A perfect stormin’ little stove

On a previous day tour I had taken a small gas stove, along with a stainless steel pot (the smallest of a nest of three, which I’ve used for camping for years, when saving weight hasn’t been a priority). However, as you can see from the photograph below, this can be somewhat unstable, unless you are on firm ground, and there is no wind. The whole setup is also relatively heavy, and burning a fossil fuel goes against the grain. It was time to investigate alternatives.

A brew stop where one of my rides intersected with The South Downs Way
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The Thrill of the Chase (Dorset): Inbound

Jack Thurston’s Lost Lanes West cycling guide describes a 65-mile tour starting and finishing at the railway station in Gillingham, Dorset. I adapted the tour to create a two-day 80-miler, starting and finishing where I live.

This blog post focuses on the second day, inbound from Gillingham. The first day is covered here.

The road out of Gillingham, heading east in early morning haze
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The Thrill of the Chase (Dorset): Outbound

Jack Thurston’s Lost Lanes West cycling guide describes a 65-mile tour starting and finishing at the railway station in Gillingham, Dorset. This tour takes in Cranborne Chase, Blandford Forum, the Stour valley and Shaftesbury (including the iconic Gold Hill, of Hovis advert fame).

Witchampton, which is the furthest point on the tour from Gillingham, is only about eight miles from where I live, so I decided to be a little creative: I split the tour in two days, starting it and finishing it at home, and making Gillingham an overnight stop. In planning it this way, it turned out that each day would be – purely by coincidence – a very manageable 40 miles (i.e. with time for stopping, pottering, and brewing drinks on a new stove, which I was planning to ‘field test’).

This blog post focuses on the first day, outbound to Gillingham. The second day is covered here.

Joining The Thrill of the Chase route at Witchampton, heading west towards Blandford Forum
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Winchester Winter Warmer (in Spring)

This day tour follows a route recommended by Jack Thurston, in his book ‘Lost Lanes South’. I had already followed a couple of the day tours he had recommended in his follow-up cycling guide – ‘Lost Lanes West’ – but decided that this time I would travel east for a change (I live in Dorset) – to Winchester, just for a change – from where this tour starts (and where it finishes, at the railway station).

There is much to commend Jack’s guidebooks, including the fact that he makes .gpx files available for each recommended tour, which you can download from his website. This would be my first cycling trip using Komoot – a navigation app – for turn-by-turn navigation, using the .gpx file that Jack provides for this route. I had recently ordered an adapter from Bike Fun (in Taiwan), which would enable me to use a Topeka phone mount on the top of my Bike Fun bottle cage bracket, so I was keen to see how well this set up worked.

My cheap and cheerful Nokia 1, sat nav extraordinaire, held in place by a Topeak phone mount on my bottle cage bracket
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Time for tougher tyres

I’ve had three punctures in eight months. All of these have been on the way to or from work, rather than when touring, but I really don’t think that’s a great strike rate. Furthermore, although I have become much quicker at changing an inner tube (all three were the back wheel too), it is still something that I would prefer to avoid doing at night, in the rain, beside a busy road (yes, I know that is the worst case scenario).

My Brompton came with fitted with Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyres. These have a lower rolling resistance than Schwalbe Marathon tyres, and they are more durable than Schwalbe’s Kojak tyre (which is also an option on new Bromptons), but my own experience over eight months suggested that the Racers are not as puncture resistant as I would like.

Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyre (L), to be replaced with Schwalbe Marathon tyre (R)
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