Posted by: brendaintheboro | September 22, 2019

Not a lot doing

I thought you would like to see a couple of photos taken by DS1.

The first is Rogie Falls in Scotland which he took while cycling in Scotland while we were on the 10p tour. Apparently, this is a great place to see salmon leaping but not on that day.

Rogie falls

He got up well before dawn and went down to take a few photos down at the coast at Saltburn on Sea.

early mornign Saltburn

As for me, I didn’t do much cycling until Friday. I have been having a lot of trouble with muscle pain in my legs and I really should go and see a GP rather than delaying. However, on Friday I decided a ride to Newton Aycliffe was on the cards. I had received a £10 voucher for the Crafters Companion store and there was no minimum spend. So we cycled across and I did make more use of the electric assist than I usually do.  Still , I got there and got myself a very nice circle cutter ruler and a couple of fat quarters. No these aren’t fat backsides, but approx. 18″x22″ pieces of fabric.

DH made a small table when he was a lad in school. It was at his mam’s for years and when she died , it came to our shed. Anyway , he decided he needed a small table for next to his seat and so he rubbed it down and painted it dark grey. I asked if he would like a mat to cover up the very uneven top surface. I was surprised when he said he had been going to ask for one. This is the result and he is well pleased.

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So , we also had a short ride on Saturday, so I made the weekly mileage up to 42 and the YTD is 3409 miles

 

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Posted by: brendaintheboro | September 16, 2019

Ten Pence Train Ticket Tour

In August our son  got a flash sale come up on his phone that Northern Rail had thousands of  train tickets in the north for 10p. Well, who could resist? There were 2 available for the 12th September when we had the time to go off on another short tour.

We decided to head across to Carlisle on the 5.45am train arriving just after 8.30am , so giving us the full day to cycle. We did meet another cyclist who got on at Newcastle who also had a 10p ticket and he had intended going to Whitehaven to ride the C2C in one day. However, as we got further west the sky was becoming increasingly gloomy and he kept checking the weather forecast. When he saw it would be rain, he abandoned, the idea and alighted at Hexham for a dry ride home.

Not us though! Actually, I had the foresight to book a Travelodge in Cockermouth and they were brilliant.  More of that later.

Setting off from Carlisle it was dry but overcast and then when we had ridden about 4 miles, the rain started very lightly, but we soon had to don the waterproofs. The roads around the Solway area are  fairly flat so not too strenuous. Taking a direct line would have been too short a day, so we headed across to Abbeytown to have a look at the remains of the abbey there.

The dissolution of the monasteries saw Holme Cultrum  Abbey founded in 1150 by Cistercian monks , saw it fall into disrepair apart from part which was retained as the parish church. In 2006 , it was further damaged  when the church had an arson attack. It has since been repaired and has some nice stained glass windows.

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The front entrance is huge and we could get the bikes and trailers inside. There was atea rooms advertised but not on the day we were there. The toilet facilities were   open though.  So we sat and ate 2nd breakfast and had a look at the very good exhibition before braving the elements once again.

Once in Cockermouth, we found the hotel and I have to say they were really kind. WE washed the cycles and trailers off with an outside tap and small hose and dried them off with supplied towels. We were then able to take the bikes into our ground floor room. I had a line strung up and so we were able to get the wet clothes dry. They even supplied us with paper to stuff our wet shoes with.

 

 

Friday 13th September

The day dawned sunny and after an all you can eat breakfast, we set off following the Komoot app towards Low Abbey. All was well , as it wasn’t too steep and then we came to an off road section we werent expecting. We thought we had checked but we hadn’t done  carefully enough.  Still, it didn’t look too bad, as it was a bridle track .

It got worse though when we came to a downhill section. It might have been OK on a full suspension mountain bike but on a touring e-bike pulling a trailer, it wasn’t so easy. In fact, we had to start walking and then as we came down to a logging road , DH had to take the bikes down, as I was a bit scared.

Once down at the bottom, we were pleased to be on old roads and we soon got into Keswick but the cycle track is still not open and being repaired. So we had to find another way on the Penrith Road which was closed to motor vehicles. We weren’t the only ones though and we cycled up the very steep road to Castlerigg Stone circle. The e-bikes really were brilliant getting us up there.

We had decided to visit old kayaking friends as they are no longer able to get out as much as they once did. We expected to be there at the village of Helton between 1-2pm but knew that the way in Pooley Bridge was also under repair.

Komoot showed a route avoiding the village. It again showed a way over a very wobbly footbridge which wasn’t too bad and another bridleway. What a mistake that was. I didn’t even take any photos but it was across a cow filled field, through gorse bushes and almost bog like conditions.  It took us about 2 hours to take the cycles and trailers across. Yes, we were mental to not turn back!!!

Still, we got to see our friends and ate lunch at 3.45pm. It was pleasant to look at photos and remember other old friends who are no longer with us. Still we had to make Kendal so set off just before 5.30pm and cycled up to the village of Shap and then began the climb up and over the 1400ft Shap summit on the A6. There is a memorial to the lorry drivers who risked and lost their lives hauling goods over summit. Even in an English summer , it can be very cold and sleety up there. We were in luck and once over the climb , it was almost downhill all the way to the campsite, just before Kendal town.

We did notice the Shap Fell Bothy just before the summit and the views are stunning.

 

Even at 7.00pm, the site manager got us a pitch with a hook-up so we could recharge the bikes. We chatted to another couple of cycle tourists who were camping nearby and they came over to look at our rigs. A lady in a nearby motorhome boiled the kettle for us so I didn’t even have to break out the stove.

