The Last Tints of Autumn

I haven't managed to go on many Autumn Tints' mainland rides this year. On several occasions the weather has been so foul that the ride has been cancelled and on a couple of rare occasions when the sun did shine, I had things that I needed to do. November's ride would be the last mainland outing until spring. For once the weather was fairly kind, a cold north wind, but dry at last. The destination was Singleton, in Sussex, an area I had never visited by bike so I was doubly keen to go.

Singleton Ride 005

Autumn Tints!

There are 2 ferries from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth. It suits me better to catch the fastcat from Ryde but I was the only cyclist on it. I did have a map just in case but I was fairly confident that the rest would turn up on the car ferry from Wootton. Off the ferry and onto the appointed meeting place but there was still no sign of them so I set off cycling towards the car ferry terminal. Sure enough I could see the others riding towards me so I did a quick U turn (which wasn't quite so quick as I had to wait for all the cars from the ferry to pass) and set off after them.

Car traffic leaves Portsmouth by the M275 but the cyclists' route follows quieter streets then shared pavements to the Continental Ferry Port and then a fine cycle track by the water's edge towards the outskirts. Traffic began to thin out as we left Havant and headed towards Bedhampton where we had a lengthy wait at a level crossing. The leaders' GPS showed a cycle route through what looked like a pedestrian precinct. We hadn't gone far when an angry voice shouted
'Can't you lot read the signs? No cycling!'

Once through there we were out into open countryside heading roughly in the direction of Chichester. I've only visited this area by train so it seemed quite exciting to be doing it by bike. Cycling on the Isle of Wight I tend to miss that liberating feeling of just how far from home a bike can take you. And with no petrol or tickets to buy either! A Roe Deer ran across the road just in front of us. More excitement – there are no deer on the Island.
Heading north towards Goodwood we almost came to grief. John stopped to admire a fine chalk stream flowing fast and deep beside the road. It was a lovely stream and I stopped too. Unfortunately Steve was too busy admiring the stream as he rode down the hill and only noticed that we had stopped at the very last moment. There was a strained shout, a blow from behind and the sound of bicycle parts hitting the road! Fortunately it had only been a glancing blow to my saddle bag that had broken the plastic clip on my extra rear light. Both bikes were fine and my main rear light on my rack was fine too. Steve apologised profusely, I apologised too as I had stopped quite far out in the road and John apologised for stopping in the first place! We continued on our way the best of friends!

Singleton Ride 003

Taking a breather at Goodwood

It was quite a long climb up past the famous racecourse at Goodwood before we dropped down into Singleton for lunch. John and Steve headed for the pub. The log burner was very tempting but I resisted and joined Dick in the churchyard with my sandwiches. I'd been perfectly warm cycling but it wasn't long before we were slapping our legs and blowing on our hands to try to keep warm. We decided to chivy them out of the pub before they got too comfortable and we froze to death!

Singleton Ride 004

Lunch spot

We soon got our revenge! A steep climb was just the thing for warming frozen limbs but not so good after a couple of pints! As we rode through a wood people stood at the side of the road waving flags. We seemed to be heading through the middle of a pheasant shoot but fortunately the gunfire didn't seem too close. It wasn't much after 3 o'clock but the light was already fading. I was rather surprised when everyone voted to forego the tea stop at Rowland's Castle in order to try to get back to Portsmouth before it got completely dark but it certainly seemed like a good idea. I did find the last few miles into Portsmouth a bit scary, a bewildering mix of noise, cars and lights. When it comes to 'dancing with traffic' I've got 2 left feet! I was just glad to hang onto the wheel in front of me. We made it back to the harbour just as the fastcat was pulling out. Oh well, you can't win them all!
A most enjoyable day.

13 comments on “The Last Tints of Autumn”

  1. Kern wrote:

    A good outing in the dark months. I'm jealous. Temperatures over here have almost touched minus 20 some nights. My neighbour at the cottage predicts a hard winter – the beavers have been overly industrious. No cycling for me for a few months.

