Reading CTC midnight meander to Lymington 21st September

dellzeqq

pre-talced and mighty
Location
SW2
anybody going on this? I got a list of about 37 riders the other day, some I recognised, but most not. Forecast is looking good - chilly, but following wind and dry.

I'm going to spend the entire night with Susie, not worrying about a thing, having no idea where we are or where we're going. Luxury!
 
U

User10571

Guest
........ I'm going to spend the entire night with Susie, not worrying about a thing, having no idea where we are or where we're going. Luxury!
I can imagine that it'll be a bit like being on holiday for you...
 
OP
dellzeqq

dellzeqq

pre-talced and mighty
Location
SW2
Ah, the slow train to Reading! The drunks, the stop, start, stop, start, the frisson when they announce that, horror of horrors, the next stop will be 'Winnersh Triangle'. (To be marooned in Berkshire without even the consolation of white sand and casinos!) And then, Reading Railway Station, which, despite the shopping opportunity tumour tacked on to the southern side, was perfectly acceptable before the wiseacres of Network Rail decided on a two year convulsion for no apparent benefit.

We'd met Malcolm on the train, and Sahar, Georgios, Miranda and Titus were waiting for us at the station. Titus, displaying a worrying amount of home town knowledge, lead us to The Fountain, which is not, as I imagined, a pub, but....a fountain, with water and everything, on the Thames path. The pub arrived in the form of a river cruiser that disgorged Reading's jeunesse doree, who, denied the accent worthy of the name, compensated by falling in to hedges and waving their legs in the air. Titus, the trained observer, confirmed that knickers were in place.

Twenty one happy souls left the river and wandered across Reading's town centre and up a genteel well tree'd avenue to a kind of cycling Spaghetti Junction suspended over the M4. Our leader then took us down well-surfaced lanes shimmering under the lightest coating of rain. We passed through chocolate box countryside at a comfortable pace and I started to pack away my worries, the more to enjoy the company of friends, and one friend in particular. She seemed at one with the world, chatting away to anybody in range. I've a feeling that darkness invested Bramley with a charm it might not possess during the day, but there wasn't much that the night, or even a complete blackout could do for Basingstoke, which will, I'm afraid, be forever A Bad Idea Gone Wrong. We stopped at Tesco for a chat and a snack, then set off south again, up more serious inclines to Farleigh Wallop (I kid ye not) where we stopped to admire the heavens which were putting on the most spectacular show. Then down, down, down along the gentlest of gradients made swifter by a following breeze through Preston Candover, Chilton Candover and Brown Candover to the River Itchen, and Martyr Worthy (the ride now clearly winning the all-time loopy names stakes) before taking a subterranean passage under our second motorway junction which spat us out in to the Shell station just outside Winchester.

Shell proved to be a better bet than Tesco, the margin being a Costa coffee machine. I wouldn't swap the Cabin Cafe for it, but coffee does add a glow to the night, and that, along with the dawn glow to the east helped us shrug off Winchester, a town that makes up for having some nice houses by running a crass one way system around them, and settled in to our transit of Southampton's suburbs, which was not all bad, but not exactly good.

Be that as it may, Simon's route through to and around the estuary takes some beating, and going past St. Mary's Stadium was a bit of a bonus. The ferry terminal hasn't changed overmuch since I was a kid, and it's all the better for that. Long, broad floorboards give it a pier feel, and the chequerplate ramp down to the boat has that whiff of hazard about it that reminds you that, should the not entirely convincing mariners get it wrong, you will drown................

We didn't, though. We did, on the other hand, enjoy our trip down the estuary, passing a huge ferry and a gigantic car transporter from Detroit, before landing at Hythe Pier which is so long that there is a tiny electric railway running along it. We walked, taking in the seagulls, the thousand small boats and the well kept public toilets. Members of South Hants CTC joined the group and guided us south and west across the New Forest on the final stretch of what was already a memorable trip. It became more memorable when we saw a dozen or so ponies in full flight across the road ahead of us. The FNRttC has had its badger and deer moments, but this was an upscale wildlife event.

Lymington's a lovely destination. Small, with a proper waterside, and a railway branch line that shuttles across the water on a viaduct that came out of a Hornby box, it's got a bit of theatre about it that the stupid car park on the front can't deny. Breakfast was very decent and the 'Beach Blonde' beer suited my favourite blonde just nicely. The same happy crew that met up at Reading whiled away the time while hardier souls took to the road. Tired but replete, we walked and pedalled to a station that has just the one platform, but trains that run regularly and quickly to the main line, where we waited no more than ten minutes for an express direct to Clapham Junction. Lunch, sleep, tea, more sleep and then up to find a day far less bright than the early hours of Saturday.

So...........our thanks go to Simon Bird for laying on such a great night out and to the kind folk of Reading CTC who made us so welcome. If he arranges the same trip next year I'd do it again and I'd thoroughly recommend it to you all.
 