Saturday , 14th September 2019

It was a wet pack due to heavy dew but we got away about 8.30am and we called into a supermarket before heading off to climb up to Grayrigg on the A685 but there was very light traffic. It may have been something to do with frequent road closed – Monday to Friday signs.  After this there is another fast descent down towards the Lune Valley with the M6 in the bottom. We hardly had to pedal until the road crossed over to climb up to Tebay.

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It was 2nd breakfast time in the little play area.There was a cool wind blowing so we had to put on warm jackets.

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As we were leaving , I a spoke to a local chap who told us a way to take the tiny lane that ran parallel with the busy main road. I wasn’t about to be taken on another unknown route by Komoot.

We did have to go on the main road after a while but remembered that the local man had mentioned the village of Ravenstonedale so we called into a pub there for a lemonade. The barmaid gave us detailed instructions to get us to Kirkby Stephen that kept us largely off the A685 and instead after minor roads, onto the A683.  Then at the T junction we only had a short way into Kirkby Stephen.

Then , we had a few miles on to the main road up to Brough and another climb up towards Teesdale. We had a stop about half way up as I needed to change my battery and so had lunch sitting in a parking bay .

I have to say the Koga World Traveller e-bikes coped beautifully with the climbs even though at times I was in the sport mode a lot of the time. When we reached the summit , it was again another fast run down and then we saw a body of water which is Selset reservoir which we had cycled to some years ago on ordinary bikes.

Just outside Middleton in Teesdale we turned and cycled down through the villages of Mickleton, Romalkirk and Cotherstone before getting to the campsite at Lartington. We were really surprised to see it was only 3.45pm. There was no hook-up available but the site managers put our batteries on charge for us.  I didn’t even cook as the Fish and Chip can came and so that is what we had.

The wind was really strong, one of the reasons I didn’t want to cook in the tent and the tent a short way down from us had a pole snap. Our tent was OK, if a little noisy . The wind finally dropped about 4.00am

Sunday  15th September 2019

The one thing about wind is that it tends to make for a dry pack. So we got everything packed and were on the road by about 9.30am as we had a sleep in until 6.30am. Lots of people stopped us as we were packing to talk about our “unusual” way of camping. I think it’s probably the bikes and our age. Still we don’t mind encouraging others who might want to try.

We are on “home “territory here to headed along to Whorlton to find yet another road closed sign. The bridge cannot really take heavy traffic and they have put concrete barriers across but with room to get bikes and pedestrians through.  We did have to unhitch the trailers though.

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Once at Eppleby we called in to the café for a hot chocolate and a fruit scone, as it was quite chilly. We carried on through Piecebridge and on to the outskirts of Darlington. We decided to see how Komoot would take us through the town and I have to say this was a way we have never been. It made use of the extensive cycleways along the river Skerne before we came out near Great Burdon. So we were on our usual route alongside the A66 and through Sadberg and on to Elton, Stockton and home by 1.15pm.

I was elated that I had managed such a trip even though my legs are still stiff. Its the age you know.

So  DH and I have a discrepancy in mileage . My moniter says 187 miles – his 192 miles.

so my week is 196mls and YTD 3367miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | September 8, 2019

Cycling and knitting

The few days following my last post I didn’t cycle as my legs were too sore, so I took time out to continue to care for myself. I did make a trip to the Great Northern Quilt show in Harrogate but drove there , so it doesn’t count. There were many beautiful quilts on show and a good range of traders with fabrics and gadgets. I admit I am a sucker for such things but was pretty good in not getting a lot.

I wont show photos , as I don’t have permission from the quilt owners to show them.

I started riding again on Monday, and did a few early morning rides. It is so obvious just how fast the days are shortening and we have to use lights now.

I heard about a textile exhibition on in Richmond , North Yorkshire that intrigued me and so DH and I decided we would ride there. The weather forecast was reasonable so we set out but only got to Stockton before we had to stop and put on waterproofs. There was an event being set up and it was for the Stockton City games.

We carried on in increasingly heavy rain and got a good soaking – my gloves and socks were dripping wet – but we carried on. It did stop raining and the sun came out as we neared Neasham and then we rode until the wet jackets dried out.  At Hurworth , we stripped off and it isnt too far between the villages , so it was a good drying day. It did take longer for the gloves and socks though  to dry.

The river was high and running fast but looked so beautiful.

From Hurworth, we crossed the river at Croft and then along through Newton Morell and on to Barton, passing the Truck Stop with its numerous large vehicles passing us safely, and on up to Melsonby. I have never ridden that way into the village before, even when driving.

After Melsonby, the route takes you across the very busy A66 and there is a proper crossing but it isnt well sign posted but we know where the little gravel road is that leads to it. We waited for a short break in the hurtling traffic to get to the central reservation before crossing to the other side. A couple with a large dog, congratulated us on the safe passage and said that it is a difficult one. We had a nice chat with them as they are staying in a caravan club small site nearby. They had been up in Northumberland and it had  rained some part of every day and they had come south hoping for better weather.

Then we swooped down into Gilling West and then climbed up to Richmond  before a descent , across the river and on to the Station.

This would have been a train station years ago but has been turned into a nice café, events centre and art gallery.

http://www.thestation.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/tattoos-in-thread/

I had come to see these framed art embroideries based on tattoos. Now , I have to say I personally do not like tattoos , but I was interested in how they had been stitched. If you click on the link you will be able to see, but there was a sign saying not to photograph which I understand. I thought they were quite beautiful and at prices between £80 and £300 pounds did not reflect the hours of hand stitching that went into them. However, sewing and stitching are not a recognised art form in this country. If they were painted, they would probably command greater prices. Have a look and well done Julie Wilkerson.

