August Adventure, Day 2: New Forest to Steyning

If you missed part one, click here.

Needless to say, we were pretty exhausted when we got up in the morning, and we still had a fair way to go on our journey. It was lovely to spend the sleepy morning under the trees though, cooking some hearty porridge on our stove and sipping a hot cup of tea.

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As it was a Monday morning, we decided to wait until after 9am to get going, so we could avoid the rush hour traffic.

We headed for Hythe, where we got our first ferry of the day. I made the great mistake of buying us coffees before we boarded, which made for a very stressful journey to the end of the pier. Pushing an extremely heavy and imbalanced bike with one hand, and holding a very hot cup of coffee in the other, proved to be more hassle than it was worth, particularly when we had to negotiate two sets of chicanes at each end. I dropped my bike more than once. On two occasions, a complete stranger held my coffee for me. #damselindistress.

Learning from that mistake, we kept the rest of our ferry trips coffee-free.

We arrived in Southampton and set off on the next part of our journey, though we weren’t there long before we crossed a bridge into Woolston, where we joined a nice coastal shared use path. The day would be filled with these paths which, while pleasant, don’t allow you to pick up much speed because of the sheer amount of people milling about, walking their dogs and their offspring.

Once again we had problems with the Garmin. It seems taking it on a ferry confuses it, and for the next few hours we were without turn-by-turn directions because it thought we were following a ‘trail’. We had to rely solely on Adam’s map-reading skills, and the teeny-tiny screen which occasionally decided to zoom out completely on its own. Bloody thing.

The second ferry took us from Hamble le-Rice to Warsash. It was a dinky little pink boat. The captain insisted it was fine for us and our bikes to board, though it wasn’t the easiest feat!

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More flat roads and coastal paths. It was pleasant, but after a while I found it a little boring. I never thought I’d crave some hills, but they do break it up a bit and make it more interesting.

I was also conscious of how slowly we were progressing, due to negotiating shared-use paths. At this point I was starting to worry about how long it would take us to reach Steyning, as it was getting later all the time and it felt like we were moving so slowly.

All we could do was keep going. We went through Lee-on-the-Solent towards Gosport. One of the nice things about this route was going past the Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve.

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In Gosport we got our final ferry, which took us into Portsmouth. Having finally finished the aquatic section of the route, we turned the Garmin off and on again, as it still hadn’t moved on from that ‘trail’. Unfortunately, while this was a success in terms of getting it working again, it also lost us some more time, because when it switched back on, we had to re-load the route. For some reason it takes forever and a day to calculate routes, particularly one as long as this. We found ourselves waiting around a lot.

By this time it was the evening rush hour, which we hadn’t considered as much as the morning. We left the coast and rode inland towards Chichester, where we stopped at a pub for the usual chips and soda.

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By the time we left, it was around 8pm, and the sky was beginning to darken. We still had 30 miles to go, and our Garmin had mysteriously switched itself off.

It had been plugged into a cache battery and was at 100%, but despite this, we just couldn’t get it going again. After waiting about 10-15 minutes for it to calculate the route, it would reach around 85% and then switch off again. We went through this a few times, growing more and more frustrated, tired, and cold.

It was fast approaching 9pm, we still hadn’t left Chichester, and we couldn’t use Google Maps because my phone’s battery was low from the previous day, and Adam’s GPS is broken. We weren’t having fun anymore, so we reluctantly pedalled to the train station.

We got the train to East Worthing and managed to find our way from there. We arrived at the house at around 10:30pm, with an Indian takeaway in tow, and quietly stuffed our faces in silence.

If anyone else has experienced these kinds of issues with a Garmin, I’d like to hear about it. I can’t work out if ours is defective, or if it’s just an unreliable piece of tech. I hear mixed reviews all the time.

Despite the troubles, it was a really good experience. It taught me to ride in lower gears, for one thing, and it was my first time doing two long-distance rides consecutively. I’m definitely up for another!

 

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7 thoughts on “August Adventure, Day 2: New Forest to Steyning

  1. I have had some problems like yours. Sometimes when turning on and loading a route it goes straight to 83% or similar but no turn by turns. I now avoid the “calculate route to start” option. Once I could get nothing out of it and had to do the reset, holding down several buttons at once, can’t remember how. Google. When we were in Scotland I loaded all routes up in sections, to and from each ferry, and generally keep each section to 50-120km. We also found that a day’s route recording on phone was far simpler with ferry sections,as it was one route but no ferry times/distances included.

    You set out and had an adventure, well done. A learning curve. Something very similar happened to us in the Lakes on the first day of a 2 days tour in July, we abandoned at end of day 1 for a combination of bad planning, bad weather and miscalculation of ability. Still smarting over that but we have to take away the experience for future adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I keep thinking about buying a Garmin and then I keep reading about experiences like yours and change my mind. It just seem a tad too temperamental for me.

    I’ve so far kept to paper maps.
    Although, I hosted WarmShowers guests the other day and they apparently got on very well with Open Street Maps on his phone (and quite a few power bank)s.

    In any case, I’m glad the experiences didn’t put you off ^^
    Do you have plans for your next consecutive days ride?

    Like

    1. Haha I’m sorry to put you off. So many people have a great experience with them, and swear by them. That’s why it’s just so frustrating and disappointing. I want it to work!

      We’ve now got two power banks, so we’ll probably stick to something like Google Maps – I’ll look up Open Street Maps though, that’s intriguing.

      Not sure what it’ll be just yet! We’re thinking of visiting my family in East Kent, which would probably need about three days of cycling 🙂

      How about you?

      Like

      1. That’s the Internet isn’t it? People tend to moan more than praise. Still… I think I’ll stick to paper maps for now ^^

        That sounds like a great idea to go down to East Kent on a bike 🙂

        I’m not sure. I have walking plans but I have to admit, I don’t really have any cycling plans at the moment. But I keep seeing the Avon Cycleway on my way to work. I may just start following it one day after work 🙂

        Like

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