This is an ideal sunny weekend ride to the coast - starting at Reading, which of course has frequent trains from London and elsewhere.
Undulating rural roads, quite taxing on occasion, make up the greatest part of the route to Winchester. From Basingstoke to Medstead, the road is remarkably quiet, and you’ll see no more than a handful of cars in this lovely landscape. Keep your navigational wits about you when passing through Basingstoke, where the twists and turns of the route can be hard to follow.
Look out for steam trains in New Alresford, terminus of the Watercress Line. There's a very fine traffic-free section at Winchester, skirting St Catherine's Hill on the line of the old road, then crossing the imposing brick Hockley Viaduct.
The mainland route ends in Southampton, but you can take the ferry to Cowes to discover the superb second act, a railway path across the heart of the Isle of Wight.