Sunday 1st July – Poundbury to Portland in sunshine
With Martin away ‘oop North’ and Pete Mc busy elsewhere, it fell to Tom, Pete T, Lindsay and Rick to keep the P.P. flag flying for this bright but unseasonably cool start to a ride that would encompass coastal, rural, and town cycling.
Setting off from Poundbury shortly after 7.15 a.m. the fabulous four threaded their way through the back roads of Dorchester and on the cycle path that runs alongside the A354, heading for Weymouth. With a strong headwind that was to accompany us all the way to the tip of Portland, progress was steady but certainly a long way off Tour de France standards!
Exiting by the Weymouth Morrison’s supermarket, we eased our way alongside Radipole Lake, then took the cycle path that wends its way under the network of main roads before emerging at the bottom of Abbotsbury Road. However, before we could also emerge, Tom and Pete fell victim to a hidden, thick and very low-slung tree branch. Tom’s helmet took the force of it, but Pete, following close behind, was knocked of his steed, and suffered a nasty bruising of his stomach courtesy of his left handlebar end stop.
Undeterred Pete was soon back in the saddle, and we entered the delightful Rodwell Trail (see photos), which we followed to Ferrybridge, entrance to the causeway that took us across to the Isle of Portland…and the start of a mile long ascent of the one serious hill on today’s ride.
Reaching the top, we took in the simply stunning views of the Chesil Beach, stretching 18 miles to Bridport, and the panorama of Portland Harbour and Weymouth seafront. From this superb vantage point, it took us just another 10 or so minutes to complete our ride down through Fortuneswell and Easton, arriving at the ‘Bill’ at 9.00 a.m. After a sumptuous snack of sausage rolls, Cadbury’s and Milo chocolate bars, we began the homeward journey.
Aided by a now strong tail wind, we soon climbed back up to the top of the island – albeit via much gentler gradients – before swooping down the previously-scaled hill towards the coastal hamlet of Chiswell. Back on the causeway cycle path, we quickly returned to the mainland, executed Weymouth’s new and already notorious Boot Hill ‘intelligent’ traffic system, before heading back to Morrisons where we headed on to and up the Dorchester Road towards Upwey. Leaving the road at the new Bincombe entrance to the relief road, we were soon heading back to our starting point at Poundbury, which we reached at 11.15 a.m. Total distance – 35 miles; riding time – 3.5 miles. Avg. speed 10 m.p.h. Verdict – a great ride, in fair-to-good weather, with excellent companions!