Tuesday, 29 September 2015

New Site.....

Yes..... Anne and I have moved to a new site.
We haven't moved far, just twelve miles from our last location.
We are now at Verwood on the edge of the New Forest which is a great place to be for getting out on my bike...

From this new site it is easy for me to ride out and link up with some of my old cycling loops, so weather permitting I will be able to have some rides on routes that I know well....

Talking about the weather.....at the moment we are enjoying some nice weather as can be seen in the photo below.....
The picture shows our new pitch moments after we had arrived on the camping site and before we had erected our awning. 
You can see my bike mounted on the front of the Eriba in it's normal travelling position....

Just arrived on site - Note my bike mounted on the front of the Eriba

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Twice in a Week....

After a famine of riding with other riders as mentioned in my last post...I have now managed it twice in a week...
Yesterday I met up with John Donoghue (JD) one of the 10in10 team.... Actually JD is more than that as he has been with me on almost every major ride that I have completed...

It had been almost two and a half years since John and I had last met up....pressures of work..family and new projects getting in the way of a meet up and a ride so we had a lot to catch up with......

Our ride consisted of riding and talking...plenty of talking.. Every so often we would stop have a drink and a munchie and indulge in even more talking... It was a a really enjoyable day out...not a huge amount of miles cycled but plenty of  what social cycling is all about...

John introduced me to his latest love affair.... A Genesis Day-One hub gear bike which he has modified to suit his own riding requirements.... 
Being a hub gear machine it has a super tiny chain ring and it certainly transports him up the local hills in a nice steady fuss free manner....
John's modified Genesis Day-One and my Tifosi.....
A closer view of John's Genesis Day-One....

Thursday, 24 September 2015

First Accompanied Ride of the Year......

Difficult to believe I know but last week I had my first ride of the year with another rider.....
There was a time when I would be out every week with another rider but obviously since Anne and I started our long term trip this has not been easy to do.....

One of the good things about spending some time back in Dorset is meeting up with friends for a drink and a natter and also the possibility of a ride out together.......
Last Sunday I met up with Peter Calcutt from the Backpackers Club for an easy day ride.....

We didn't plan anything too strenuous, just a nice steady ride taking in the town of Blandford and back to Wimborne again. 
This allowed us to have a nice chat as we rode along and catch up with each others lives......

When we arrived at Blandford we searched for a nice coffee shop and eventually found one called The Forum.... 
The problem was we couldn't seem to find anywhere outside to leave our bikes safely.... 
As we wandered around outside obviously looking like a couple of lost cycling souls, the cafe owner, who had obviously seen us, came out and invited us inside telling us that we could leave our bikes in the covered entrance where they would be safe and we could keep an eye on them.....

We had a couple of coffees and two large pieces of chocolate fridge cake.....absolutely delicious!!
I would certainly recommend The Forum....great friendly atmosphere....friendly owner and fantastic cakes and coffee.....

Almost an hour was spent in the coffee shop before we headed back.....
All in all a very enjoyable time spent out on our bikes and something that I have missed this year.....
Peter's Revolution Tourer with my Tifosi on Sunday's ride...

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The rain seems to follow us......

Yes....it's true....!
The rain seems to follow us...
It certainly seems to have followed us up here to our latest site.....

This is our current pitch...
Our Latest Pitch..
 Since we have been here we have had more than our fair share of rain......
Following the very wet summer we have had I have to say that we have got quite used to it.
Not that I wouldn't prefer a nice prolonged dry spell in place of the rain.
The problem seems to be that for every sunny day we have, we end up suffering five days of rain......

As an indication of how damp conditions have been, here are some shots of some fungi that has appeared in the short time we have been here.
Each of these images was taken within fifteen feet of our awning..... the last specimen is the size of a large dinner plate.....



This is the size of a dinner plate....!!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Searching for a cross....

A few days ago we went on a walk around the Whitchurch Down area......
Anne was adamant that there was another cross there that was in direct alignment with the Windy Cross that I posted an image of in a recent post.
She told me that when she lived here years ago the cross could be seen from the crossroads on the down....

When we arrived at the crossroads we couldn't see it at all....
Crosses that have been standing for hundreds of years don't just disappear so we headed off in a westerly direction....
After walking for a short way I just caught sight of it just showing itself above some gorse bushes.......

