Saturday 16th February. Salisbury to Bognor Regis. 78 miles

Field tree river

Well I didn’t get very far today, before I suffered yet another puncture! I’d only gone about 2 miles! I’ll order a new tyre first thing tomorrow morning.

Misty field
Its been a miserable day weather wise

Its been a good ride today, its felt as though I’ve been going downhill mostly! Which if you look at a map it is, Salisbury is above Bognor!?!?

Lane and trees
Quite country lanes

I’ve been a good boy today, I’ve stuck to cycle routes all day! Route 24, Salisbury to Eastleigh. Route 23, Eastleigh to Southampton and then route 2 back home!

I even went on the ‘Pink Ferry” from the Hamble to Warsash, and the tide was out! Thankfully I never slipped over on the slippery stones getting off the ferry.

Model train
Came across this in a park in Eastleigh

Its been a good few days away, getting around and seeing some of my regular haunts, I’ve really enjoyed myself! And hope to do a few more trips before I go back into hospital!

Friday 15th February. Swanage to Salisbury. 56 miles

Hills and trainline

So much for going to Devizes today!

Castle, hills and railway

Corfe castle early this morning

All was going well until I reached Blandford Forum, or rather just past it.

The signs weren’t good and I do mean signs! They said that the road was closed at Melbury Abbas seven miles down the road!

Road signs

I’m sure it’ll be okay

I know I moaned about the lack of signs the other day, so did I pay any attention, no not at all! I just continued merrily down the road!

As I cycled along, every junction I passed had a sign telling me that the road ahead was closed, but still I continued on!

Road signs

More bad signs

I passed sign after sign and took no notice! Then a police car with its lights flashing went past, followed by an ambulance, a fire engine, another police car, another fire engine and two more ambulances!

Now I was starting to get a little worried not only was the road supposed to be closed, but potentially there was also a nasty accident!

About two miles from Melbury Abbas where the road was supposed to be shut a police car came flying back up the road towards me and stopped in the middle of the road!

“I suppose your closing the road?” I asked

“Yes” said the policeman, “but you should be fine to continue on!”

Things were looking up, surely the accident apart, he wouldn’t have told me to continue if the road was actually closed, would he?

Surely enough a mile up the road I came across the accident, which judging by all the emergency services that were there and the air ambulance, it was something pretty serious!

I got off my bike and made my way through the waiting traffic and made my way to the emergency vehicles, there I spoke to the fire chief, who said there was no way I was going to get through! But if I walked around one of the fire engines there was a turning on the right, which I could take, which was a much prettier route for me!

Man and hills

Somewhere on Cranborne Chase

Prettier! That meant hills, long steep hills!

It was shortly after this detour, well shortly in miles, not short in time! That I’d had enough of the steep hills with 15% gradients! And changed direction!

I now headed for Salisbury and decide to stop there tonight. Where I’m going to head tomorrow I don’t know. I might head home as I’ve got to be home for the doctors on Monday anyway!

Green fields
Don’t ask me where I was lost!

Despite not being able to do as many miles as I use to, I’m still enjoying being on the road! And if my legs come back they do, if not that’s fine also!

As I’ve always said, it doesn’t matter how many miles you do, as long as your enjoying it!

Thursday 14th February. Sandown to Swanage. 56 miles.

White cliffs and sea

Another day and another puncture! Although I don’t think I was quite as useless today! Probably because of my practice run yesterday! And when I think back, that was probably the first puncture that I’ve had to fix since I was in Nepal in 2016!

Maybe I should think about getting a new tyre!

As I was fixing my puncture in a layby on the island, the coastguard turned up, then the council, then a marine biologist!

Upside down bike
Repairs at the side of the road

Apparently there was a dead dolphin washed up on the beach, poor thing, made me feel a bit sad!

But apart from the puncture and the dolphin it’s still been a good day.

The weather’s been gorgeous, with lovely warm sun all day, it’s felt really spring like!

Road sign
An old familiar road on the Isle of Wight

Had a good ride along the south coast of the Isle of Wight, saw my mate Gordon the alpaca, as I rode past Grange Farm campsite.

Man and alpaca
Garry and Gordon last year

Didn’t stop to speak to him though he was too far away, and anyways he probably wouldn’t remember me!

Sea and cliffs
White cliffs on the Isle of Wight

After cycling across the Isle of Wight, I caught the ferry to Lymington.

I couldn’t believe how busy the roads were! I don’t remember them being that busy last year, but maybe I was too drugged up on pain relief then!

Boat on calm water
Calm seas on the crossing from the Isle of Wight

I’ve decided that I’m not fully over this sepsis thing after all! My legs are constantly aching and everything I do is like a major effort!

Which is my reason for not camping tonight! The cold doesn’t worry me, it’s just all the effort involved in putting a tent up, walking possibly a mile to have a shower, crawling around in a tent, and then in the morning having to pack it all away!

Trees and marshes
Isle of Purbeck

No I think I’ll give camping a miss for a little while yet! Although saying that, I’ve still got it in my head that I’m going to camp tomorrow!

So instead of camping, I’m staying in a youth hostel tonight!

Bunk beds
My room for the night

Wednesday 13th February. Bognor Regis to Sandown IOW. 50 miles.

Field and sky

Well that was another day that didn’t go according to plan!

I was heading for Swanage and was doing fairly well!

If you look at a map, the best and quickest way to Swanage from Bognor, is via the Isle of Wight, on a bike that is!

So I cycled to Portsmouth, caught the ferry, got to the island and got a puncture!

Well me being my normal useless self, that I seem to be these days, it took me well over an hour to fix! And it was early afternoon by the time I was back on the road!

Half a mile up the road I stopped again for some reason, I can’t really remember why, I might have been trying to see ferry times, I don’t know! Anyway while I was parked up in a bus stop, an old lady came past walking her dog. Well he was a lively little thing jumping up at me and wagging his tail, which I didn’t mind at all, he was lovely!

Dog jumping up
The over friendly but cute little dog

Well the long and short of it is, she could talk for England! And I think I must have been there for more than half an hour! Which to be honest, I really didn’t mind, she was quite pleasant!

Once I’d finished talking, or rather listening to her, I continued on.

After passing through Newport it dawned on me, that I wasn’t going to get to Swanage until really late, so I decided to stay on the island.

Now that I’d decided to stay on the island, I thought I’d give youth hostelling a go, but after phoning them I learnt that they were all shut!

My next plan was to head back across the island towards Sandown, as I new there was a lot of campsites around there and it was an easy ride along the Red Squirrel Trail.

Track in a field
Along the Red Squirrel Trail

That turned into a nightmare! Well maybe not a nightmare, but a bloody pain! They’d closed part of it off, but failed to put any signs up notifying anybody! So one and a half miles down one part of it I had to turn around, go back and find another route!

Fenced off path
The closed cycle route

I reached Sandown but unfortunately couldn’t find any campsites that were open, so once again I’m having to stay in a hotel! I will get to camp one day!