Monday 24 September 2012

A night ride to the coast

Southsea was the destination, Southsea on the south coast, a ride organised by Hummers.   I had been looking forward to getting to Hyde Park Corner.  It's always a moment of anticipation.  I don't know why really, because the location is well known by now.  And many of the cyclists are familiar also.  Still, a night ride always brings something new, like the company I had whilst waiting for midnight.
Waiting for midnight
Cycling to Southsea was a first also.  I loved the route, starting off along the north bank of the Thames.  Going through Richmond Park is a bonus because there are no cars, and you can hear the owls.  We don't wish for punctures, but for me the punctures were welcome.  It was wonderful being in Richmond Park, looking at the sky, hearing the sounds, just being, whilst waiting for the 'all fixed, we're off again'.

TimO's route capture
I was almost disappointed when Plodder's trike went through the gate without needing to either take the gate off the hinges, or the wheels off the bike.  Any moment now, the park police would pay a visit, I thought, but it all came to nothing.  Plodder did a great job of being tail end charlie.   He kept me company a lot of the time.  Indeed, I was happy to just plod along, but was concious that we were having a slow ride.  6:14 and we were still in Haslemere!  More punctures!

If ... you can mend a puncture when all about you 
are standing

The run into Southsea reminds me of the Whitstable finish.  It's longer than you think, but absolutely wonderful.  Great scenery, the dawn light gives a unique atmosphere.  People start to smell breakfast and the pace picks up.  

I don't think I knew that Kipling had lived in Southsea ...  Uncanny, how I captioned the above picture with a reference to Kipling's 'If' poem.  Not only did I subsequently discover that Kipling lived in Southsea, but that he also wrote 'The Mother Hive'.  It seems he was an enthusiastic beekeeper.  I must read more of his work!

I could visit his house, Batemans, in Burwash.   I could use it as a practice pilgrimage.  Because the real pilgrimage is on!  During breakfast at the Yellow Kite Cafe, I gave John Spooner a get out opportunity.  But John said yes.  He nodded when I asked for confirmation.  Yes, it's on, we're doing it!  Next year, John is joining me on a cycling pilgrimage to the Solovetsky Islands in Russia, where the patron saint of beekeepers founded a monastery.   I'm so happy.  A great adventure awaits ... all else being equal and my knees get better ...

Thanks to Hummers for organising the ride and to all riders for the good company.

Photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Southsea



Anonymous said...

Prachtig verslag en speciale foto's en wat een vooruitzicht: met John Spooner naar de Solovetski Islands!
Ondertussen goed je knieën verzorgen hé!
Meim en Peip xxx xxx

Kris said...

t ' Is toch iedere keer iets speciaals he zo' n nachttocht per fiets.Precies of je zintuigen staan wat scherper.Waarschijnlijk omdat er andere prikkels van overdag wegvallen en het duister is... nostalgisch een beetje...
En dan koffie!!!