It was a day for exploring and the rain was kept off, largely by the strong winds. If it wasn’t for my beautiful e-bike Bluebell, I wouldn’t have managed.  We were going to climb the hill back up , but saw a cycle track sign to Easby. I recall seeing a sign to Easby Abbey on a previous occasion and it was flat so we took that option. It didn’t disappoint. We went along through woodland on a wide avenue and then came out to climb up to Easby.

It is also noticeable how autumn is waiting to come in and the rowan berries are starting to be past their best.

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Earlier in the week, DS1 had been out with the  local Cycling UK  group and he told me  about St Mary’s church in Bolton on Swale. I had programmed this into Komoot but we got taken up a lane that led to a nature reserve. We could see the church so doubled back and found a bridle way to get there. The bikes handle well even on rough off road stuff, better than our wrists do I can tell you.

At the church, which is open, you can boil a kettle and make yourself a drink or get a can from a small fridge. They ask for small donation to help with funds and the toilets are also open so its a useful little bit of knowledge to have , if in the area. We alos made a call into the village hall in East Cowton but it was about 3.30pm and so all the chocolate cake had been sold. Still Lovely Linda had some scrummy ginger cake for us.

We didn’t get home until nearly 6.00pm having covered over 65miles.

Saturday, saw us out again to ride to Redcar. Our friend Pip has a new cargo e-bike  so that he can take his wife on the back. She suffered a brain aneurysm  a few years back which has left her with limited sight so cannot ride anymore, nor drive her car.  She told me that the seat is a bit too hard but there is a new cushion on order. Pip is a very large man (6’7″) so can use this really well.

Being called a Radwagon , I thought it would be German but not so, its American and can only be ordered on-line.

The sea was rough but visibility was good.

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there are lots of wild flowers blooming .

 

So it was a lovely week cycling 107 miles in total so YTD is 3171miles.

As for the knitting, I have finished the cardigan from my Norwegian pattern book and I an really pleased with how it has turned out. The colours were influenced by the lovely lupins I saw in Norway on our summer trip.

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The lupins were all shades of blues and purples and pinks. The cardigan is grey with shades of pink and green.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 28, 2019

Weekend cycle tour

Thursday, 22nd August 2019

We bought open train returns so we could come back as we chose without having to buy singles. We left our home at 5.15am – yup very early start – so that we would be at the station well before the 5.45am train arrived. The train guard told us she was only supposed to allow 2 bikes per train and we replied that was why we had come so early.

So she got all 3 of us on , complete with all our camping kit. We don’t do this lighter bike packing heehee!

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So when we arrived at Newcastle, going outside , we saw that there was mizzle, the Yorkshire word for a very light rain, lighter than drizzle. We don’t let that put us off and set off along NCN72 (Hadrians wall route) which is a good way to head west out of the city , on cycle tracks and off road routes. We cycled up to Wylam passing George Stephenson’s cottage on the Wylam wagonway that was used to transport coal pre mechanised transport.

Here , we came off the track and headed north to use a roundabout over the top of the very busy A69 and the mizzle dried off for a while. We carried on up to Matfen and stopped for a hot chocolate and homemade scones. The café owner remembered us from last year and let me top up my bike battery while we ate. We also chatted with another cyclist who told us that the way we were going to take , was blocked by road works and recommended a slightly different route.

Continuing on NCN 10 , we bypassed Ryal on to Hallington, then  at Throckrington church across moorland with grazing sheep and carefully crossing the A68 to Birtley where we went speeding downhill to Wark. I was so glad to have decent brakes!!

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The river Tyne was well above where I have seen it in previous years but the cyclist we had talked with earlier told us that the rains of a few weeks ago have continued to be problematic.

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We now had rain again and continued on the B6320 up to the campsite at Bellingham where we had a warm welcome and got a pitch with a hook-up for battery charging. Yes we carry the extra equipment for charging, but it keeps us on the road.

Bellingham  CCC site is really good for cyclist and backpackers as they have a lovely sitting area with TV and comfy seats, a dining area and a kitchen so we spent the eveing in there. We sound like softies!

Friday 23rd August 2019

We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning woohoo!  Packing up was lovely as the tent was bone dry as there had been a wind blowing throughout the night. We headed towards Bellingham village but turned left along NCN10 towards Kielder reservoir. I am showing my age, because I remember this being built in the 1960’s but it looks so lovely these days.  We took the route on the south side of the water which has many places for visitors to enjoy. We also saw belted Galloway cows and calves in the field.

Keilder forest looked so good and this is the dam.

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There is a cycle hire place in Kielder village and we headed for a shop but it has now gone and all that remains is the post office. The lady running it said it was no longer viable to sell food , as it all gets delivered to customers these days.

We had a short stop in the village and had a chat with one of the park rangers who told us to look out for a standing stone just before the Scottish border that marks the source of the North Tyne. I remember being take to the source of the South Tyne  on a school field trip.

Now , we faced a good climb and the low cloud and brutal headwind made for slower progress until we got to Saughtree where we turned left and got the wind behind us. We were now on the B6357 and the climbing was easier although still damp . Then we had a great downhill to Wauchope and then just before Bonchester we turned right to ride along to the he A68 and on into Jedburgh. We had another warm welcome and  were remembered from earlier in the year. Again , we were successful in getting a hookup, so battery charging was no problem.

