When we moved into our new house we finally had somewhere to store bikes again. Since then we’ve got back into cycling and a couple of weeks ago Scott and I went on our first (mini) cycling holiday! Our bags contained just the essentials: snacks, water, suncream, toothbrushes etc and a change of clothes. We weren’t sure if we’d be fit enough to complete all 115 miles over the 3 days but we’re a bit gung-ho and thought it was worth a try. Our biggest concern was having enough stamina to get up the hills.
And we’re off…
I tried not to stop and take photos every 5 seconds but managed to snap a few. The beginning of our journey took us through the village of Oakhanger.
We made a quick stop at the Harrow Inn in Petersfield. It’s an absolutely beautiful pub stuck in a 17th Century time warp. Their cloudy cider is fantastic, although if you’re on your bike it’s probably better to have a half because it’s quite strong.
We stopped for lunch at The Maple Inn. It was about half way and we figured we’d need something substantial to get us all the way to Portsmouth. Both of us tucked into a handmade burger – I had mine with stilton melted on top. Naughty but oh so delicious.
After stuffing our faces with beefy goodness we set off on our way through the South Downs National Park (rescuing a fledgling from the middle of a country road along the way).
South Downs National Park
I love the woods and this was without doubt my favourite part of the journey because we made our way through miles of tall trees. Part of the official Shipwrights Way track takes you on forest tracks but our bikes have skinny tyres and there’d been a few days of heavy rain beforehand so we stuck to the roads more (see below). Despite this it was still a beautiful ride! We barely saw any cars and cow parsley was growing everywhere which made the air smell really Summery and clean.
I’m glad I plucked up the courage to wear my rather snug padded shorts because they saved my derriere. I felt like I was waddling around in a nappy at first but I got use to them pretty quickly.
After many miles of cycling we finally reached sunny Portsmouth!
We had a hard time finding bicycle friendly accommodation in Portsmouth but booked a room via Airbnb. However it fell through at the last minite! Luck was on our side because the Britannia Guest House was just around the corner. We turned up looking pretty unpresentable with 2 bikes on a Saturday night and they found a room for us. They even had somewhere secure for us to leave our bikes.
In the evening we headed into town and stumbled across the Circolo Pizzeria. The pizzas here were fantastic and dare I say, better than Pizza Express. I had the Verdura Mista (v) and the pizza below is a Pollo Della casa. A great end to our first day.
We went to bed quite tired, with very happy stomachs and looking forward to our ferry trip the next day.
Day 1 of our holiday was about food and cycling in equal measure :) Day 2: Portsmouth – Southampton. More photos of scenery and less of food, promise!
Have you cycle Shipwrights way? What did you think?