Bike Packing with a Toddler.
After weeks of planning, re planning and more planning it was finally here – the day we would set off on our three-day bike packing adventure with our little girl Ffion. We had no idea how our 19-month-old would cope over three days and had scaled back our original King Alfred Way idea to a triangular route along the South downs. We did this for a few reasons but mainly riding trails we knew and having ‘emergency escape routes’ to get home if we needed made it slightly less daunting!
After two hours packing the Alpkit bags and Ffion’s Tout Terrain trailer we were ready to set off on the first leg. The first day would be biking from home, near Chichester, to Winchester and staying over night in the Premier Inn, mainly because we knew it was bike friendly and easy to get too!
We had never ridden over 20 miles with Ffion in the trailer so took the quicker road route through Rowlands Castle, Charlton and then up to Butser Hill before heading onto the South Downs Way. Ffion slept for most of this leg of the journey, waking just in time for lunch at the Sustainability Centre!
After a delicious lunch we headed onwards and upwards to the top of Old Winchester Hill, one of the real high points with views reaching far out over the Meon valley with rolling hills of crops and sheep.
After lots of open bridleway the Meon Valley trail was a welcome break from the sun as we rolled down through the trees before we re-joined a quiet back road through a few pretty villages and on to Beacon Hill. Back off-road, Ffion was busy playing with her ‘busy book’ (A book full of clasps, buckles, Velcro and zips which gives her endless fun).
The miles clocked up and the time ticked by and soon we were closing in on Cheesefoot Head, the final high point of the day. Open fields stretched for miles interspersed with woodland and down in the valley we could see Winchester, which still seemed quite far away!
We stopped for a snack break and for Ffion to have a run around on the grass, I felt so grateful to be able to share this adventure with her. Snacks packed away it was back to the trail and to continue our final descent into Winchester.
Arriving at the Premier Inn was simple as there is a bridleway which takes you almost to the door. Check in was easy and having the bikes in the room made it much easier.
Now time for that good nights sleep… apparently its guaranteed! What is not guaranteed is being able to get your toddler to sleep in the room where you are staying…
In total we rode 51km in 3 hours 12 minutes with an elevation of 724 meters.