Binsted to Nice, “Le Grande Depart”

IMG_1015After last years Lands End to John O Groats cycle ride Kaye announced that she would rather not do another trip that involved chasing me around the country in the motor home. This was a real spanner in the works as I had my mind set on another trip, this time cycling from Binsted to the Mediterranean.

I had already bought the book and it looked to be a very interesting ride so I left the book in a prominent place and after reading the book and in a moment of weakness last Christmas Kaye agreed to provide backup once more. In no time I had the route planned and agreed that we would make it more of a holiday and I would not cycle all day every day but reduce the daily mileage so we could enjoy afternoons exploring the sights along the route.

I picked an arbitrary day to start in mid May hoping the weather would at least be getting warmer, the camper van was serviced and the list making started. For the ride I would use my Van Nicholas that I completely overhauled and built a new set of wheels, it had the makings of “Triggers Broom”.

The first leg was just a short hop down to Portsmouth to catch the Brittany Ferries night crossing to St Malo but to maintain the true spirit of the trip I took the scenic route.

After the pre ride photo I left Binsted in sunshine taking the back lanes to Selborne and my first entertainment of the trip. The narrow high street of this historic town has cars parked on one side and traffic has to weave through but occasionally you get the awkward driver who feels he is not going to give way, motoring certainly seems to bring out the worst in some people and when two immovable objects meet you get conflict and gridlock. I wonder how Gilbert White would have viewed these shenanigans.

From Selborne it was to East Tisted and then Colemore, dropping down to Privett before crossing the A272. From East Meon I climbed up the ridge taking the road to Broad Halfpenny Down, the home of the earliest reported cricket match in 1753, I was just in time to see the cricketers leaving the field of play for tea.

IMG_1030From here there is a long downhill run into the very picturesque village of Hambledon that is still scarred with road works as a result of the flood relief work to protect the village after the rains of two years ago left the village in turmoil.

The very pretty village of Southwick was my next waypoint before climbing to the top of Portsdown Hill and my first view of Portsmouth. Another long fast downhill descent into Cosham and then the urban sprawl of Portsmouth along the old A3 and the ferry terminal to meet with Kaye and the motor home to board “Bretagne” and our night crossing to St Malo.

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