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Demystifying avoided routes in Purbecks

There are some roads on every cyclists map which for one or another reason are avoided. Too steep, too narrow, too rocky, or too annoying... I decided to tackle some some of those routes to see I they really represent a challenge I labelled them with.

Warm up on the beach

From where I live to Sandbanks ferry is 12km. Ideal distance to warm up, even though this morning it wasn't easy to beat the -2 Celsius temperature.

Before hitting on the challenging sections I had the most pleasant ride through some well known places, some of them already mentioned in this post.

Bournemouth beach
Bournemouth beach
Fast and smooth road to Studland
Fast and smooth road to Studland
Purbeck Forest. Early hours can spoil with perfect light for photos
Purbeck Forest. Early hours can spoil with perfect light for photos
A must take picture at Corfe Castle
A must take picture at Corfe Castle

Steep and rocky

First challenge: offroad path from Corfe to Kingston. If you know this area, you know there's quite a long climb on the road and it's not one you can beat without throwing an F word a couple of times. So now make it more interesting and try it on a rocky bridleway which wanders through some private farm estates. I usually push myself hard on the climbs but this one saw me hike a bike for few minutes... The climb ends in some private woodlands (the bridleway is public though) and it's an absolutely gorgeous place contrasting beautifully with the hardcore path behind you.

Corfe to Kingston on a rocky bridleway
Corfe to Kingston on a rocky bridleway

Locked goodies

Second usually avoided section on my morning trip was a road from Kingston down to Chapman's Pool. There are gates which are locked and that's very off-putting for anyone on 2 wheels. The only way to get through is to throw a bike above the gate and then use the 2 steps mounted by the gate for hikers use.

It's worth the effort. The road itself is brilliant: speedy tarmac/gravel with the see view on the horizon. The road then bends and leads towards Worth Matravers.

Road to Chapman's Pool
Road to Chapman's Pool

Footpaths with a view

The last challenge on my ride was to get closer to the South Coast Path and follow it to Swanage. The South Coast Path is dedicated to hikers. There are some sections which are too dangerous to ride on any bike but hiking a bike for few metres solves the problem. The reward is a breathtaking view and... a sore bum from riding a very uneven terrain.

If you ever want to try it, make sure to pick a day when tourists don't rush all at once for a coastal walk. You may find them calling you crazy/mad as the path really isn't a good fit for cycling of any type. At least now I know.

Dancing Ledge below
Dancing Ledge below
Back on tarmac all the way to the ferry
Back on tarmac all the way to the ferry
Photo of Marek, founder of Bikes and Bacon

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