Friday, 19 February 2016

Brightening Up a Dull Day

As I type it is raining again, a thin drizzle. The sky is grey, visibility is poor. All is gloom...

Or so it appears. We live towards the edge of Bridport. In fact, technically we live in Bradpole, and the view N from our bungalow includes a swathe of pretty hillside - green fields and trees no more than half a mile away, a constant reminder that we live in a truly beautiful part of the country. On a dismal day like today it is worth remembering that. And the best way that I can think of to appreciate just how beautiful is to get out and cycle it.

I shan't do that just now, but will type a few words instead.

Who doesn't like a nice view? Tastes vary, but a high vantage point embracing a sweep of distant horizon does it for most people I'd guess. Less than 15 miles away is the Hardy monument. Not (as you might expect in Dorset) a celebration of the famous writer, but a memorial to the other Thomas Hardy, the Royal Navy officer who features in Nelson's reported last words: "Kiss me, Hardy". At almost 800ft above sea level its location on Black Down commands a magnificent view, and not too long after moving here last year I worked out that it was a fairly easy bike ride from home. I am pleased to say that my first ever visit to the monument was therefore human-powered. I have been several times since, most recently a couple of weeks back...

This photo wasn't taken to illustrate the view particularly, but even so there's Portland on the left, and a sliver of Chesil Beach and the Fleet on the right - maybe at Abbotsbury?

Basically I ride up here, stop, go Wow! and then cycle home again. There are loads of places around here where I do something similar. Always the stopping, always the Wow! You could do it in a car I suppose, but it wouldn't be the same. On a bike you earn the view, and I suspect you therefore appreciate and savour it more.

The Journey
Even getting to the views is usually a delight. Grinding uphill has its own attractions (arguably) but is not everyone's cup of tea. However, leafy country lanes mostly are, and there is no shortage of them in this part of Dorset. This year I will make more of an effort to record my journeys along them. Watch this space...

Last June I cycled to Portland...

Approximately half the journey there was really nice, but the latter half was horrible, mainly because I found myself on, or right next to, far too many busy main roads; I simply couldn't find any back lane routes at all. When you get to Weymouth there's only one way on to the island - and that's pretty unpleasant - but once down at the Bill it's not so bad. There's even a bird observatory...

Notice how it looks warm and sunny? That's because it was. I'm glad I dug out those pics and wrote this post - it's cheered me up a bit. Every year I seem to get a little more stir crazy in late winter. Right now I am absolutely gagging for spring, sun, heat, dryness, light evenings, lycra shorts and chamois cream. Like any normal person...


  1. We all have that favourite view, one that you sit down at and always feel good at, I certainly have.
    Couldn't help but notice that your bike is one of those that you have to lay across and get back ache on because the handlebars are so low. Mine is of the old-fashioned type where you can sit upright and look all around rather than looking downwards at the front wheel.
    Couldn't help chuckling at the monument for a guy who was the recipient of a request from another guy to kiss him - Freddie Mercury would of loved that.

    1. Ha ha! My bikes are more comfortable than you'd imagine Derek. Believe me, I don't spend all my time staring at the front wheel!

  2. Gav, The views are a sure contrast to the one's afforded by the Whitton Avenue.

  3. This is turning out to be a very long bike ride Gav.
    My calculations indicate that since your last post; cycling at 11 mph 24/7, you could have reached(water permitting)Australia.