The cross surrounded by gorse bushes
 Anne said that twenty odd years ago the cross was standing on it's own without any gorse around it at all....nowadays it is surrounded by the stuff hence the reason we could not see it from the crossroads......
A closer view of the cross
 We walked over to the cross and found a way in through the circle of bushes in order to get a couple of closer images.......
Anne couldn't believe that so much had grown up and around the cross since she lived here...
Nature just keeps on going....!!

Another view of the cross...
Moving on.....we have now moved on again...!
After 28 days on the edge of Dartmoor it was time to hit the road with Eva in tow.....

Every year the car needs a service and MOT and so do I .
I have to have various blood tests and scans etc in order to check that I am OK to keep on going for another 12 months, as I said just like the car....,
So..... we are back up in the Wimborne area to enable me to see the Doctor etc etc.....
We will stay up in this area for about a couple of months and then we are heading off to....? Well I will save telling you that in a later post......

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Interesting People......

Since Anne and I have been travelling around in Eva we have met a lot of very interesting people........
One of the people I met recently on our current site was Neal Sanders who comes from near Cambridge...

Neal told me that each year he likes to do a cycle tour down here in the West Country....... 
Like all good cycle tourists Neal has a name for his bike...... In this case it is Ralph.......

Neal with Ralph
Ralph with a Rohloff....!

Ralph is a 26" wheel Thorn bike with a 14 speed Rohloff hub gear....
The bike has straight bars but Neal has added some trials bars which he told me helps him a lot on the steep climbs that can be found in this part of the world....
Neal loves his bike and the set up obviously works well for him, although it wouldn't be my ideal choice for cycle touring preferring as I do 700c wheels.....drop bars and Shimano derailleur gears..... 
Mind you my cycling buddy John Donoghue (JD) would like Ralph as he has a bit of a thing for hub gears, although I am not so sure that he would get on with the trials bars.....

Neal seemed to have his kit well sorted and seemed to have reduced his overall weight pretty well...... mind you he wasn't carrying a stove or cooking pot which I know wouldn't go down well with most of the cycle packers that I ride with, as one of the most important things for us when arriving on a campsite, after putting up the tent, is making that well earned cuppa.....

Neal told me that he just uses cafes etc for his meals and drinks, again this works well for him although I prefer to be a bit more self sufficient.

Neal's Tent and ALL his kit...
As I have said Neal's kit was well sorted and the only item that I could see where a weight reduction could be made was with his sleeping bag.... In the picture above it's the item in the red bag...the largest single item. Weight saved with the sleeping bag would then allow that all important stove and pot to be carried without any overall increase in weight carried......

Neal was a really nice guy....typical of the sort of fella you meet when out and about on the campsite......
Due to his schedule Neal only stayed at the site for the one night which was a great pity as although we talked for a couple of hours about all things bikes and bike touring I would have liked to have learned even more about him..... 

As I said.... we meet a lot of interesting people..... 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Dogs.......!

One of the things that has surprised us since we have been staying on the various camping sites this year, are the number of people who have dogs in their motorhome campervan or caravan.
Often it's not just one dog either...often it's two or three... 

Now having owned dogs myself in the past I can understand the desire to have one or two for their company and the selfless love they give....truly man's best friend.... but more than that..?

In practical terms keeping a dog in a campsite vehicle is fine in nice weather, but with the wet and windy weather that we have been having recently trying to dry them off after a walk and keeping them and your motorhome/caravan clean must be a bit of a problem I reckon.

However, if you are a dog fan I suppose those difficulties are outweighed by the perceived benefits of dog ownership even during the past month of August which in the UK was the wettest for a century......
It certainly didn't put off the two ladies in this motorhome who had five....yes five dogs..!!

Five dogs in a motorhome.....
 While I am on the subject of dogs....if you always thought that sheep were a bit scared of dogs think again.... well at least down here on Dartmoor....
Anne and I were out on one of our moorland walks recently and passed a small farmhouse that ran a kennel business.....
This is what we saw......
Hiya doggies...You can't touch me..!!
One of the Dartmoor sheep had wandered down to the fence of the kennel area and seemed to be deliberately annoying  the dogs.....
The sheep seemed to be saying to the dogs "Hiya doggies...You can't touch me" and of course the dogs couldn't touch the sheep as they were behind a fence......
That sheep sure had the upper hand and seemed to take delight in rubbing the dogs noses in that fact.....the dogs were going wild barking and running around while the sheep just stood there smiling at them....
Dartmoor sheep are a tough lot...!!

Cabin Fever .......

 Sorry for this week's posting being three days late but like the rest of the UK last weekend saw the arrival of storm Ciara and our in...