Last month, I was proud to complete 300 miles on my trusted Brompton bicycle, ‘Maggie’, to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Having just moved to Winchester in the summer from London, I was keen to get out there and discover the area.
I’m sure I must have looked like a bit of a tourist perched on my set of mini-wheels, compared to some of the racers I passed along the way – but I took pride in that. I was/am a tourist!
Inspired by a few routes Bespoke Biking posted on their Strava account, I set off on those early journeys towards Alresford along the B3047 delighting in the Itchen Abbas descent and crying on the way back. I – quite selfishly – named the bench outside St Mary’s Church in Itchen Stoke “My Bench” as I stopped there many times for a break.
I then ventured a bit further, sourcing out lunch destinations such as the Northbrook Arms in East Stratton, the National Trust Hinton Ampner and Mottisfont tea shops, the Bugle Inn in Twyford and the Coach & Horses in Sutton Scotney.
I discovered with delight the thatched cottages in Stoke Charity, Micheldever, Crawley and Easton. But not so much of a delight were the Romsey and the Stockbridge A-roads.
Google Maps led me off road a few too many times for my liking. Chillandham Lane becomes a stony track along the M3 to Main Road; there is an unnervingly secluded 4km narrow dirt path between Sparsholt and Up Somborne and a shorter (but just as narrow) path between Chilland Corner and Northington Down.
This challenge got me hooked and wanting to discover more of the area with ‘Maggie’ . That’s why I’ve created an Instagram account where I will post short day and half-day routes compatible with the school runs. See Bromptoning with Maggie – #bromptoningwithmaggie