Saturday 24th August 2019

There was another lovely sunny morning but as Jedburgh is in a valley near a river, there always seems to be very heavy dew in the morning , so a wet pack it was then. Unlike our Easter trip, we headed northwards towards Kelso using a minor road through Nisbet and Roxburgh where we found a small market in full swing. We headed for the baked goods stall and got lovely cheese scones – I chose one with Stilton and caramelised  red onion- it was delicious.

Since we first rode the Coast and Castles route way back in 2004 and 2005, it has changed. We were following the road signs and found we were almost in Hume where I have a very good quilting friend but unfortunately she wasn’t home.  We deviated from the route so we could go into Coldstream. In our regular kayaking days, we would kayak down the river Tweed staying in this small town. So we had lunch in a small part overlooking the Tweed and reminiscing about the fun we had shooting rapids and occasionally having a capsize.

The Tweed has lots of fishing and here the gillie was wading up pulling the boat for the angler to fish. I believe they pay a hefty price to fish for salmon on the Tweed.

I also phoned a site to make sure we had a place for the night. I found on in a small place called Ancroft just south of Berwick. So we rode the route down to Norham where we came off and crossed the bridge. We met a chap riding from Edinburgh on a fully suspension, folding Dahon. Didn’t get a photo of him though . I did take photos of the harvests being brought in.

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We got to the Raglan Caravan Park about 2.30pm and they didn’t have a hook-up but let us charge up in there vehicle shed. They also allowed us to lock the bikes away in there overnight and we had access to the key to get them out early in the morning. In the evening , there was entertainment from a very good singing duo and they were having the event to raise money to buy a defibrillator for the village. We were lulled to sleep by their dulcet tones – we go to sleep earlier than most.

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Sunday, 25th August 2019

We had determined to have a later start and a shorter riding day so didn’t get away from the site until 9.30am. It was the Sabbath, a day of rest after all.  It was another glorious day was we rode up in the hills looking out to sea , we had a great view of Holy Island.

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Then around and down to Belford which has a Co-op if you need to restock on food.

We followed NCN1 through Warren Mill and on down to Bamburgh with its well preserved castle. Since I read Bernard Cornwell’s books about the Vikings , I always think of its older name of Bebenberg.  The sun and bank holiday weekend , had brought out hoards of tourists and the car parks were overflowing . The road between there and Seahouses was very crowded and quite unpleasant to ride. We should have had more sense.

Once past Seahouses, its harbour is closed to repair, the road to Beadnall was much quieter. I didn’t stop to take photos because of traffic but we carried on climbing towards Swinhoe and then taking a B road to Embelton. We stopped here as it was so hot and we needed to drink before getting to the CCC site at Dunstan Hill. Another lovely welcome by Kath and David Bishop who it turns out live in the next small town to us. Although no hook up they did recharge the batteries in the office for us.

Monday 26th August 2019

This was our last day and I didn’t take any photos as we have ridden it before. We headed along the coast on NCN1 until we Sleekburn and Bedlington Station. Then we were on unknown territory and relied on Komoot to guide us . There was a really good cycle track that took us to Cramlington and we stopped in a small park for lunch. Then it was onwards towards Newcastle upon Tyne travelling on cycle ways almost all the way to the railway station.

The lovely lass who had been on our outward train, was again there in the platform ad told us we might not be able to get in the train due to it being a bank holiday and plenty of people. We told her no worry we would wait,  Another  couple of cyclists turned up and she told them we had priority as we had been there first. As it was she got us all on even though  we slightly delayed the train. Well done Northern rail.

The total trip was 226 miles but the weekly mileage was 244 miles YTD 3308 miles

 

 

 

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 18, 2019

Resting up – well almost

I have been having a bit of trouble in my knee. Its an old injury , sustained while coming down Park Rash on a  Dahon folder, pulling a trailer full of camping gear. This is the bike and trailer a couple of years ago.WP_20150801_09_16_51_Pro

 

The road had been newly surfaced with tarmac and in the wet , it was so slick that the trailer was jack-knifing. I had to get off and walk down and that’s how I got the injury.

Then we had put in over 900 miles on our recent trip and the knee problem was exacerbated. When out  last weekend, I pulled a muscle in the calf of the other leg so I took anti -inflammatory tablets until yesterday. I wasn’t feeling too bad so decided to risk a ride.

DS1 planned a route to a little café he knows and uses when the Cycling UK Teesside group go out . So I was willing to try the route , knowing I have spare battery and didn’t have to push myself. Well, I am pleased to report , I managed the 39miles without a problem and in fact the  muscle pull is now so much better. Here’s hoping I don’t jinx myself.

We went across to Neasham  via Yarm, Kirklevington and Girsby to visit the Mustard Tree which is a café in the local Methodist church. I have to say they make a nice fruit scone and lovely hot chocolate.

The weather was sunny and warmish  but the strong wind took the edge off the sun. Still , who are we to complain. On the return journey, we had a following wind so I had to stop to take a long sleeved top off as  I was beginning to overheat.

When we came back , we went along through Middleton St George and across the runabout with  the A67 . This road has long been blocked off except to cyclists and we had a lovely chance encounter.

This petrol driven bicycle is 55 years old and one of the ladies remembered riding one just like it in the South of France when she was a girl. They had chosen this traffic free path for her to try and ride it. After some chat we carried on through Elton and home.

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The motor and petrol tank are on the front and apparently, it will go 100 miles on that tiny tank of fuel.

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On the other side was a spare fuel can!!

The old and new alongside each other. The e-bike is heavy but the old one I couldn’t even lift at all.

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So only 39 miles but so good to be on the bike. YTD3064 miles.

if all goes well, we will have a short trip next weekend. Lets hope for OK weather.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 11, 2019

Three thousand miles and counting

Well I have made my interim goal of 3000 miles this week, despite still having a knee problem. Slow and steady is the way  – short rides all add up.

