After a break for the Festive Season I was ready to get out on my bike but after Christmas came the storms and the floods.
The South West was hit hard by strong winds which generated huge waves.
Storm waves on the Dorset coast
The heavy rain produced flooded roads – this one in the Bredy Valley only a few yards from where I live.
As well as the floods there were many trees down and a lot of gravel and other debris in the roads making riding impossible.
On 7th January after a 3 week break Steve and I were able to cycle. We headed east on the B3157 which is the coast road between Weymouth and Bridport. We usually avoid this road because it carries a lot of traffic but from 6th January it is closed for 3 months. The main water main in Abbotsbury is being replaced and traffic is diverted via the A35.
With virtually no traffic it was a pleasure to grind out the ascent with wonderful views of the coast emerging .
At the top of Abbotsbury Hill there is a fantastic view East along Chesil Beach to Chiswell –which has been in the news recently as one of the places hit hard by the storms.
The descent of Abbotsbury Hill empty of traffic is great fun. At present the road closure in the village is easy to avoid for bikes and smaller vehicles
and we continued to Portesham. Onwards through urban Dorchester where the character of the ride changed completely for the 10 minutes it took to ride through. All the lights were on green and we were moving at the speed of the traffic (could have gone faster – its downhill) but still the big man in the Mercedes was revving hard on our tails expressing his frustration at cyclists using ‘his’ lane.
Cycling safety tips
• Stop at red lights. It’s safer and could save you a £50 fine
• Stay central on narrow roads. Try to ride away from the gutter. If the road is too narrow for vehicles to pass you safely, it might be safer to ride towards the middle of the lane to prevent dangerous overtaking by other vehicles.
We headed out up the Piddle Valley – blissful empty roads again if a little damp. The Piddle was still wandering around its flood plain.
As I ascended a small hill they was a ‘twang’ and I lost all power – my chain had snapped!
We walked to a safe place and set about repairing the chain. In true Audax fashion I had my Park multi tool which has a chain tool on it and I also had a couple of pins for chain repair. Most importantly I also had Steve.
I could probably have fixed the chain eventually but Steve had it sorted in 20 minutes and we were about to get underway again when I noticed that I also had a puncture.
I always have a couple of spare tubes with me and I had lovely new Schwalbe Tyre levers from my Christmas stocking, and then to re-inflate, another Christmas gift my Lezyne micro floor drive mini pump . The pump allowed me to get 100psi in the tyre – I knew this because it has a gauge on the side.
Underway once more – we headed up the Piddle valley to Piddletrenthide where we turned and headed up the hill and down into Cerne Abbas – home of the famous giant.
Onwards up the A352 to Minterne Magna and then over Gore Hill to cross the A37 at Holywell. The weather which had produced some shadows earlier in the day was looking a bit grim and it started to rain at Evershot. We are well equipped for this eventuality and we were reasonably dry and comfortable as we continued down to Cattistock and through Maiden Newton. Just four days earlier the A356 through Maiden Newton had the River Frome flowing through it with some properties flooded. Today it was dry again, though the river was still high.
We headed back over into the Bredy Valley where at Pitcombe, between Little Bredy and Long Bredy, the road was closed as work to clear a tree that had come down in the storm was carried out.
Fallen tree at Pitcombe
We were able to walk through Ok.
The River Bride is mostly back where it should be with nothing more than very wet roads at the low point at Four Meads Farm.
55 miles with 1700m was quite arduous for a first outing after 3 weeks off. More work to be done before attempting this month’s Randonnee. A 200k is planned for 22nd January but if the weather continues to be settled I should be able to get out and recover some fitness before then.