Distance: 12 miles one way Difficulty: Easy
If you get the timing and weather right, this ride is just simply stunning.
Thanks to Andy from Christchurch for this route.
This bike ride starts in the car park right above looking down onto the Boscombe Pier. I was very lucky with this particular day. I started early so that I could get the 7am ferry from Poole to Studland. The sky was blue, the sea flat, and there was no breath of wind. The ocean was flat, calm and looked like a mirror. As I headed West with the sea on my left shoulder I cycled along the promenade until I saw the ferry signs after about 4 miles. It is flat, and easy, but the fresh sea air and the rolling hills ahead of you towards Swanage are just jaw dropping in beauty.
I paid £2 for the one way toll on the ferry; £1 for me, and £1 for the bike. A bargain really, and then we set off across the harbour. Poole Harbour is in fact the largest natural harbour in Europe, and certainly in the top 5 in the world. This short travel across the harbour actually knocks 25 miles off the route. Maybe we should try that another time.
After leaving the ferry, head off again with Studland beach on your left and follow the signs for Swanage. At the 8.5 mile mark, you start to climb those beautiful green hills and after about 2 miles you head back down to Swanage. I managed a leisurely ride in 90 minutes and got a bacon sandwich and a coffee in town.
Then I retraced my route back, sat on the beach in the sun for a bit, before getting the ferry back over to Poole. When I got back to Boscombe I went to my favourite seafront café, which is actually a very fine restaurant, The Urban Café. It has fantastic salads, sandwiches and on Sundays great roasts. This time I had a tuna salad and a cheeky pint of Jurassic Pale Ale; why not? I had earnt it, and had a very nice cycle ride too.