Norm

Guest
Fantastic read, DZ, aided by my embarassing knowledge of the areas which you visited (always room for a Nether Wallop)

Thanks a million for writing that.
 

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
Ah Reading....where I spent four splendid years at the University, and a few weekends on a flood plain in Caversham :smile: The service from Waterloo is slooooooow isn't it- after my first couple of trips into the smoke I decided FGW into Paddington was by far the better option (obviously more complicated if you're going by bike from sarf of the river and less time benefit).

Basingstoke: I can only agree. New testing ground for the Army, RAF, perhaps the Yanks would like to do some live bombing runs with B2s and B52s......'cycle routes' are a nightmare to get into town, when you do you want to get out sharpish, only you can't.

Wallops and Candovers: Nice part of the world, been through that neck of the woods a few times. Though in the nutty place name stakes there is, as far as I'm concerned, stiff competition in much of the region. Dorset would win for me- what with the 'puddles and Giddy Green and Toller Porcorum and all manner of double-entendre copses to pass by....

Southampton isn't the most asthetically pleasing of places- like my home town, a combination of wartime remodelling by the Luftwaffe and postwar remodelling by idiots- but the outskirts are lovely. And as for the New Forest: sublime place to ride in, day or night (and at night, it matches anything we've done on an FNRttC for spooky chocolate-box charm. With ponies running across the road to boot). And from my own fleeting visit to Lymington (Wiggle Wight Ferry Sportive last year) it did indeed strike me as a fitting and lovely destination in its own right.

Fixture clashes permitting, I'll try and do this next year. Certainly glad both 'ampsheer overnighters had such a good ride in great conditions!
 

sbird

Über Member
Location
Reading
Ah, the slow train to Reading! The drunks, the stop, start, stop, start, the frisson when they announce that, horror of horrors, the next stop will be 'Winnersh Triangle'. (To be marooned in Berkshire without even the consolation of white sand and casinos!) And then, Reading Railway Station, which, despite the shopping opportunity tumour tacked on to the southern side, was perfectly acceptable before the wiseacres of Network Rail decided on a two year convulsion for no apparent benefit.
.....
So...........our thanks go to Simon Bird for laying on such a great night out and to the kind folk of Reading CTC who made us so welcome. If he arranges the same trip next year I'd do it again and I'd thoroughly recommend it to you all.
It always a pleasure to be able to return a favour and having ridden 4 FNRttC and wondered if they'd work from Reading our second attempt presented the opportunity. So many thanks to those who joined us from London, Brighton and Feltham on this ride. The unplanned stop outside The Woolpack Inn in Totford where reports of a puncture down the ride led to an elongated stop and allowed us to star-gaze for long enough that more and more stars appeared to appear out of the dark black sky will be an abiding memory.

And also thanks to those in Southampton South Hants CTC whose local knowledge certainly helped to enhance the draft route where simple study of maps would have taken us on less interesting roads.

I'll be posting here of more rides to come and not all of them start or end in Reading.
 

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
I'll be posting here of more rides to come and not all of them start or end in Reading.
More dates for the ride diary. Splendid!
 

AKA Bob

Riding a folding bike far too much of the time...
SBird, thank you for a brilliant and enjoyable ride. Those last 10 miles or so into Whinchester will make me smile for a long time! It was also so nice being able to leave home with such a short trip to the start! Maybe next time we could start by the Orarcle Centre to ensure the visual entertainment? So I will look forward to you next 'night' ride and hopefully see you in November for your 'Park and Palaces' ride.
 
What fun! A Night Ride on a Friday to the Seaside under the guidance of someone called Simon - doesnt that sound familiar? - and with fab peeps - how could I miss out on that? OK so it wasn't an FNRttC - copyright Their Leggships - and so there were a few things missing, like the fact that the Leader didn't have a bandage on his knee (although he was wearing shorts!); like the fact that it didn't have an All Up Wall Nuts at the back, a Claud in the middle and an Adrian at the front; like the fact that it didn't have Bungalows as part of the starter speech! But apart from that it was a fine copy. It did have more mudguards than I have ever, ever seen on a night ride and there were panniers and luggage! So clearly there were some pretty awesomely strong cyclists about who could hare up and down hills no problem. It also had Their Leggships hanging out in the middle of the pack which was a rarity and it had a lot of chatting and laughing (which isnt a rarity, obviously!).

My travel plans were a bit over-enthusiastic as I was heading for Reading a lot before Midnight, arriving at 21.40. This is the train that goes to Claudesville and Reading was the first stop so I reminisced of my weekend on The Gower with TC and User1314. That was a fine time indeed.

At the station were George and Sahar who had been able to take a similar timed train which was brill! Sahar arrived with her new wheels and indeed new wardrobe looking, quite frankly, too cool for school She has clearly been to the Susie School of How to Look Good on a Bike. George of course, looked like - George!!!

