Saturday, 13 March 2010


We were in Dorset last weekend. So when I announced that I was planning to cycle to Dorchester today eyebrows were raised. I'm a bit behind plan on my annual mileage goal, and a round trip of more than 200 miles would certainly have helped that. But even on the new bike that would be ambitious.

I actually meant Dorchester-on-Thames, which is more like a 50 mile round trip. The Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul is on my list of churches to visit on the bike this year. It's one of the few on the list that I've already seen, so I knew I could expect something a bit special.

Rather than follow the most direct route I took a slightly wider loop to include another church on my list: St Katherine at Chiselhampton. But the real point of the day was to give the new bike a good stretch.

I covered just over 60 miles, across fairly hilly ground. The journey out started by crossing Winter Hill to Marlow, then climbing to Stokenchurch. The weather for that stage was sunny and quite warm.

I then dropped down to Watlington. As I've discovered before the weather on the other side of the escarpment can be quite different. Today it was colder and more windy. So the journey up through Chalgrave to Stadhampton and Chiselhampton was less pleasant.

However by the time I had moved on to Dorchester the sun was back. The late afternoon journey back through Wallingford, Stoke Row and Henley was really lovely.

There were plenty of other cyclists on the road. Lots of friendly "hello"s. And for once those which passed me mostly had the grace to be half my age, and fully lycra'd..

In summary, I've had a smashing day. I've ticked off two more churches. The mileage is looking a bit more healthy. I'm tired, and I am chuffed to bits with the new bike.

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