The New Forest

This week I started work in the New Forest, Hampshire. Unfortunately it’s too far to commute daily from Bristol so I will be staying away from home Monday to Friday. From a personal point of view this arrangement is far from ideal; however, from a professional point of view it should hopefully be a good opportunity and from a cycling point of view (!) I have access to some great roads on my doorstep.

Throughout the New Forest a 40mph speed limit is enforced which slows down the typical country lane traffic. In addition to the speed restrictions I also encountered a surprising number of wild horses and cattle strolling along the roads – my personal bodyguards against car drivers.

On Tuesday I went for a 45 mile ride after work. It’s still light until 8.30pm so I exercised my new authority as Project Manager by kicking everyone off site at 5pm and heading out on my bike. In comparison to Bristol and the Cotswolds, the New Forest is relatively flat so I was able to maintain a decent speed for the whole ride.

And on Thursday I decided to do a shorter, harder session and headed off 10 miles in one direction before taking a breather and then flying back. This takes my mid-week cycling mileage to 65 miles which goes some way towards recovering the miserable, weekly 170 mile commute. By motorway this distance wouldn’t be too bad, but it’s slow and winding single-carriageway and takes about 3 hours each way.

I’ve never worked away from home before but I’m glad to have found cycling as a hobby. Cycling for hours at a time might sound mad, but I’m almost certain that the alternative of spending long evenings in a boring hotel would be a tougher personal endurance exercise.

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