Monday, 1 July 2013

A weekend away camping

 The plan for this weekend when the time was booked off work was to join the "Because It's There" group on Facebook on their Dorset walking weekend.
On working out the cost including the petrol down and back, food and drink for the weekend it all came to too much as we have other stuff still to do and the house move 2 months ago added to the costs. We (me and Dawn) decided to do a mini cycle tour from home instead.

 The route I was looking at was on a lot of roads I've cycled before used on various audax rides and camping trips in the past.

 Day 1 - 80km MK to Chipping Norton
Took us out of MK via the GoOutdoors store for gas and on-wards around the villages south of Stony  towards Bicester. The rain was on and off for the first few hours and it was on and off with the jackets also.
Dawn said last year that I had it easier with the trailer on my bike when we were doing the ride from Yorkshire back to MK via Mildenhall so this time she wanted it on the back of hers.
It didn't quite fit correctly as it was pushing the gear cable on the rear derailleur causing it to miss gears, she said it would be ok so we rode with it like this anyway. I took the trike so as to carry the 2 panniers of clother (panniers don't fit the rack on my Bacchetta).

 All was good for the ride over towards Bicester although Dawn was starting to get tired, we found a Lidl store on the way in and got rolls cheese, ham and danish pastries to eat when we found somewhere to sit.
A bench in Middleton Stoney was this place.
After here it got a bit hillier as we approached the Cotswolds (no surprise there!) Dawn was starting to find it harder and the lack of gears was starting to test her patience slightly!
We eventually got to the Camping and Caravan club site south of Chipping Norton at around 18.00

Up early due to sleeping in a tent and the birds chirping, hardly anyone else about when we were packing up so away for 08.30 and straight downhill from the site. After a few more ups and downs we stopped so I could take the trailer off and add it to the back of the trike. Dawn took one pannier on her bike.
The trailer worked well on the trike, I had reservations
about it due to hearing that single wheel trailers don't
Ice S trike with pannier and trailer
perform well behind one.
It was obviously slower up hill due to the weight but I never had to use the granny ring at all throughout the ride.
It definitely got a lot of attention on the way through Oxford center and traffic passed even further away from me than on the trike alone.
The ride out of Oxford was a joy on the roads out to Watlington, and in a few places I had to push hard to keep up with Dawn on the flat.
If I was too far back cars came past me and either tried to get into the gap between us or try and push past her before oncoming traffic.
There was a few idiots who pass on blind bends and other places, a couple of times causing traffic coming in the opposite direction to stop.
Lunch stop listening to a band sound checking for a wedding and watching the Kites flying above the green at Stadhampton and on-wards to arrive at Watlington before 14.00

Dawn sat at the Fell Club bench at Watlington
 Tent set up next to the Fell Club bench, coffee made and a trip down to the village to get food and cider :-) for the evening.
It was still early so we decided to go for a walk up onto Watlington Hill to look at the views.
You could just about make out the tops of the Cotswolds over Oxford where we had come over from.
View towards the Cotswolds

Day 3 - 70km Watlington to MK
It was another early start as awake at about 6, all packed and away just before 8.
The ride through was great with a tailwind and I was rolling along at 25kph+ Dawn had to stop and wait for me a couple of times as she was pulling away!! I didn't want to go into the big ring as I knew there would be a few hills nearer the end and wanted to keep a steady pace.
Stopped at Thame for a Costa and Danish and got away before the school fun run/walk made it too busy.
Aylesbury came and went without problems (was a Sunday morning) and then onto the climb up from Weedon.
I did my usual pedal as fast as possible downhill to gain momentum to get as far up the other side as poss :-)
Made it all the way up without the small ring, which was good but hard work!! Dawn did better this time making it up with a drink stop on the way, last year she walked it. Next time she wants to ride it in one go.
Arrived in MK around 1200 and popped into my mums for coffee on the way through and a pint at Woolstone on the way past, just because :-D

Great weekend and looking forward to going back to Watlington for the ALC Birthday meet in 2 weeks.

Camp sites

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