Monday, 21 July 2014
Around West Dorset by electric bike
Once upon a time, when I was fit, I cycled up to the most wonderful place on earth.
It's in West Dorset and, when you get to the top, you feel like you're looking out across Narnia. A patchwork of fields, a huddle of houses here and there, ancient hillforts in the distance and then out to the sea, the coastline curling round towards Devon as if Dorset's saying, 'I'll let you into this view, this photo opportunity, but only if you're on your best behaviour.'
Years ago, I watched a storm from here, as it circled and brooded its way over Bridport several miles to the south west. The lightning lit up a dark sky and, up on Eggardon where it was as dry and calm as an empty millpond, it was like being in charge of the weather.
Twenty years ago, I rode up the long, steep hill to Eggardon on my touring bike without getting off. I was as proud but sweaty as anything.
Fast forward and I'm on an electric bike, courtesy of the best prize Mr Grigg has ever won in a raffle - a tour for two led by Martin and Wendy from Jurassic Electric.
It's a new experience, this, and I'm loving it. You get all the best bits of cycling and none of the bad. You can work as hard or as little as you like.
'It's like all of Dorset's hills have been flattened out,' said Hilary, one of the participants on the tour. She and her husband were so impressed with their taster trip last year, they went out and bought their own electric bikes.
They're not cheap, but the tours put on by Jurassic Electric are very reasonably priced. There is nothing quite like seeing the beautiful Dorset countryside from a bicycle saddle. Peering into wooded gardens and getting a glimpse of a lovely cottage or two and tearing down the hills as if you are on fire.
But the best thing about the electric bikes is, once you get to grips with using them, is the effortless pootle you're able to achieve up some of Dorset's hilliest lanes.
When you've cycled for a couple of hours, remarkably un-saddle sore, it's a lovely lunch in the garden of a pub in one of West Dorset's prettiest villages.
It's a wonderful feeling of being free, of being in touch with your surroundings, the wind in your hair as it wisps out from your cycling helmet and the sun on your back.
And at the end of it all, it's back to Lush Places by car and a welcome cup of tea. And not a drop of sweat in sight.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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