We, the cycle tourers , owe a great deal to Laura and Tim Moss and their extended family for the hard work they all contributed to make this a great success. Sharon Tomlinson, Laura’s mum, despite having her house flooded during the winter storms, never faltered in her determination to organise the catering for the 250 cyclists who attended. Food was included in the festival charge and there were copious amounts, just as hungry cyclists need.
Friday night, saw us having an ice breaker by sharing tips with one another. Laughingly one wag said – sell your bike and by a car!! heehee. I contributed by telling of my use of Teflon toastie bags to make toasted sandwiches using a frying pan on the camp stove. . Another tip was to use a very absorbent, very flat sponge to wipe down your tent and clear it of condensation and allow it to dry out quickly.
It was interesting to see the variety of tents used. Some people had come by car due to time constraints and brought roomier tents. These are also needed by families camping together.
Some had brought tiny tents, hardly bigger than a coffin!! Not what I would want to be in for any length of time but each to his/her own.
The variety of talks and workshops that were available were also , so very diverse from those who have cycled around the world and through places like Patagonia, Mongolia and Iran and Syria to those of us who have never ventured farther than Europe. Indeed I talked to some people who had never travelled by bicycle and were attending to gain inspiration and advice on how to get started. The talks encompassed everyone.
I have to tell you about my favourite. This was delivered by a boy called Thomas Ivor who is 7 and 3/4years old and it was about him cycle camping riding his own bike and with his panniers on too. He told of his journey to get this far. What a little star.
His notes went missing, later found with his little sisters in their Crooser trailer, and he stood on a chair to deliver his presentation with aplomb. He talked about riding on a trailer bike and then having to learn how to ride on his own. His Dad told how they had to get him scooting along without peddles to gain confidence before he was off. Then 3 months later, he was off on s tour riding about 35-40 miles a day. We gave him a standing ovation.
I asked about plans for this year. I was saddened to learn that his parents bicycles were stolen off that back of their car after they had returned home and were putting the children to bed. The locks were broken. It won’t be easy to replace his Dad’s either because he is 6’8″ tall and needs a very big bike. So sad that this years tour for then is now in doubt.
On Sunday, the family went off to Scarfell pike and climbed to the top . Here he is showing the festival bottle.
Dinner in the evening was provided by a company who provided Greek food for us all. I had never had such food and did enjoy it. Then we all gathered in the marquee again to listen to inspiring round the world cyclists. Stephen Fabes is a doctor who has been away cycling for 6 years and Julian Sayarer took about 6 months and has gained a world record for his efforts.
There was also an open mike session so being a “gob on legs” I put my name down.
Well my friend G told me that I would never be able to stop after 3 minutes the allowed time and Laura said she would hit me with the bell , so I took some time to list what I wanted to say. I wasn’t funny like some, nor could I talk about Mongolia or tell of a ghostly encounter but I could talk very briefly about my cycle touring journey of almost 50 years. That brought me up sharp and made me realise I do have a whole ton of experience and information and I really an a cycle tourist. Strange how I have never thought I quite matched up to others who did these multi- country/ months tours BUT I DO. If I hadn’t stood up to talk I would not have come to this realisation.
On Sunday, I spent some time in the Yoga for Cyclists session and even though I haven’t done Yoga I was surprised how flexible I am. I did have to be careful because my knee was still giving problems walking down hills and stairs. This made me to decide to not cycle home and I rang DH to arrange a pick up on Monday.
I also attended some cycle maintenance sessions with a mechanic from Ghyllside cycles , a session on wild foods with Richard Prideaux and what not to do wild camping with Stephen Fabes. and then final session with Pete McNeil on Fat biking in Lesotho. There were tons of other talks and films but there was too much choice.
There was a final meeting to round up the weekend and Laura announced that they hope to run the festival again next year but with a slightly different format and more cycling opportunities. That will suit DH more.
What was even more special to me was meeting like minded people and spending time sharing stories of kindness shown to us on the road and funny encounters.As you can see we had lovely warm weather in the west. Some people even went swimming in the local river on site. I wore my home made shirts and one lady asked me ” Do you have a stash?” Only another quilter/crafter would ask this so we laughed about the confessions. I also even saw other ladies knitting , so I am not the only one who does this on tour. heehee!
Monday arrived and so did DH at about 7.30am just as I was having breakfast so it wasn’t until 9.00am that we left after I had said my goodbyes to those I had met. I do hope we can meet up sooner rather than later.