This blog was meant to be a low down on cycling to Paris. It was meant to provide information for people that have never really cycled. It was meant to be filled with pictures of the Eiffell Tower. But last weekend I realised (again) why people plan things.
On Friday night, we were packed and ready to cycle to Paris. And then we googled ferries and realised that there weren’t any that worked for us. Well done me. That was silly. So we changed the plan. That’s the joy of adventures, you can just chop and change.
We decided to cycle to Portsmouth, take the ferry to the Isle of Wight and spend Sunday cycling and eating ice cream around it.
Saturday 9am: London to Guildford
Left central London and headed for Portsmouth. The weather was amazing. And we whizzed along all different types of roads. Tempted by cycle routes, but stuck to main roads so that we would get there faster. Some of the A roads were just not good for cyclists and it was quite scary. The hard shoulder was tiny, there was a lot of glass and debris and we spent a lot of time trying to find a route. We aimed for Guildford and after some sandwiches and ice cream decided to hunt for a more enjoyable path. My phone cut out after two hours but luckily Rob had a couple of pages of maps in his pocket. Old school.
Saturday 1pm: Guilford to Petersfield
Rob found the most idyllic roads through villages and up and down a lot of hills. It was so beautiful and exactly why I love cycling. I’d never cycled through the Surrey Hills and they were… hilly. But beautiful. We stopped for a drink and some snacks at cute little ramblers pubs and ploughed on.
Saturday 5pm: To Portsmouth
We had a pretty hideous chunk of motorway. We were being beeped by everyone but just ignored it. Every junction we had to try and get back to the hard shoulder and it was scary. Suddenly I spotted a bike path running paralel to the motorway. It had been there for miles. Doh. So we chucked our bikes over the railings and climbed off the hideous motorway. After nearly 11 hours of cycling we had covered 85 and made it to Portsmouth. I wouldn’t advise following our route. And I would suggest getting your hands on some proper clip-in cycling shoes and maybe some form of GPS. But we made it and jumped on the first ferry to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. The weather was amazing and the sun was setting. Ideal.
Saturday night: Ryde in Isle of Wight
We managed to find a little hotel with a spare room. Dumped our bikes and walked over to The Three Buoys, an incredible seafood restaurant on the beach. Run by a young couple, the food was superb and we sat out on the balcony munching on Mezze, fish and booze – in our cycling kit.
Sunday: Around the Isle of Wight
We spent Sunday cycling around the island, eating in beach cafes, playing mini golf, chomping down ice cream and just enjoying the seaside. And after a little nap on the beach, we cycled back to Ryde, jumped on a ferry, caught a train and cycled back home. Perfect, perfect, smelly, tiring weekend.
Left London: Saturday at 9am
Arrived in Ryde: Saturday at 8.30pm
Arrived back in London: Sunday at 10pm
Money spent: £120 each for ferry return, train, hotel and food