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© Lithuanian City of London Club 2012
LCLC bike trip, Isle of Wight (Photo)
May 11, 2013

…a passage from a diary…

 While an avid reader of the LCLC adventures is likely well aware of our smashing hit of a skiing trip to Chamonix, she may not be in the know of certain promises that were made right there on the slopes and of an idea that was conceived in the minds of a few… Well, it was just a simple thought actually – nevertheless the author of these trip notes was quite excited – the next LCLC trip was bound to involve two wheels, pedals and some more challenges. Haven’t done any decent cycling for ages!

 Light breeze and cozy warmth of the sun are not exactly a sure bet during the British summer and as one may have expected, the weather forecasts were looking grim. Never mind! Some encouraging assurances from our trip leaders and most of the original band remained firmly committed.

 It was a lovely (and also mildly challenging for some) Saturday morning, and the spirits were high. The group arrived to the Portsmouth harbor just to find that Met Office was completely mistaken with their forecast yet again – no rain for today, just a bit of wind. Well, that’s nothing! Soon boarding the Wight Ryder II one could not help but notice that coffee and sugary snacks were the preferred fuel combination… Open roof-top sun deck was a good inspiration and reminder that this early morning commute is not exactly to the office.

 Ryde, Isle of Wight – a brief 5 minute stroll from the peer to the shore and here are the bikes. Brand new: a selection of orange, red and white – the essential racing colours. Some basic fitting, adjustments, and (importantly) double-checking the pub ratings with the locals – yes the Crab and Lobster Inn in Bembridge is the right choice for today. Tick.

 “On your bikes!” And off we go.

 Sun is shining, light breeze combs the hair, fresh air fills the chest and summer feel uplifts the soul... Ghem… I may be getting too poetic here. Well, just a couple of minutes and we leave Ryde, going east by the shore, passing by a crowd of spectators cheering for a canoeing competition. A good mix of dirt roads, paved tracks and pebble beaches confirms mountain bikes were the right choice.

 Going was great fun and one could sense it was just too easy. Well, just in case we got bored, there was a leading group of volunteers to find a challenge for us. So it happened: of course when the beach ended we decided that some small rocks will not stop us and we tackled them with bikes on our backs! Progress was a bit slow, but definitely fun. Folks leading the group saw the end of this rocky shore just round the corner, but as the rest of us caught up, the end was not really there. Some teamwork skills, weight lifting and balance exercises and we were pushing ahead. The tide seemed to be moving up and shoes got more and more wet. After a few more lifts, we discovered a woodland track and biked up the hill deeper into the island. We ended up on a porch of some luxury hotel and golf fields behind us were about to jeopardize the cycling plan, so we moved on swiftly.

 Wind picked up and soon our next bit of fun was balancing on a narrow stone bridge across the mariner at St Helens bay. Crab and Lobster Inn was only a few more miles down the road, welcoming fellow cyclists with a well deserved pint and food.

 Seafood of all sorts dominated the menu and one true local lobster was the king at the helm. Quite a queue at the bar, with a group of fifteen hungry cyclists guessing what is the best option. As the orders came in, the mixed seafood grill dish was voted to be the one. As appropriate, a wide set of topics were examined, ranging from dull and important to entertaining and rather silly.

 Tasty large portion for lunch is great while sitting down, but at this point the author experienced that full stomach does not exactly help trying to cycle up the hill against the prevailing winds. The weather was putting in some extra motivation as the sun disappeared and grey clouds were promising cold rain.

 5:00 pm, we are back at the harbor, bikes are put on the trailer to be returned, hands being shaken and sky pouring with rain. The British kind of summer finally got here, but we managed to have some great fun before it did.

 Given this opportunity, the author of these notes and witness to the great fun we all had would like to thank Vilma for organizing the trip. Put your hands together please!

 Till next time, bye!”