Tour de Goring – day 2 prologue ( 84 km, 617m)


First trip souvenir

Todays first effort was an inadvertent attempt at self immolation.  Staying at our Airbnb venue, the host was absent and left us food in the fridge to cook up.  Eggs and bacon sounded great – so I tried to light the fancy gas stove which immediately shot out flames towards my non fire retardant nightie.  Not satisfied with doing this once, I tried a second time with the same result.  So I googled the manual for the oven and found that yes, I was doing it right – and when the flames flashed their long tendrils out a third time, I thought, stuff the eggs and bacon!

Leaving earlier than originally intended (as the house cleaners had arrived, and entered the bedroom despite me getting dressed) we departed Lane End which is fairly busy in the morning.

We turned off the main road and headed down a minor road to Marlow – a gentle descent was very pleasant.

At Marlow we turned to follow the river, but at a higher level, climbing up and passing in between Davenport Wood and Rassler Wood.  It was truly a beautiful setting.  This was the second time that I had been in these woods, as I had ridden up the road from the opposite direction in 2007 whilst doing the Thames Source to Sea ride on a mountain bike.


The next main village was Mill End, where we crossed the Thames River for the first time – but along the extraordinarily long Hambleden Lock.  The sign says that cyclists must walk their bikes – which initially we did for the first few hundred metres, to be overtaken by a cyclist riding his bike.  Well if he was doing it, so would we.

At Henley on Thames we lingered for a while, checking out the river area well known for its rowing regattas.  We located a café named ‘Café Chocolate’ and had a nice hot drink and tasty nibbly!  We then crossed the river to head into Harpsden and Sonning Common.



I was fascinated by this working well in the middle of the road

At Whitchurch Thames we received a message from our friend John who was on his bike heading our way.  So we kept on course and travelled through Pangbourne (and over the Thames again), which seems to feature many swans on the river.

It was just before Streatley that we found John and together we turned around and crossed the Thames, again, into Goring, where we had a nice lunch together – and I purchased the craft work that appears above.  It was a cyclist friendly café – the first one we had seen this trip.

Goring is another pretty river village.

John and I on the bridge at Goring

It was great having John ride with us as it meant we no longer had to navigate, which required numerous stops and discussions as to which direction we were meant to be heading.

Riding through Crowmarsh Gifford I noted a street named Jethro Tull Gardens, and assumed it was named after the band – but no, it was named after Jethro Tull a famous English agricultural pioneer who helped bring about the British Agricultural Revolution.  He perfected a horse drawn seed drill in 1701 that economically sowed the seeds in neat rows.  He later developed a horse drawn hoe.  The 1970’s group of the same name was named after him!

Another wonderful piece of trivia that I learned from John as we rode, was the sport of poohsticks (I must admit, I had never heard of it!)   The sport was first mentioned in The House of Pooh Corner, a Winnie the Pooh book by A.A.Milne.  Apparently, it is a simple sport which may be played on any bridge over running water – each player drops a stick on the upstream side of a bridge and the one whose stick first appears on the downstream m side is the winner.  The annual world championships are held on the Thames, nearby where we were riding.

We motored along into Wallingford (crossing the river again), to Long Wittenham, following the river to Clifton Hampden (yep, you got it right, another Thames crossing) and into Dorchester.

I was particularly keen to see Dorchester Abbey as I missed it in 2007 due to navigational issues!!  Dorchester Abbey was definitely worth a visit.


Cottage in the cemetery at the Abbey


From there it was just a short ride to John and Val’s home in Benson – where Val was waiting, having cooked us a beautiful lemon cake!

6 thoughts on “Tour de Goring – day 2 prologue ( 84 km, 617m)

  1. Loving your Blogs Sharron. Wasn’t it lovely for John to meet you and navigate you guys home after such a hiccup of a day yesterday. As I said on facebook though, you do meet some lovely people along the way, and it’s the people you meet that make the country so memorable. The country side is just beautiful, and it gives me itchy feet to travel there again myself. We haven’t been to any of these towns you mention. How are the legs holding out? You guys are amazing. Treat yourself to some bacon and eggs at a cafe tomorrow honey, stuff the cooking. Look forward to your next blog, pictures are wonderful. xxx much love to you both. xxxxx



  2. Legs are going fine. We have not been going that fast as we are weighed down by the extra weight of carting our gear for a few days. Today we head off to London on the bike. Undecided how far we will ride in for ( traffic and navigation considerations),

    Yes you are quite right, the trip so far has been defined by the people we have met who have been so supportive, encouraging and sharing. I find I am overwhelmed by that aspect.

    There is a gas oven downstairs! Do I risk it??

    Many thanks xxx


  3. Were the housecleaners traumatised (by your near nakedness)??!!… do we have an international incident??!!… Do Ineed to organise trauma counselling for them??!!
    Sent us a pic of you looking like the chimney sweep out of Mary Poppins – all singed hair and carboned up after your stove lighting incident!!!


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