This week’s on this day post is from 13th-May-2019, my year of recovery after the sepsis I contracted the year before. I had already been to France a month or so early. But I now had a window where I didn’t have any appointments. So why not make the most of my time and head off to one of my favourite places to cycle.
Monday 13th May. Bognor Regis to Portsmouth. 33 miles.
After realising that I’ve got ten days where I don’t have any hospital or doctor’s appointments, I’ve decided to head to France and Saint-Malo. And I’m currently sitting on the Brittany ferry Bretagne, waiting to depart Portsmouth.
I don’t know where or what direction I’m going to head once I get to France. All I know is that I’m going to Saint-Malo, where I should arrive at about eight o’clock tomorrow morning. Hopefully, overnight I’ll decide where I’m heading, or maybe not!!
The staff on the boat tonight have been brilliant and have been helping me out no end. When I went to get supper in the self-service restaurant, the staff were there on hand to carry my tray and see me to a table. If I had known that I would get this kind of service, I would have bought a crutch long ago!
After supper, I spent an hour or so in the bar, which wasn’t very enjoyable. It’s like Butlins on sea with all the cheesy cabaret! I soon left. After all, I still get pretty tired and need my beauty sleep.
Thursday 12th-May-2022 Adgestone to home Bognor Regis bike ride. 44 miles. Well, I’ve made it home, and I’m really surprised at my mileage. I think something may have gone wrong! I know the ride home from Portsmouth is twenty-two miles or thereabouts. So twenty miles on the island is a little out!
I know I went the long way round to the Fastcat in Ryde, but not a twenty-mile detour, surely. I can only think that on the Fastcat, the censor on the speedo must have been triggered, clocking up the extra miles. I’ll check on Google maps later, but I’m pretty sure it’s wrong.
I must say that although these past few days have been hard work. And I haven’t covered anywhere near my usual mileage. It’s been really enjoyable and good to be out and about. And camping. Although I’m not so sure about the Dawn Chorus! As lovely as it is to hear, just not at 4.30 am!
As I said earlier, I went the long way round to Ryde via Bembridge, St Helens and Seaview. While I was in Bembridge taking some photos, I talked to the coxswain of the lifeboat. Guy, the coxswain, was very keen on cycle touring, so we had a good chat. He was also a solo sailor, which I must admit I admire, being out on the seas all on your own. It’s a lot braver than sitting on a bike. At least I can just stop anywhere and pitch a tent.
He was a really lovely bloke. And if we ever get into trouble on the Isle of Wight boy’s day out sailing, I’ll know who rescued us!
As I’ve enjoyed these past few days so much, I might go away next week. One of my reasons for going away this week was to try and pre-empt my operation! After all, it worked last year when I went away. But it doesn’t seem to have worked this time. Maybe I’ll have to go on a proper tour somewhere!?
Wednesday 11th-May-2022 bike-ride Brighstone to Adgestone. 18 miles. The days go from strength to strength. Not! Even fewer miles today, but then I was never going to do too many today anyway.
I did wonder about staying at Grange Farm for another night. But the wind was forecast to get even stronger than it had been, along with rain. It’s not a particularly sheltered campsite there on the cliff’s edge. And I’m not in the most waterproof tent. I’m in my MSR. Besides, I would have only got bored if I’d stayed.
I was going to head for Newport and see my old mate Malcolm. But that hill out of Shorwell put me off again. Instead, I cycled along the old Isle of Wight cycle route, which we used back in the day. I knew there was still a bit of a hill on that route, but at least it wasn’t as long as the Shorwell hill. And this hill was on quieter roads so that I could weave all over the place.
Those hills really do hurt. Cycling along the flat I’m okay (isn’t everybody?!?) But hills aren’t good. I now know how everybody used to feel. I’ve never been a great one for riding up hills. And I’d always prefer to cycle a few extra miles to avoid a climb. But on the Isle of Wight, there’s no avoiding them. I think I’ll have to go cycling in The Netherlands.
Great timing today; I made it to the campsite at Adgestone and managed to pitch my tent just before the wind and rain came. Or rather windier weather, there’s been a strong wind all day.
I’m not too sure what I’m doing tomorrow. It all depends on the direction of the wind. And how much medication I have left!
Tuesday 10th-May-2022 Brockenhurst to Brighstone Isle of Wight bike-ride. 27 miles. A damp start to the day, which I was hoping to avoid. The weather forecast said the rain was coming in at nine o’clock, they were wrong! I think it started around six o’clock, nothing bad, just enough to be annoying and make the tent wet.
As you can see, I’ve cycled a huge distance today! I’ve been phaffing and dithering about all day as to where I was going. In fact, the only decision I made without changing was to come to the Isle of Wight.
First of all, I was coming to Brighstone. Then I wasn’t. I was going to Newport and making a decision there. But then I ended up at Brighstone, went to the campsite, took a photo, and then left! I got a few miles down the road and changed my mind again! And came back.
The hills on the Isle of Wight had gotten the better of me. Not that I’d had very many. But the few I’ve had have hurt. And to get out of Brighstone, there’s a big hill at Shorwell, which will be better for me on fresh legs.