Saturday 6 August 2016

A Very Ferry Ride, not Forgetting Those Doughnuts (C#28)
Saturday 6 August, 113 Miles

Today was an opportunity to try something different. My usual ride to the Suffolk coast at Orford often includes a small detour to Orford Ferry. Well as today promised to be lovely and sunny I thought I’d go the extra mile. Actually, it turned out to be an extra five miles – so not much of the ‘extra’ really.  I followed the usual route to Woodbridge where I normally turn left and then head towards the coast. Today I turned right in Woodbridge and rode through Martlesham to the outskirts of Felixstowe along what were some surprisingly quite roads – waymarked as the Ipswich to Felixstowe cycle route.

I have no desire to visit Felixstowe. I once went there about 20 years ago and vowed never to return. It just wasn’t my kind of place – the archetypical British seaside resort. Namely, shabby and down at heel with ‘entertainment’ arcades and shops selling tat. The other main ‘attraction’ is the container port but that’s largely off limits to visitors. Of course I could be doing a great disservice to the place and it has probably picked itself up in the intervening 20 years. Do let me know if I’ve got this wrong and I’ll stand corrected.

So at the edge of Felixstowe I headed down a Quiet Lane. Note the use of capital letters here readers. The sign at the start proudly proclaimed it as a Quiet Lane for cyclists and walkers. And it was quite quiet. I counted five walkers, three joggers, three cyclists and one car emerging from a driveway. Perfect for a balmy Saturday morning.  Soon I could see the North Sea on the horizon and then I found myself riding through the middle of a golf course. Well I wasn’t actually riding on a fairway; the golf course ran along both sides of the road.

After a couple of bends, Felixstowe Ferry with its Martello Towers suddenly appeared and the road ended at the edge of the River Deben. Now lesser mortals may think that I would have to turn around and go back the way I had come. But no! By getting here I was on the very threshold of achieving today’s goal. Getting the bike across the river on the ferry. As I arrived, the ferry was ready and waiting. A quick walk down the jetty, a scramble over the side of the boat and I had boarded. No sooner that I was on board and we were off. I was the only passenger!

Chatting to the ferryman revealed that (a) he had already taken several cyclists across the river this morning; (b) he had no idea how wide the river was and wondered if my Garmin could work it out for him; and (c) if he had £1 for every passenger's photo he’d taken he reckoned he’d be a millionaire. So there you are! We were soon across the river and the Bianchi and I were back on terra firma. To celebrate I had an ice cream on the quayside; the Bianchi declined. Then we were off.

As I rode along the ‘standard’ route I thought of cutting the corner and giving Orford a miss today, instead going straight on to Snape. But the Bianchi had other ideas and so we soon found ourselves in Orford. I soon realised why the Bianchi had declined the earlier offer of an ice cream. Its heart was set on a doughnut. So we rolled up to the Pump Street Bakery which was as busy as ever and I bought the desired doughnut for the Bianchi. I had a skinny lat. Believe that if you will.

The rest of the ride was unremarkable. There were a couple of stretches of road which had just been tarred and chipped which is something I hate. The slippery surface, increased risk of punctures and the potential for stone chip damage or tar spots on the Bianchi’s frame are almost too horrible to contemplate. As this has been such a lovely day I’m not going to have a rant about this. Nearing home I was in high spirits and singing ‘Ferry Cross the Deben’ to the tune of ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’. Try it sometime. You might be surprised!!  

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