On the second Tuesday of our two week stay in The New Forest, it was finally time to get the bikes out and see how we got on.
We had a short circular route planned, with an option of extending it to take in The Old Station Tea Rooms at Holmsley if we felt up to it.
It was a nice bright day, but not too warm, so we headed out. No more than 100 yards down the road and my chain fell off. Not the best start, but we were soon back on our way.
Within a couple of minutes of leaving Border Cottage we were off the beaten track and in the heart of the Wilverley Plain and Enclosure.
We haven't really been out on our bikes since our trip along The Cinder Track in Yorkshire, back in May, and it wasn't long before we were having to resort to getting off an pushing as it was a pretty hilly start.
It wasn't long before we came to decision point and we both opted to keep going with the promise of a tea room treat on the cards. This bit of the ride was on a fairly busy main road, downhill all the way, which was great for now, but we would definitely looking for a different way back.
Before we knew it, we had hit the tea rooms and were soon making the most of the Station Master's Croque Monsieur, followed by a fab lemon meringue pie for me, with no soggy bottom in site and no blow torched meringue either, Mary Berry would be impressed. Definitely worth a stop here if you are passing.
A good look at the map and the GPS led us to opt for a different way back, missing out the main road and the long uphill slog. We both greed we'd rather do any hill biking off he beaten track, then at least if we had to resort to walking, we wouldn't be in fear of our lives from the traffic whizzing past.
As it happened, we found a lovely trail back and only a tiny bit of walking was required, with some really pretty spots along the way.
We were soon back on the old railway line and retracing our way, not helping but to wonder where all the intriguing paths off the beaten track would lead.
We passed this humongous caterpillar on our way back and just had to stop for a photo.
Before long we were back at Border Cottage, feeling just a little be achy in the leg department but pretty pleased with our efforts.