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Sheila Ward2021-10-31 15:09:44Wessex

Wessex Tandem Club October ride Chandlers Ford -> Minstead (New Forest) -> Chandlers Ford 36 miles, 420m elevation Woke to the sound of heavy rain, so we postponed departure by an hour to allow rain to cease and puddles to recede. 4 tandems including 1 Hase Pino departed from Chandlers Ford in bright autumn sunshine with a slight head wind. We picked up another tandem in North Baddesley and another en-route to the New Forest. This was the first Tandem Club ride for 3 couples out of the 6 tandems, who had discovered the joys of Tandems during the pandemic. The route meandered along the River Test, and then bridges over the M27 and A31 before reaching the tranquillity of the New Forest. We stopped at the Rufus Stone, allegedly the site where King William II was fatally wounded with an arrow, to ‘bag’ one of the Hampshire BCQ answers. Lunch was on the Village Green at Minstead. Interesting (and soggy) spot – the local church is where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is buried – if you can’t find the gravestone, the pipe and magnifying glass might be clues! Refreshments at Minstead were plentiful – with a pub and adjacent Community Shop (coffee and Dorset Apple Cake recommended!) The New Forest was lovely in the sunshine although some roads were covered in leaves, twigs and puddles. There were two bridleway sections, the Test Way being gravel and a forest track with a muddy underpass. All tandems declined to go through the Ford as water+++ but fortunately an alternative crossing was available. We all arrived safely back to our various starting points and all agreed that we were so lucky with the weather!