It’s been a while since the wheels on the tandem turned. This weekend feels like a good weekend to get the legs burning and the wheels turning.
As much as we are out of shape now the good old Brookes saddles fit like a glove as soon as we sit on them. The breeze is cooling as we cycle out of the New Forest Centenary Site and over the cattle grid… brrrrrddd, welcomed into the Forest by ponies, standing, almost contemplating, in the road, as they do.
The tandem responds to our moves as though we’ve been riding it regularly. Fortunately the New Forest is kind to us, rather than hills it just has little lumps to ease us back into riding.
Turning right away from the site the vista opens, I love this view, pinch points in the road calm the traffic, as does the wildlife, scattered lazily, here and there, looking at the cars as if they are a hinderance in their peaceful afternoon.
The village of Burley looms ahead, awash with bikes and tourists. The pavements are full of people buying ice creams, peering into shop windows and just randomly stopping and chatting causing a hold up behind them. It’s too busy for us, maybe another visit out of season when the masses are back behind their desks.
A cup of tea is calling, we find a lovely tearoom with a garden round the back, but we should’ve guessed. Each table is full of holiday makers and there’s nowhere to park up ‘Louis’ within view, we’ve forgotten the bike lock. Back into the saddle we turn back towards The Cider Pantry, two empty tables at the front, ‘Louis’ rests against the fence whilst The Boss sips a cappuccino and I try to tempt my palette with a rather insipid loose leaf English breakfast tea. I’m a northerner, I like to be able to stand my spoon up in my tea. A cup of good, strong Builder’s tea was needed, I got dish water. Beautiful tea rooms though with a quaint little cider shop around the back offering samples, if only I liked cider…. or, indeed, dish water.
Back on the tandem and we head in the opposite direction, the land tinged purple as the heather comes into bloom.
We pick up the disused railway line at Holmsley Tea Rooms back towards the caravan. A flat but quite stoney ride is proving popular today as our wheels ‘per-toing’ stone chip shrapnel at unsuspecting shins. Not many cyclists but lots of shin rubbing walkers.
Not a taxing ride, a ride to ease us back into it. 8 miles all in all. Not a lot, just enough to remind us we really do need to ride more often. If only we weren’t so tired after work.