I love my new teaching role. I look forward to teaching my Saudi students and we get on famously.
But every silver lining has a cloud, and the cloud in this case is the fact that I can’t cycle to work and teach on the same day.
However, because Friday is the Muslim holy day, I don’t teach my boys on Fridays, and that leaves me free to ride to work … hoorah !!!
So just before 7:00, I was up and out on t’ bike and heading off towards Sandbanks and the promenade ride to Christchurch and thence to Ringwood. It’s a lovely ride, with lots of changes in environment en-route.
The ride through Poole Quay is always interesting. Fishing boats, RNLI lifeboats, any number of plastic gin palaces line the route, and there is always a distinct smell of the sea present too, though I have no idea why that should be more so at that point.
The cycle path around Whitecliff Park is often a challenge. Not because it is hilly, but because it it usually packed with joggers, walkers and dogs both on and off the lead. That isn’t the case at 7:00am however and I was soon nipping out of Turks Lane and onto Sandbanks Road through Lilliput.
Unless the weather is particularly wild, you never notice the wind direction when you drive. On a bike you are affected far more by the meteorological conditions, so by the time I came down the far side of Evening Hill, I was aware that my journey time was not going to be wind assisted.
You could count the number of people on the prom on the fingers of one hand, so progress was not going to be impaired dodging the pedestrians, but the flags were confirming my initial thoughts. It was going to be a long ride to Christchurch, 11.2km to be precise, into the teeth of a 30khp head wind, with no hope of respite at any point along the shore line.
Of course I am over-dramatising the situation, I had an hour and a half to complete the journey, and a little breeze wasn’t going to stop me getting to work. And it didn’t, but it did make the challenge that little bit more difficult.
Between Alum Chine and Bournemouth Pier, I rode with a chap on a vintage Bianchi road bike. As you might expect, we talked about our bikes, as all cyclists do, and discussed the conditions. We agreed that, as Sod’s law comes into play at times like this, the breeze would be coming from the West for the evening ride home. At the Pier, we bade each other farewell and he headed off towards Lansdowne, I continued on along the seafront.
The prom gets narrower as you approach Southbourne, and the wind seemed to be funnelled along the cliff face, making progress yet more challenging. So by the time I reached the up-ramp, just after a deserted Bistro On The Beach, I had had my fill of having my legs whipped by the wind blown sand.
In comparison, the journey through Christchurch, up Stony Lane, through Burton and Sopley, following the Hampshire Avon through Avon, and on to Ringwood was a breeze (no pun intended).
I arrived at work in plenty of time, though the journey had taken rather longer than usual. And you can bet your shirt on the fact that the wind direction will have changed by the time I set off for home.