6 intrepid souls (Kevin Ridge, Eamonn Deane, Cliff Rowe, Will Soloman, Mike Courage and Mark Freeman) met on a dark and moist Saturday morning at Kev’s place near Cranborne for a social ride taking in some of the delights of the Cranborne Chase.
A nice steady starting pace was necessary in order to make sure that we didn’t arrive at the first stop – Sixpenny Handley brewery – before opening time. We sampled the beer (IPA, Best and Gold) and had some lunch (Crisps and Peanuts).
A slightly faster (beer fuelled) pace on the short road ride from the Brewery to the farm where Cranborne Chase Cider is made. This was an educational visit where we learnt about blending, pressing and maturing the best cider from Badger, the farm’s owner. We sampled the cider (Vintage, Dry, Medium, Sweet and Fizzy) and saw the cider press in action.
Once Eamonn had found his wallet and beer tokens we then got back on our bikes and made our way to Tollard Royal and the long byway climb up to Win Green. The first few 100 meters were a little steep and technical and we realised we had dropped Eamonn. I turned back to see where Eamonn was to find him off his bike and pushing. His technical climbing skills were obviously 1 pint of cider out of reach by this stage.
By now the weather was quite wet and the chalky Ox Drove more treacherous than ice in places. A quick stop at Compton Abbas Airfield to refuel (Coffee and Cake) before heading back down the hill towards the Chase, and for some back to Ringwood and Bournemouth.