One of the very interesting things this week , was an early morning visit to see the Knife Angel in our town centre. We might not have gun problems as in the US, but there is a growing problem with knife crime here in the UK.  Middlesbrough is the most northerly place it is on display  to help educate youth about knife crime and one of the agreements for getting it, was that there must be 28 days of education for young people.

I was there just after dawn.

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The anguish of those who have lost loved ones to knife crime is so evident in the face

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There are so many different knives and cleavers  in this art work , all handed in in a knife amnesty by 43 police forces.

If you want to read more you can do so here.

https://www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk/show-areas/the-knife-angel-official

 

The weather this week has been very unpredictable so I was fortunate to get these photos.    I was hoping to meet up and cycle with Andrew Sykes author of the books he wrote about cycling in Europe with his bike called Reggie. Unfortunately, the weather put paid to that. Here in the NE of England we have had really wet weather with strong winds and Andrew was riding up the Yorkshire coast from the Humber to the Tees but he decided to get the train from Whitby. Next time Andrew. You can read and listen to him here on WordPress but I cannot get the link to share. Look up Cycling in Europe

The Cycling Europe Podcast: EuroVelo 12 In Yorkshire

So folks that’s about all today. Miles this week 45 miles and YTD 3025 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 4, 2019

Another busy week

I was hoping to get more than 70 miles ridden this week but it didn’t happen. Partly this was due to continuing to work a lot more than usual to make up for the time away but also partly due to the continuing knee problem.

We did get out a couple of times for short rides early in the morning and I managed to get this photo of the Infinity bridge and a rainbow.P1030221

On Friday,  it was showery in the morning and I was trying to get a block done for a quilt I am making. The pattern is released on the 1st of the month so as I already had to catch up, I didn’t want to get behind with this one. I had really struggled with this one and in fact had to remake it.

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This was the one for month 8

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The sun came out in the afternoon and we decided to ride across to a local DIY store. With all the heavy rain that has been around, we have got a small roof leak and DH is fixing it. However, we only got to near Newport Bridge when we met a chap on another e-bike and he is attempting to ride around the coast. He was fed up with the route as he has been over some nasty paths and asked the best way to get to Marske. Well , we couldn’t let him try to find the way and so offered to ride with him. We have been the recipients of such kindness, so its good to pay it forward. He was possibly older than us and his wife thinks he is mad. Well, we know that one

He was riding a Halfords e-bike with a rear wheel drive and had a much smaller battery and couldn’t go as fast as us. Nevertheless , we stayed with him and took him through the urban conglomeration that is Teesside and took him up to Kirkleatham  on the outskirts of Redcar. After that, it is a straight ride along to Markse and we knew exactly the road he was aiming for. He had been hoping to ride to Staithes but we knew , it was too much of a stretch as when we left him , it was after 4.00pm.  The road to Staithes in quite a hilly road especially with a load of camping gear that he carried. Jim , I hope you make it .

Saturday , saw me in the sewing room and alternately applying ice packs to my swollen knee. It is much reduced today.

So I made a fabric carrier to store some more fabric. I enjoyed the time  free machine quilting and them making up the carrier . I am pleased to say this used up some inherited scraps of fabric.

So this weeks distance was 43 miles so still short of my goal. So  YTD 2980miles

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 28, 2019

Back to Real Life

Real Life for me usual includes a ride on my bike most days of the week but because I took so much time away from my day job, I have had a backlog of appointments to catch up on. This means cycling has had to take a back seat, however, it has also given my knee some time to improve. It’s not completely right but when cycling , it feels OK.

Friday, saw us riding up to Cozy Coffee. We were hoping to see the lovely Rosie but she had to go for an appointment. and so it has just been very local rides. I hope that as things calm down , it will be able to up my mileage.

Holiday mileage 933 mls      this week 71mls   YTD 2937  mls.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 27, 2019

Summer Adventure 2019 Part 4

It was with sad hearts that we boarded the train back to Oslo. We didn’t fancy riding down route 7 , as it wasn’t too good on the east side of lake Mojsa.  The weather was pleasantly sunny as we cycled along the route back to the ferry port. We stopped to have a sandwich and had a chat with a British couple who had arrived on a bus tour. We sat opposite the opera house which looks very modern.

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They were very admiring of our cycles and wished they had the nerve to do what we do.

We carried on along to the port and stood in the queue talking to some Spanish motorcyclists who were kind enough to share some Bolle with us. Perhaps we looked hungry? They have toured in the UK and this time had been up to Nordkapp.

We could see what appeared to be a large hotel in the distance and when I asked about it , was told it used to be a training school for sea captains but the person wasn’t  sure what it is used for now.

We could see rain clouds approaching and sure enough it was time to put our wet weather gear on as the rain started and then there was a beautiful rainbow.P1030105

We got onto the ferry not long after , in a very comfortable 4 berth cabin and went to dinner which was another lovely buffet. One thing that did surprise me was that as well as unlimited free soft drinks , there was beer and wine on tap. As we are teetotallers, it didn’t bother us but I was very surprised that no-one seemed the worse for wear.

