After a week of Britain receiving the entrails of Caribbean hurricanes, it was fingers crossed as to what the weather would be for the “South Hants Spin” on 19 September. Thankfully, despite a naff Saturday, Sunday morning broke with a sunny outlook and at 10.00 there was a group of 11 persons assembled for the ride start at Southampton Airport(Parkway) Station. Although not a large group, there was a miscellany of Moulton marques; with a T21, a Jubilee 16, a FX8 modified to 16 speed, an APB multidrive, an AM5 and AM7; two New Series and the classics in the form of a Major and my 1965 deluxe “new look”. The only non -Moulton was in the form of a Birdy Red.
The merry band started off heading north then westwards through Eastleigh on footpath/cylepaths forming part of Sustrans routes NCN 2 and 23, on nice smooth cyclepaths through linear landscaped open spaces on modern housing development. The route then took us for a couple of miles on road where unfortunately the Jubilee sustained a puncture which brought us to a halt. With puncture repaired it was off via a crossing of the Itchen Navigation, an old barge route between Southampton and Winchester for coffee stop at Brambridge Garden Centre. A feature of this garden centre is the nice restaurant with tasty cakes and what are referred to as “bottomless” cups of coffee – you can return for top ups at no extra charge; unusual in this part of the world.
After the break it was nearing midday and the group restarted eastwards along narrow hedge lined rural lanes nestling in a chalk valley, before a steep climb up onto the down land ridge road at Owlesbury. After a stop to admire the scenery and distant views stretching south to the Isle of Wight, a long shallow downhill descent followed along very quiet lanes leading to our lunch stop at the Alma Inn, Lower Upham.
By the time a lazy lunch and chat had been enjoyed, it was heading towards 3pm when the brigade pedalled away south along country lanes towards Durley on a slight uphill grade. What goes up comes down and a long roll via a single track lane towards our tea stop was halted by further puncture repairs on the Jubilee.
When the planned pub tea stop was arrived at, we found the place packed with soccer fans watching on Sky TV the local Saints team playing Newcastle.
Rather than queue in a very smoky atmosphere for refreshment, a decision was made to continue on as time was progressing on. The group rode on past a pleasant small lake and on a short section of stone track towards West End on the outskirts of Southampton. From there it was a few miles on road via A27 which was part of an old turnpike route and only 30 years ago the main south coast east to west route prior to construction of the nearby M27 motorway.
The final leg took us past the giant Ford production plant where Transit vans are produced, adjacent Southampton International airport, and back to the start point at the Parkway station car park.
A most pleasant ride in the lovely Hampshire countryside enjoyed by all. Our thoughts during the day were with poor Linda and Zeffy Maayan who sadly were unable to attend. They both attended BOA two weeks before, but on Monday 6th September Linda had a blow out cycling to work on her Moulton, came off the bike and badly broke her arm. Also to the unforgettable yellow peril at BOA Brian Wey who attended his son’s wedding the day before and could not make the ride.