  2. Chris wrote:

    "We decided to chivy them out of the pub before they got too comfortable and we froze to death!"

    Oh, yes. That's why I go in cafes etc, especially this time of year.

    Nice to get out to unfamiliar roads. Actually, it's simply nice to get out. My last ride was three or four weeks ago. Tried to get out yesterday, but it was literally freezing despite blinding – low – sunshine. In the end I just cleaned my best bike ready for hibernation. Nice autumny photos.

  3. Patrick wrote:

    Hilary wrote ...the light was already fading ... forego the tea stop ... before it got completely dark

    I'd like to remind everyone (as I do each year) that the afternoons begin to lengthen again on 15th December – 12 days from now... LOL

    A good ride Hilary. The roads have been icy in Lancashire UK but not minus 20. Poor Kern! (Titanium Man to the rescue?)

  4. Hilary wrote:

    Minus 20

    That doesn't bear thinking about!
    Nice to know the start of spring is only a couple of weeks away! LOL!

    While I was out today I noticed that someone has painted 'SLOW ICE' on the road just before a spot where water run off always makes an ice sheet across the road. Don't know if its been done by an individual or the council.

  5. Patrick wrote:

    Minus 20

    For info: long term weather forecast for Ottawa on YR.NO (a good website for round-the-world weather including the UK, by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation).

  6. Jim wrote:

    I sometimes think that the low sun is more dangerous than cycling in the dark. I only ride between 11am and 3pm at this time of year but even then the sun is, IMO, dangerous as drivers can fail to spot you.
    Out on a run last week with the sun quite dazzling we saw an old chap setting off in his car, he had just cleared a small hole in the iced up windscreen to peer through. Pity any cyclists etc on his nearside.
    Today there was a tanker driver driving towards me into the sun whilst busy texting on his phone.
    Give me dull grey days please.

  7. ALA Dutch Bike Tours wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It made me feel so peaceful. I Can't wait for the longer days to come, so I can enjoy a nice long ride like you described with the crisp evening air filling my lungs. Thanks again for the post.

  8. Patrick wrote:

    Jim is right about low sun, and frost on windscreens too. And about drivers texting, and grey days LOL.

    The best winter days for cycling are indeed the dull grey ones, preferably windless. Switch the lights on for the last few murky miles home. Lovely.

  9. Jim wrote:

    I was looking at the Tints website. The Bolton one seems to have faded away. Anybody know if it is still live?

  10. Patrick wrote:

    Their website has a 2012 runs list for Bolton, going up to March. Tint-wise, it seems there is only the IoW and Bolton, with a possible Yorkshire. Did you read that Tom Hughes, the founder, cycled over 149,000 miles from the age of 58 onwards? (he was from Wigan)

  11. Hilary wrote:

    I think the Autumn Tints have officially ceased to exist after about March this year. I don't know the full details but there was some issue about insurance cover, that runs' leaders could be legally liable if a claim was made as a result of an incident/accident that occurred on their rides. I think the rides still continue in Bolton but just as a group of friends without an official leader. The IOW group maintains the name but is effectively a Wednesday meeting of the Wayfarers who have insurance cover as part of their CTC affiliation. The compensation culture gone mad. I don't know what Owd Tom would have made of such nonsense!

  12. Chris wrote:

    Sad about the Tints fading. I reversed my little intended route on Sunday because there was a bit of fast B road riding on it (the road was fast – I'm still trying to shake off man flu) and I wanted the sun at my back when drivers on my side overtook me. As it turned out I ended up on one of the busiest A roads in the area. But that's another story...

  13. Tim wrote:

    One of the Isle of Wight's best kept secrets is that we have a small number of Red Deer living and breeding in the wild. They are very shy and secretive and far more difficult to spot than any farmed deer. The browsing and grazing of these deer can enhance biodiversity by creating a mosaic of grassy and shrubby understorey favourable to some of the other rare mammals that we have here including Red Squirrels, Hazel Dormice and Bechstein's Bat,

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