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019

What a very bumpy crossing. The ferry banged down off waves all night long and in the morning , the sea was a mass of white horses. We were told at the port that the winds were 45mph so we decided to try and get a train. Problem no1. no rail ticket office – put your card into a machine and press what you want,

Problem 2 ,-ring this number and book your bike on the train. That would have been OK , if the phone number actually worked!! Very limited hours apparently . So talking to a young German cyclist we decided to just take a chance, buy the tickets for us and  just take the bikes  onboard. The first train was easy to get on , as it was a regional train. This took us from Frederikshavn to Aalborg. I hoped there would be ticket office here  but no luck.  We could buy tickets for us and the bikes at the café. Still no booking and this time , we needed an intercity train to Aarhus. The train came in and we had to negotiate 3 huge steps  so the panniers had to come off but people around us were very willing to help.

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In Aarhus, there was a proper manned ticket office where I talked to a chap. I said I either wanted to go to Flensburg or Esbjerg.  That’s one advantage of just being open to having adventures. He advised going to Esbjerg, as we wouldn’t have to book the bikes on and we could travel immediately. So, as we had cycled there in 2006, when  we rode North Sea Cycle Route, Esberg it was. This was another easy to get on, regional train slowly travelling through green rolling countryside, until we got there. We programmed Komoot to take us to St Darum about 11 miles from Esbjerg where there was a very nice sheltered campsite. The wind was still blowing hard.

Wedsnesday 3rd July 2019

We left the site at 8.00am , with an almost dry tent and decided to try to get to Husum , down in Germany, Thankfully, we had a tail wind blowing strongly but when we stopped near a church to have 2nd breakfast , the rain poured down but we had got our wet weather gear on. Not too long after, the sun came out  so it was stripping off time again.

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After 40 miles of asphalt and some gravel tracks, we stopped again. We were seeing many NSCR signs which we largely followed although Komoot re-routed us a couple of times and there was one dead end which terminated in a field in Germany. The only way we knew it was another country, was the notification from our phone company.

We were along the dyke roads, along the North sea but there was another detour as a gate across the track was locked shut and we had to find another way.  Near to Dagebull, there is a large amount of road renovation gong on and we had to come off the path and join the traffic on the coast road. Back on the cycle route, near the sea, the gates have been changed from wooden to metal ones that have springs to keep them shut. It makes it more difficult to open them with a fully loaded touring cycle. Lots of sheep are grazed on this coastal strip.

When we neared Husum , we went to the first campsite but didn’t stay as the guy on reception was very unfriendly even though I spoke to him in German.

Down in Husum, a chap went back to his house and got us a city map and we put the alternative campsite into Komoot and were soon there. It was after 7.00pm and the receptionist had cashed up but was very helpful. They didn’t have a hook-up that we could use but did give us an extension cable to use. We placed this and the chargers in a dry bag and hung this on the handlebars and then covered the bikes in the tarp. All remained dry even though there was heavy rain overnight.  We had cycled more than 90 miles!!

Thusrday 4th July 2019

The wind and rain blew hard throughout the night but dawn was dry. We started to dry off the tent but it was a waste of time , as the rain came again. We talked to two German guys  who had been cycling in Denmark for 10 days, and they told us we could get to Hamburg Altona for 45Euro for us and the bikes, so we rode to the railway station and got the tickets.

We had another disrupted journey and  we thought we wouldn’t get onto the train, as there were a lot of young cyclists. It turned out they were junior volunteer firefighters on the way to camp but the gear was being taken by road .

Once in Hamurg -Altona we had to find our way through the urban conglomeration which is never easy  especially as Komoot was trying to take us on an unsuitable very fast road. A Chinese lady, showed us an off-road path which was much more  acceptable but all this took time up. Then we had to get another ferry across the Elbe and as a consequence it became clear , we would not make the campsite I had picked out.

We tried  looking for another campsite but without going back to the Elbe, we couldn’t find one. We decided to see if we could find a B&B or a hotel, so we had to return to Buxtehede. A lady cyclist took us to the reasonable priced hotel, but no luck as they were full. We then went to the second hotel “Zur Muhle”  on Rutterstrasse, The receptionist very kindly gave us a room on the third floor and helped us lock our bikes away in the underground carpark. The hotel was on a canal and I was interested in this old sailing barge.P1030124

After a shower , we went out for pizza and ice cream in an unusual restaurant.

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I had only taken a card to pay and ohoh, they didn’t take cards. I had to walk to the bank and get cash. All throughout  the time we had been away, I had only used cards so this came as a surprise.

Friday 5th July 2019

We had a very comfortable night  and breakfasted at 6.30am on a fabulous feast very similar to the Norwegian breakfast, before setting off towards Bremen, It was overcast but no ral rain and we were riding across the north German plain. The flat fields were growing wheat, barley and maize (sweet corn) . I couldn’t help keep singing a few lines  from an Eva Cassidy song _You’ll remember me when the west wind moves among the fields of barley.” There had been a west or north west wind all the time.

We saw occasional towers but werent sure what they were for. After almost 30 miles we stopped for 2nd breakfast near a war memorial.  A lady on a Koga e-bikes came and spoke to us as she has never seen anyone else on a Koga. Fortunately, my German language skills have got pretty good and I can have these sorts of conversations. She told us to go to the town hall and ask for the toilet key which they were very happy to give us.

There are some very interesting pieces of “street art”  here too.

Komoot behaves well  most of the time but does have the odd glitch and did so coming into Bremen but we soon got it sorted. There is a huge tower that reminded me of a Rapunzel castle tower.P1030133

Once in Bremen, we went very near the railway station and so I went in and after a long queue I managed to get another one of the day tickets for us and the bikes to get across to the Dutch border. Then we cycled out of the city near to Delmanhurst.  The ground was really hard and it was a bit run down but the children were enjoying the time there. I left some of my clothes in a dry bag there. I did phone them and they said  they would post them to me , but they haven’t arrived. Shame as they were some of my favourite cycling things.

