We knew that cycling across the island would take longer than we planned so we left at 8am in order to catch the 10.30 ferry. We knew that getting out of Ventnor would involve the inevitable push uphill, but apart from the school buses the traffic wasn't too bad. We avoided the disastrous "sunshine route" and took a slightly longer route to join the cycle route 23 which goes from Sandown to Reading. I don't know why anyone would want to cycle from Sandown to Reading but by tomorrow we hopefully would have completed all but the first couple of miles of this route and maybe I will have the answer.
The route 23 was better than I remembered, it was a traffic free off road track with a reasonable surface. The sun was shining and the miles sped past, We negotiated the paths through Newport and reached Cowes just in time for the ferry.
We had devised a system of map and instructions fixed to a plastic wallet on Graham's back, I can read these (if I have the right glasses on) while going along.This system on the whole has worked quite well, except for the first day when the wind was so strong the wallet kept wacking me in the face. However Graham still likes to have his own set of directions (GPS/smartphone) on his front handlebar bag, not that he doesn't trust me!
With the explicit directions we got through Southampton without a hitch, round parks, past the stadium, along rivers and through industrial estates, past the airport, it all went to plan. We saw where we had missed the route on a roundabout on our previous journey and gone disastrously wrong.
We reached Eastleigh, stopped for lunch (in a park) and followed the route north . The highlight of the ride was crossing the Hockley Viaduct which only opened as a cycle route this year and made the news, as it completed this cycle route. The cycle route into Winchester followed the river and we ended the journey in the middle of this lovely city . Arriving early at our b&b nobody was about, so we parked the tandem outside the garage and went off to explore Winchester. The lovely sunny day had turned to rain, so we returned some 3 hours later to see the bike had disappeared, but the lovely landlady had moved safely into her garage, a fully laden locked tandem is not very easy to manoeuvre, so we were well impressed.
Accommodation was lovely, and after a relatively stress free cycle ride we started to look at the next day's route to Reading. The frequent use of the word uphill made me a little anxious. I keep suggesting the train but Graham says you can't get a tandem on a train (I'm sure we could but I don't expect we will).
Distance Ventnor to Winchester 37 miles