This weekend I went to Bournemouth to visit my family. I had intended to use a combination of bike & train to get there but unfortunately I discovered that the rail network doesn’t connect directly between the two cities, which would have meant 3 hours of rail travel, plus travel time to and from the stations, plus waiting time. Realistically I calculated that this method would take about 5 hours and would cost £30 each way. The alternative option of just cycling the 70 miles each way would similarly take about 5 hours but would cost nothing. So the decision was made.

Cycling allowed me to take the most direct route (rather than the train which goes via Salisbury and Southampton)


I set off early Saturday morning with panniers loaded with food and clothing. From Bristol to Shaftesbury was a series of hills, some of which were a real struggle with the added weight on the bike. However the tops of the hills did offer some spectacular views of the countryside. 

Weather-wise it was a lovely Autumn weekend. I needed gloves, tights and overshoes to keep warm, but luckily there was no rain to worry about. From Shaftesbury it was a flatter run down to Bournemouth, and I arrived in time for lunch to the bemusement of my Dad who thought I was coming by train and took some convincing that I had cycled the whole way.

1500 metres of climbing, mostly confined to the middle 30kms

We had Saturday afternoon and evening together (and for me to get some much needed recovery). After spending Sunday morning together I set off for home just before midday.

On the return leg I did a better job of sticking to the B roads to keep away from fast traffic, but it was still difficult at times when most road signs  lead drivers to the quicker roads. I rode at an easy pace trying to save what little energy I had left for the steep hills.

The weather was fine again on Sunday


The only trouble I had on the return was when I prematurely exited an essential run along a busy A road. What had initially looked like a country lane turned into a muddy, rutted track which eventually became impassable by road bike. It was a steep hill and after struggling to get any traction I had to get off and push for 200 metres.

This ‘road’ was not built for a heavily laden road bike

At this point I did contemplate going back but then I saw how far I’d already come and so carried on pushing

The track soon became rideable again so I remounted and wobbled and vibrated my way up to the main road. Upon arriving home and uploading my ride to Strava I saw that I had been awarded a ‘King of the Mountain’ for this section. However closer inspection revealed that nobody else had ever been stupid enough to try and ride this ‘road’ so the dubious honour of being first out of one was quickly ignored.

I was also immature enough to take a detour along a road named ‘Ass Hill’ on my map, however was disappointed by the lack of road sign to allow me to take a photo for ‘posteriority’. Shortly afterwards I was rewarded by the road sign below which better described the condition of my rear end after 10 hours of riding in one weekend.

I made it home before dark and crashed on the sofa trying to ignore the fact I will be up early tomorrow morning for a full week of cycle commuting on my tender Binegar Bottom.




10 thoughts on “Bristol-Bournemouth-Bristol

  1. Pa says:

    Very impressive display of youthful energy. Hope your bottom gets better soon. Great to see you and we promise to visit you soon but we shall be driving!

    • AndrewGills says:

      PS: Small world. One of my best mates just moved back to Australia after living in Bournemouth for about a year. He is originally from Bournemouth but came to Australia when he was a teenager before moving back there for a year last year.

  2. traumfahrrad says:

    there’s something unspeakably perfect about place-to-place rides. it’s the most virtuous and amazing way to travel. it combines the tranquility of cycling through the air and the countryside with a sense of a purposeful journey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s