After the excesses and a houseful of family over Christmas (just 13 of us), we decided to head for the coast for a brisk cycle and for the Littlest to finally try out her Wiggins bike (incredibly lightweight) so we needed to find somewhere safe and flat.
The seafront from Hengistbury Head towards Bournemouth is perfect for this and with a brilliantly crisp day with clear blue skies, it was great conditions too; the only downside was the number of pedestrians but, hey, it just made it a little more challenging. Parking at the Solent Beach car park (there’s a barrier so you need to remember to take any bikes off the roof before you go through- we nearly forgot as we left the car park …) is a good location as it’s a short walk through the sand dunes to the sandy Solent Beach and easy to access the seafront promenade. It’s still ridiculously cheap at £1.50 for a full day.
Turning left along the pavement out of the car park, we took the path that leads to the seafront. Having cycled along the front with me hanging back with the Littlest while the others rode on, we then retraced our tracks and FoTT took over buddy duties. Back at the car park we decided to cycle across the grassland and past the Hengistbury Head visitor centre turning right along the path that leads to the end of the spit, around the edge of Mudeford Quay. We cycled past the pretty beach huts and stopped at The Beach House where we queued for a short time before getting a table for lunch – this was the first time that we hadn’t been able to book, but we still had a table for the 6 of us within about 10 minutes. And it’s always worth the wait; busy, bustling, great service, very laid back, good wholesome food – whether you just want a hot chocolate, a steak sandwich or a full blown three course meal. And at this time of year, everyone is dressed in full winter garb with hats, coats, scarves and gloves hanging over the back of chairs.
The Littlest was definately in need of sustenance by now!
We headed back as the sun began to set – not the longest cycle we’ve done, but it was lovely to have the Littlest independent on her own bike and part of our cycling pack. So, if you’re looking for an easy and safe family bike ride for new riders, head for the coast.