class. Good night...

Today's ride: 14 miles (23 km)
Total: 14 miles (23 km)

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Mike AylingJohn
Your links to Crazyguy (a dutch of class) doesn' t work - guess you have been deleted as have I


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5 years ago
John McIntyreTo Mike AylingHi Mike. Yeah, I know. I need to find the time to go through them all and cull the dead links. :-|

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5 years ago