A Hot Day in Swanage

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  Southern Section diary

Let’s face it, we’re a nation of complainers. It’s too cold, too wet, we’re too tired, or it’s too far away. Well, Sunday 15 July was probably too hot and, for some of our members, Swanage was too far away. Those who made the effort to join Mike Cross on his ride from Rownhams Services however, were amply rewarded with twisty roads, little traffic, and a pleasant, cooling breeze that kept the scorching temperatures bearable.

Meeting in the bustling carpark of the service area, we soon assembled before heading west on the M27 for a couple of junctions, pulling off just as the traffic started

to back-up. We followed a circuitous route, through Fordingbridge, and Blandford Forum, effectively circling around Poole Harbour, before passing through Corfe Castle, and on to Swanage.
A twisty route sans traffic
Return to events....
The ride gave us some delightful vistas
Arriving on schedule, six bikes swung into the car park to find the recently arrived figure of Erica, having made her way back from a brief sojourn in Devon. We were also joined on foot by local Club Members, Nigel Pankhurst and his wife.  With the sun beating down on us, ingenuity came to the fore as each of us attempted to stow our respective riding gear into the limited, secure storage available on the bikes. Mike and Lesley unfortunately, having planned a further onward stay, were committed to wandering the sights of Swanage in pretty much, full kit.

Swanage is something of a classic British seaside town where sandy beaches, ice cream parlours, and fish n’ chip shops abound. Combining these features with the weather and the company, this was a day to savour. We enjoyed a gentle stroll down to the seafront and along the promenade, where the commitment to visitors was extended to a closed road offering pedestrians priority for much of the promenade. Arriving at our lunch venue, the town square, we employed a quick response strategy bagging seats as others vacated the public benches and we were soon suitably relaxed and ready to compete with the seagulls for our fish and chip lunches. In the lea of the buildings, the sun continued beating down with just enough wind to keep things comfortable.
Following our lunch break, the group dispersed with a few of us heading further round the bay. We regrouped for a cuppa in an Australian run, Greek taverna, overlooking an English beach with people basking in the sun like they were in Spain. All quite normal then?

We finally saddled-up for our return run, heading over the cliff road, before dropping down to follow the coastline behind Studland Bay with its hugely popular beaches. The traffic was horrendous with the group resorting to a careful run of over a mile on the wrong-side of the road. We made our way to the front of the queue for the Sandbanks ferry, being tipped-off at the other end onto the empty roads - until we made it onto the Bournemouth ring road.
Swanage - the classic seside town
Some of the early return route was ‘sticky’, both in terms of traffic and weather, but we eventually returned home around 7.30pm with 240 miles tucked under our belts.

Thanks go to Mike and Jeanette Cross for leading the run and to all of our friends who joined us.