The Last Ferry

Training ride 16 – distance: 16.9 miles

Training ride 17 – distance: 18.3 miles

Total training miles: 235.3

Days left to challenge: 328

Well after thinking that autumn had well and truly arrived the sun has come out again. The knees have made a surprise re-appearance and a few more miles have been added to the tally. On my excursions I seem to have increasingly found myself looking for nice places for a cup of coffee – The Maybush at Waldringfield and The Galley in Woodbridge have both been welcome stops.

My trip to Waldringfield coincided with a group of ten or so cyclists from Ipswich who thought it was the ideal spot for a full English, I have to say as I saw the breakfasts arrive I couldn’t help but agree but as we know my Lycra is already a tad on the ‘close fitting’ side I think consumption of that many calories – however tempting – may have pushed the limits of my already challenged seams!

To be honest, although I am getting on the bike fairly regularly, and therefore doing far more exercise than I was before I signed up, I’m not really shifting any pounds. I could put it down – as some kind people have – to the ‘muscle weighs more than fat’ school of thought  but I think it is far more likely to be down to my Yin Yang “I’ve been for a bike ride therefore I can eat cake & drink beer”  mentality.

For example Saturday night was my sister in law’s 50th birthday party and the family had arranged a surprise meal at The Fludyers in Felixstowe. Having already determined that I would leave the car in Felixstowe, get a taxi home and then cycle to collect it in the morning (a gentle ten mile ride) I threw myself into the evening. The food was excellent and plentiful. Starter, main, pudding and birthday cake all enthusiastically (and greedily) consumed. Add wine, add beer and my mental calorie counter was whirling like a child’s windmill in a hurricane.

Waking on Sunday morning I decided that a ten mile ride would only scratch the surface of the previous nights gluttony so resolved that I would  go the ‘long way’ round to get the car, cycling to Bawdsey and then getting the ferry across the river.

“Is the ferry running?” my wife asked “after all it is mid October…” A quick Google later and I found that although with reduced days (weekends only in October) the ferry was indeed running. It was a VERY windy ride, great for a work out but  just when I thought I had been cycling directly into the breeze I would turn a corner and discover, with gusts that almost sent me backwards, that I hadn’t. The doubts began to creep in. Although the ferry was scheduled to run, would it in this wind?

I needn’t have worried. Ferry men are built of sturdy stuff and the boat was waiting as I arrived. The ferryman (John Barber) had said he had spotted me riding to the quay and brought the boat across. “Very few cyclists turn around” he said, and on reflection I’m sure John’s right. It’s a long way back.

As we crossed he told me that next weekend (25th/26th October) is his last of the season and the service will start again in early May so for a few months this lovely circuit will be off my list of rides. Perhaps by the time it restarts I will have a lost a few  pounds and choose the ride for pleasure rather than calorie burning necessity.

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