We stayed at another beautiful campsite, with simple pleasures like running water and toilets; I feel a bit silly having moaned about some of the wetter and colder nights camping considering what is happening in Pakistan (oopps, I just dropped my halo, hang on a second).
The lovely Rosie Marteau and handsome Charles Grummit were waiting for us at Southampton Central along with Sam Brassington who was dressed in a combination of every Stoke City kit for the last 4 years(Mr Brassington has been the first man to scream going downhill, but it was probably his gurd). Sadly only a couple of minutes into the day Rosie’s cardigan got caught in the universal joint and got well and truly mangled.
In all the excitement of the morning we forgot two rider’s who were actually waiting for us at Southampton’s sister station (more like second cousin station)Milbrook. The marmite twins (they were wearing a lot of marmite paraphernalia, they even had marmite water bottles) flagged us down at the side of the road with their unicycle.
As we approached the New Forest Charlie and Ed Wallrock lent us a hand; once again their local knowledge was vital to our navigation, our route plans are about at fixed as an Irish horse race, so we were open to any tips about how to avoid the biggest hills. We were also hunted down by BBC South Today’s weather girl who passes herself off as a journalist on the weekend. She interviewed Ed and got us riding around a pub car park; little did we know that 24 hours later we would be the 7th most watched item on the BBC website!
The New Forest was stunning; ‘wild horses, couldn’t drag me away’ ….. and nestled among the cows and sheep were my mum and dad. They bravely climbed aboard, my mum’s little legs weren’t quite long enough, but she gave us a good mile. Dad has just had his blood pressure pill dosage doubled up, and his cheeks went a purple brighter than the bike, but it was great to have their support.
When we got into Ringwood we passed a horse drawn funeral cortege, so closed our eyes and hoped no one could see us. There was a little bike shop called ‘Common Assault’ where there was talk of a free-wheel replacement (I was cyncical as usual). However, Common Assault, despite the slightly scary name, proved to be the first bike shop man enough for the job, and after 45 mins, some hammering, some chiselling and with oily hands blacker than coal, the bike was fixed. The angle grinder was called for but thankfully not used. We also got £70 quid in the bucket and some Peruvian beer! They truly are biking legends (Particularly Mike, who owns the store) and so if you need anything bike related near Ringwood then use Common Assault (The bike shop, rather than the violence).
Time was ticking by, as it has an annoying tendency to, and bums were getting sore, Sam Brassington started crying more frequently than usual and the light was slowly fading. With 2 miles until Dorchester we had to call it a night, because it was night so we called it one. Miss Fiona Mikel had booked us a table at probably the nicest curry house I have ever been to, so we spiced up our already spicy cycle shorts and took over the Mikel’s Dorchester pad for 5 hours of sleep ready for a 6am start the next day.