To use up some carry-over leave from last year, I booked the last possible use-by dates, and decided on the cyclebreaks Tudor Treat package, so that even if the weather was awful, I could at least be pampered. As it was, having been their last customer out last year, I was their first out this -- and doing so, I caught the last day of the glorious early summer, before a return to more normal conditions. So on the first morning in glorious sunshine I set off, and let the miles roll past:
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Setiing out about 09:30, I didn't decide on what route I'd take until getting to the Red Lion at Martlesham, where I turned right, and made the same sort of loop around Ipswich as I did last time I was there -- only this time, I paid more attention to the cycle-route signs when having to clip the corner of the built-up area (where motorists were queueing to full up cars and petrol cans), and then down the only really busy piece of road, the B1113 through Sproughton, which combined up-hill with constant traffic both ways.
I went through the old village at Copdock, rather than slogging up the old dual carriageway, then through the obvious route to the White Horse at Tattingstone, getting there just after midday; by which time it was warm enough to have taken off the brushed cotton shirt I'd started with. And after a pint -- too early yet for lunch (despite the tempting menu) after a huge breakfast -- warm enough to strip down to shorts as well. From there, the cycle-path around Alton Water began shortly after, then to the Suffolk Food Hall for a light lunch.
The return route was pretty much forced into backtracking some of the way in until turning north at Belstead; then having made mistakes in the in-bound route last time, I followed the more direct way to the city centre and then followed the cycle-route signs out East -- no long spells of pushing, only the first little bit around that multiple roundabout -- and out along the country lanes to the hotel.
Sum total, 45 miles; so I was a trifle creaky when having freshened up, I went down for a much needed pint at the hotel bar.
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Friday opened sunny, and was forecast warm, so I started on the loop down to Felixstowe, to look over at Harwich; but cloud soon bubbled up and socked in completely, with a raw northerly wind, so by the time I got onto the unpleasantly busy road south of Kirton, I thought this was no longer a day for going to the coast, and took the only way out that wasn't back, aiming for the Dog at Grundisburgh for a light lunch; and then took a rather indirect amble back to the hotel, for just over 30 miles in total, before setting off home to beat the evening rush.
Although the second day was more the weather I had been expecting, cold northerly aside, it was really nice to be out and enjoying the countryside in spring -- cowslips, daffodils and primroses running riot in the verges, and daffs in most patches of woodland.