Viking Trail

Sunday 19 March 2017

In spite of a ferocious wind for the whole of today’s ride this was a lovely outing on one of our favourite routes. It is a pity that it is not really possible to do this ride successfully in the summer months; because it follows the seafront footpaths for much of the way the local authority has felt obliged to make significant sections ‘pedestrian only’ so cyclists need to ‘get off and push’. But in the autumn, winter and spring these restrictions do not apply and so it is a great ride. Of course care is still needed; there are plenty of pedestrians particularly dog walkers. It is unfortunate but we did seem to encounter rather a lot of inconsiderate dog walkers today. On three or four occasions I was brought to a complete stop whilst a dog wandered across my path or on one occasion chased a ball thrown for it. Disappointing, but hey ho there we go!

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On arrival at the start we thought for a short moment that the wind had dropped but it transpired we must have been sheltered for perhaps the only time during the day. No sooner had we set off it became clear that it was blowing a hooley from the south west so along the coast it was like cycling with a spinnaker – great fun.

We stopped for coffee at Reculver; the visitor centre seemed a bit overwhelmed by our arrival so most of us repaired to the nearby King Ethelbert Inn where some riders were even persuaded to partake of an alcoholic refreshment.

As we rounded North Foreland Point we faced the gale full on so we were grateful of a lunch break albeit somewhat truncated at Broadstairs. Forty minutes later we were off again. At Ramsgate, high on the cliffs overlooking the now deserted dockyard and ferry terminal we were almost blown to a standstill.

We stopped for a very short moment to once again examine the longboat at Pegwell Bay – it hadn’t changed, before setting off for the final leg and the long train journey home.

There were 12 riders today and it was a wonderful day out in great company.

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