Saturday 6th July 2019

We had an early start to get to the station back in time for the train before 9.00am. There was such a difference in the number of cyclists on the tracks – hardly any and it was raining too. We were supposed to get  one train to Lech and changed there to get the train to Mepple. However, we had another disrupted journey and  we thought we wouldn’t get onto the train, as there were a lot of young cyclists. It turned out they were junior volunteer firefighters on the way to camp but the gear was being taken by road .

At Mepple , there was a cool breeze and a friend we met last year sent us details of an SVR site near Emmen.  So we programmed that into Komoot and set off in the direction of the border. We still weren’t sure when we had crossed from one country to another but then the cultural differences became evident. I mean the way the Dutch have very decorative window displays.

The cycle signage also changed from green in Germany to red in the Netherlands. We carried on across very open land and then came through a nature reserve area.

Then the rain started coming down heavily, and seeing an earlier SVR site decided to go there.  The lovely couple who run it, made us a hot drink to warm up as we got pitched. Rea and Henk were also willing to wash for me as with fewer clothes I needed to wash them more often.

Sunday 7th July 2019

We cycled to church in Emmen and some recognised us from last year. A young lady missionary translated for us and as it was the first Sunday of the month, this was very helpful, as lots of people speak as moved by the Spirit.

It was 18 miles for the return trip  and we again crossed the nature reserve area. There was also another memorial from WW2 and I saw a 24hr automat that sells eggs and potatoes from a giant vending shed.P1030139 P1030148

 

Monday 8th July 2019

Rea came to her bedroom balcony to wave us off as we left the site at 8.00am. We rode through to Emmen city centre and got money from the only bank in town. The Netherlands  supermarkets do not accept foreign debit or credit cards so you have to use cash.

The day was one of sunshine and mizzle but we dodged a lot of the showers. I love the tree lined roads in the Netherlands and these gave us a lot of shelter but when in open countryside , we were well aware of the strength of the wind. What the Netherlands lacks in hills , it makes up for with head winds!!

We cycled along canals and saw a lift up bridge with boats passing through and another bridge that looked like a dragon’s feet.

We got near Rouveen and found a VeKaBo site and were welcomed by Jan and Annie, I was surprised that they didn’t speak English!! So many Dutch people seem to speak English almost as well as I do, that this is unusual to me. We had seen a shepherd’s hut on the way in to the site , and managed to convey the idea we would like to sleep there. Bingo, we got it  and although compact it was very cosy.   The wind was still blowing hard so no ned to put up the tent.P1030175

Tuesday 9th July 2019

It was sunny next morning and Annie came out to make sure we went the correct way. Apparently, the road at the end of their road was forbidden for cyclists. We had to complete 3 sides of a square in order to get onto our route. We headed in a SW direction to Hasselt and stopped at a Jumbo supermarket to stock up on our usual staple foods bread, cheese and yogurt.

We kept north of Zwolle  and headed towards Lelystad but there were a couple of long diversions but fortunately although cool , it was sunny. On one of these we met a British couple who were on an organised cycling holiday. They were on hired bikes and each day they were given a map and rode from one hotel to another with the luggage being transported for them.

We saw another chap on a lie down two wheeled recumbent who was going like the wind. We had a break in a bus shelter and then headed onto Almere. The site had a good review but it wasn’t as good as the small sites we prefer.

Wednesday 10th July 2019

The day to catch the ferry home,  started out with fine, mizzly rain as we rode through forest tracks and then along the harbour. We then had to ride alongside a motorway which had a great, if noisy track at the side. After about 15 miles , we stopped in a nature reserve for 2nd breakfast . Lots of joggers passed by and we had a dry spell to sit but it didn’t last long and we continued along a water course into Amsterdam. We recognised where we were and continued to ride to Imjuiden in increasingly heavy rain. It was too early to get the ferry so we went and had a fish meal at a dockside cafe. The hot drink machine didn’t work but a British couple with a small son went and bought us hot chocolate from a nearby coffee chain. We had chatted to them and they too sadi we were inspirational. Us? They were going off to work in Vietnam for two years  and taking their children. I thought that was inspirational.

We waited to get on the ferry with the motorcyclists. I had to go and use the facilities in the terminal and when I came back , everyone was gone including DH. Bluebell stood alone, poor thing heehee! I was waved on board straight away and had another comfortable cabin.

DFDS had sent them an email, so they were expecting me to need to be admitted to the restaurant away from other people which was better than the outward journey.

Thursday 11th July 2019

The trip across the North Sea was uneventful and DS1 was waiting at the Customs House in South Shields to pick up the panniers  so we would have a lighter load to carry home. We rode along to Seaburn and stopped to buy sandwiches. When I came out of the supermarket, there was  light rain but within seconds thunder and lightening started. The upshot of this was a deluge – not quite of Biblical proportions  – but not far short. By the time we got up to the nearest shelter, we were drenched so didn’t bother getting under cover. We would have ended up getting too cold. So we rode through Sunderland which was experiencing flooding in the streets. We got onto the pavements which had about 2 inches of water but cars on the roads , in some places had water up to the doors. I have to tell you, we laughed like a couple of crazy people all the time. Well , we must be to do what we do.

So we continued on to home, helping a Dutch chap on a recumbent, find a decent way to Stockton. He was appalled at the state the National Cycle Network  and he kept in tough to say he was going to Hull to get a ferry back , as he wasn’t happy on our tracks and roads. I am not surprised as the Netherlands is cyclists paradise.

