100 Minute Cycle (8th May 2009)
Intended to ride a few laps around my local woods then come home. But it was such a fine evening that after I carried on riding.
Used the roads to reach Crookham Wharf on Basingstoke Canal. The approach to it is really narrow and bumpy in places, with a steep downhill leading to a long, grinding uphill section. It’s a relief when you enter the carpark!
Followed the towpath away into the countryside. I was trying to find the path to the shore of Tundry Pond, which I had completely missed last time. After quite a while I started to wonder whether this was the right way.
Then, as I rode out from under a bridge, I spotted the country house which overlooks the pond. There’s a long way between them so the bridge I needed was quite a way further on. I reached it in the end.
Taking in the View
A couple were playing fetch with their pet dogs. I took in the view and their laughter for a bit, then headed down to the towpath. I carried on to the Barley Mow to see whether approaching it from that way would be faster. (There are smooth roads from my home to that quay.)
Alternate Route Back Home
It took about 10 minutes to get there from the pond. Clouds of midges (or something like that) were hovering in the evening sunlight. I resorted to riding with a hand in front of my face, peering between my fingers with one eye!
Forgot to time how long it took to get back on the roads from there. It was about 40 minutes from home to the pond via roads, wharf and towpath. It seemed much less than that coming back via towpath, Barley Mow and the smoother roads.
Comparison of Routes
- You miss the pituresque canal-side cottages between the wharf and the pond by going to the Barley Mow and cutting back along the towpath to Tundry Pond.
- But the roads are smooth, fast and empty which make it a more practical route.
- The 10 minute ride goes through some deep cuttings and gives a great view over the pond if you approached from that way, too.
You could ride back the whole way along the towpath to see them and other sights, such as rolling pastures and the derelict WWII fortifications. You would also avoid the evil roads but it’s a long, winding and rattly ride.