We headed towards a pub that had been recommended by a local. As we reached it, three rather large and for lack of better words pi$$Ed-and-listing locals staggered towards us. We all looked at each other, tightening the grip on our bikes and thought better of going to this particular pub. However, behind us were two policemen so I asked them where we could go for a drink where our bikes would be safe and they directed us back into the pub we'd just left! A recommendation from three policeman - this has to be ok. Sure enough it was absolutely more than ok, not only did it happily serve decaf cappuccinos but we were actually allowed to take all our bikes into the pub and rest them against a radiator (switched off)! Excellent!

At 1140, Their Leggships arrived, along with a man called Malcolm and we were joined by AKA Bob who showed us all the way to the Fountain where we met a great group of peeps from CTC land. At midnight, we all followed Simon The Leader out of the city, into the night. It was dark, had been raining and was much colder than I had anticipated or planned for. I was a bit concerned as I really was much colder than I wanted to be and I wasn't getting any warmer. I mentioned this to a couple of peeps and we all carried on. After a while we were going along a human size Scaletrix track for bicycles. I have never seen anything like it. It was on very tall legs, and it criss-crossed above roads. We wended our way to the end, joined a road and carried on. At some stage Susie and I actually cycled past His Leggship who calmly said "I thought you might like this" and he handed me his windproof top from his bag. I took it, slightly bemused as to why I would want it right there and then whereupon within five minutes I was descending a hill at some speed realising how cold I would have been had I not been wearing it. Their Dellzeqqships thoughtfulness, kindness and humour remain at a level unmatched. More than a few times Susie made me laugh so loudly I nearly fell off my bike! Absolutely hilarious all night long.

The only time I found things unfunny was when going up a hill a sandwich I ate at a garage was trying to make a reappearance. Never am I to eat a whole sandwich just before I ride my bike. I stopped pedalling and got off my bike for a bit to recover. About 30 seconds later AKA Bob arrived and got off his bike and gave me sympathy and encouragement so that I could ride up the hill again which I duly did.
Susie of course just road up it as though it was flat. I'm not sure she knows what a hill is anymore. As for Sahar, well she is just taking the mick. Without any effort she just glides up everything - only caught out once by being in the wrong gear whereupon AKA Bob stopped to give her encouragement to the top. My most fave moment was at the bottom of a hill when Sahar just moved to the outside and shot past everyone else including Dellzeqq who called out something like "there she goes" and in an instant she was at the top. Brilliant.

I have no idea where we were but it was a very good place to be. The route was rolling and the sky was clear, clear, clear. The P$""£$"£ Fairy made an appearance whilst we were in complete darkness and the rest of us could all study the sky. Orions Belt, the North Star and a blur of the milky way that I have Someone said they saw a shooting star. We heard an owl.

The sky turned that lovely rich navy inky colour and the sun sent a line of red light across the horizon as though it had been drawn with a lazer. The sunrise was lovely and soon we were heading into Southampton. We past the stadium which had more broken glass than a broken glass factory and then we cycled along a waterside cycle path not unlike the route into Southend - definitely wider tho' which I am happy about. (The first time I rode down that was on Raptobike - not a pleasant experience!)

We rode along the estuary to the ferry and had time for a cup of tea and more chatting. So great to meet fab new people who are all so jolly and happy and love riding their bicycles! The boat trip was fun, there was a bit of "err no please don't leave your bike there, that's for the gangplank"(!) kind of thing. We saw some major big ships and some beautiful yachts.

The day had started, the sun was up and we headed to the New Forest. What a treat! I am not sure of its history, nor why it's named as it is but it was fun to cycle past cows on verges, seeing ponies being rounded up like something out of a Western and past estuaries and bridges. Through villages with thatched cottages, up a hill or two and into Lymington which has to be one of the prettiest places I have been to. We went down to the harbour and sat in a fine establishment that sells brown beer called Blond. I mean no wonder people seem pi**ed. A delicious breakfast was served although not quite in the order ordered but as we waited we focussed on the sunshine and our cycling achievement. I had already cycled 30 miles (no that's not a Susie round up!) before heading to Paddington so whilst we were sitting in the sunshine I enjoyed the fact that I had cycled over 100 miles since I woke up on Friday morning. 76 of those were in mighty fine company and for that, Simon Bird, I thank you - enormously - for putting such a fun ride together. I took some pics which will hopefully be posted soon (although they are my usual rubbish standard, even with my new camera which has only fallen from my bike twice since Ive had it...!)

Thank you to all you - especially to the lovely Backmarkers for being so kind and patient.

Mice..

PS I think I need to highlight my dodgy sense of humour, alongside my enormous enthusiasm for cycling - I don't give a jot who rides what type of bike as long as they are having fun and indeed that they are riding their bike and loving it nearly or even moreso than I love riding my bike - as a caveat to anyone who I might misconstrue anything written in the above post. It was fab to be there and I very much look forward to taking part in another one.
 

Attachments

Top Bottom