We had a great time and cycled 933 miles.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 22, 2019

Summer Adventure 2019 Part 3

Monday 24th June 2019

The day dawned bright and sunny despite the weather forecast and the three of us were on the road at 9.00am after a super breakfast. Kj had decided to accompany us up the lake until we got safely over the bridge. Local knowledge is always an advantage and he took us onto ways we hadn’t seen. Then we had to join the main road from a crossing point with a barrier.

The traffic was busy but they gave us room but the way was a bit convoluted and I was pleased when we got to the bridge to cross to Moelv with a lovely marina. However , we pressed on to church at Ringsaker which is being renovated. We had a bite to eat before Kj returned homeward and we followed route 213 which was very quiet and travelled down through Jolstad, Gaupen and Stavsjo where we bought some supplies. After a fairly strenuous ascent , we had a nice downhill run. So much for being told that it was flat – Norwegian Flat heehee!

 

At Tingnes, we crossed the bridge onto Helgoya island. It has a big hump on it and is single file but we found that the traffic lights just did not work for cyclists. So we took the chance to cross and were successful. We stopped in the sunshine after crossing to eat and then rode around the perimeter of the island before crossing back over for ice lollies.

We rode up the east side of the peninsula with its many hills and pressed on until just before the bridge across to Brummendal. There was a campsite here and it was very nice, if expensive as is all of Norway.

There was a Dutch man who arrived in his car and when he got out, took out his wheelchair and began to pitch his tent from it.  We were amazed and gave him a cheer. He was hoping to drive all the way up to Nordkapp in the arctic circle. Well done to him.

Tuesday 25th June

The weather could not have been more different – rain persisted all day. Still we just got on with it. We crossed into major road building works just outside Brummendal. There was a way through for cycles but no signage on very rocky/ gravely surfaces which reduced me to walking at one stage. The way seemed to go up every hill and dale and we were glad to get into Hamar further down the lake. Again signage wasn’t too good but we had the map fortunately and at Stange church we stopped for 2nd breakfast .

At Tangen, the route 7 took us off road  and onto gravel  roads through forests – at least we were off the roads , some like motorways.  Still the rain persisted and eventually we came to a combined bus shelter/bin storage area where we again stopped to eat – at least it was out of the rain. We weren’t too far from Minnesund but I was really hungry .

The rain came down heavier, as we came into Langset and nearly missed the turning to the campsite. I have to say Storenga Camping was not very good. There was no reception and you just had to pay by card . The electric hook up  was ancient and you could see that some of them had blown. A German couple in a motorhome were similarly horrified by this. We used the onsite kitchen to charge our batteries but as it was not well equipped we cooked in the tent.  It was even more expensive than the previous site so I cannot recommend it.

Wednesday 26th June 2019

The sun was shining when I got up to go to the loo and when I came back about 5.30am DH was packing everything away. Kj had warned us not to use the marked cycle route but to use the road. The Komoot app was really good at getting us across the ‘old’ bridge into  the industrial area of Minnesund and then on to road 33. This was a well surfaced road for most of the way and then route was much flatter and not as strenuous. After Feining  there were large cracks in the road  but we could avoid most of them  but it was good we didn’t have slim road tyres.

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We found a lovely picnic site – I wasn’t sure if it was a private place but no-one turned us away.  We sat overlooking the lake as we ate 2nd breakfast and then off again we came across a single lane. There had been a landslip closing the other lane. There were no traffic lights but drivers were very courteous with us and each other taking turns to pass the obstruction. Not long after , we came to a tunnel  which drivers paid 34K  – just over £3 to use. They couldn’t use the old road but we could.

Not long after we met Kj and cycled into Skreia were we picnicked on G’s home made bolle. Then it was on to Bilitt for ice cream as it was so hot.

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I have to say that even though he is 77yo , KJ is a cycling machine and its a good job I had plenty of battery power to keep up on roads or tracks, The car and lorry drivers were always considerate

Thursday 27th June 2019

We had a lovely surprise awaiting today. Kj had booked for us to have breakfast and a boat trip on the steam paddle boat Skibladner. It was fantastic. I don’t think I will ever forget it.  The ship’s steward greeted us and  escorted us to the stern where the semi-circular table was beautifully set with porcelain china and lovely glasses. A typical Norwegian  breakfast was served by a lovely young waitress and we felt like royalty.

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The history of the ship is very interesting as it was built in about 1865 – I cannot remember the exact date – and then at the beginning of WW2, the Norwegians scuttled it so the Germans couldnt take it.  Then after the war, they brought it up and it has been beautifully restored. Kj’s grandfather used to use the ship to come up to the family farm every year.

We passed beneath the same bridge we had ridden over a couple of days before  as we rode to Helgoya on the way to and from Hamar. It was a great day.

 

Friday 28th June 2019

Thus was not a cycling day and we spent time with family. I have to say that their grand-daughter who is 9, has a great command of English. I talked to her dad and he told me that since our visit in November, she has never been off the computer learning English. It seems she now had a reason to speak English. Its great to know we had inspired her.

Saturday 29th June 2019

We were asked to help a young Syrian refugee, who wanted to buy a cheap e-bike. Kj  felt out of his depth and needed our back-up as he knew  it would be a mistake  to buy cheaply. Fortunately, we were able to help and persuaded him to wait and buy in the sales when he will get a better deal.

We  also had an evening session comparing roll mats and we showed Kj our Exped inflation bag which is a great help. I do hope he can get some help so he can camp again.

Sunday 30th June 2019

Our last day with our friends, was spent going up to Lelystad and seeing the Olympic ski-jumping place. I was amazed that they still ski jump in the summer. Wow!!

 

 

 

 

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