Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 22, 2019

An Easter “summer” cycle tour

What a fabulous short cycle tour we have enjoyed. The weather was exceptional for Easter time.

17th April 2019 Carlisle to Moffat

On Wednesday, we took the train across to Carlisle. We booked 3 months ago and got a good deal on ticket prices – less than half the price of the ones we bought last year. The down side, was a very early start at 5.45am. The difficulty with using the Northern trains is that you cannot book your bikes and it’s first come , first  served.  There were 3 of us and so we left home at 5.15am  to cycle the 10 minutes to the station.

I sat at one end of the train with my bike and the trailers  while DH and DS1 were at the opposite end looking after bikes and  panniers. We arrived in Carlisle at 8.35am and it was cool but dry as we headed out of town, using the Komoot app for direction.

It took us around behind the station and then out over the rivers Eden and Esk in low lying country and up to Gretna where we stopped and had breakfast sitting at Gretna Gateway. Gretna Green is the first place that you come to after crossing the Scottish border and people often eloped there to be married by the blacksmith. There is still a  popular wedding venue.

Continuing north, we came to the village of Ecclefechan and as we have ridden this way before, I knew  where we would turn  and was pleased to see that the cottage with its lovely garden is still being well maintained. I wished that the lady whose it is,  was about but unfortunately not.

Then it was off up to Lockerbie, another small Scottish town where we stopped at the Co-op to buy some food and then rode out of town passing the Memorial Gardens.  More than 30years ago , a plane was blown up by terrorists over the town  killing 270 people both on the aircraft and on the ground.

By now , the sky was brightening as we continued our northward journey. Komoot was working well and keeping us on safe roads and cycle paths as we passed through Johnstone bridge and along to Moffat out first campsite. This is almost in the centre of the town and is an easy walk to a supermarket

We hadn’t booked by were lucky to get a pitch with a hook-up so we could charge the bike batteries. I use more power than the other two but I have a spare battery , so no range anxiety. This was a good day to start the tour as it wasn’t too demanding.

Thursday 18th April aka Maundy Thursday. Moffat to Jedburgh

It was a very cold start but the climb out to the Grey Mare’s tail waterfall  at 10 miles had us warmed up. The climb was up to 1100 ft following Moffat water. We pulled in and walked up to the viewing point and I was really pleased to see that there was plenty of water coming down.

 

We also had 2nd  breakfast in the shelter of the carpark wall but didn’t stay too long as we didn’t want to become chilled and then had a nice decent to St Mary’s loch where there is a café and we stopped for a welcome hot chocolate. We talked with a motorcyclist intrigued by the way we are touring as he also has a e- mountain bike.

Continuing eastward, we were blessed with warmish sunshine, In the shelter of the wind it was hot but the wind took the edge off it. I have to say that the countryside was very impressive. There was yellow gorse blooming everywhere we looked and the slightly coconutty smell was divine.  There were lambs gambolling about in the fields and some very new ones and I saw hares hopping away from the road. I was amazed by the numbers of them.

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The Yarrow Water runs down into St Mary’s loch and the Cappercleugh reservoir and we continued along the A708 until just after Yarrowford where we turned off and continued along a minor road. I saw what I assume is the remains of a bastle house which was a type of fortified farmhouse from the time of the border reveres. There used to be a lot of robbing and pillaging that went on along the English/Scottish borders.

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Komoot then took us down a really awful path where I got off to walk due to loose gravel and rocks. I didn’t want a fall at this stage.  The route took us back onto the road and we sped along until we saw Selkirk on the horizon – high on the horizon and knew we would have another climb. So up we went and I have never been so thankful that someone was inspired to make an e-bike.

We had lunch in the town and then it was back heading eastward on minor roads and then a track. Suddenly before us was a river with a ford!!  We hadn’t expected it but there was a bridge that needed negotiating and it was a bit tricky but we managed.

 

From there we carried on down through Ancrum and then on the main road into Jedburgh. I have to say that most of the cars and wagons where very courteous and gave us lots of road space. I think riding with a trailer and flag does help.

The Jedburgh campsite is fairly small and not the smartest. The site manager said it was still 1970 style but it suited us and again we were given a lovely pitch with a hook-up to charge the batteries. I had used up a full battery and was on the spare .

Friday, 19th April 2019  aka Good Friday Jedburgh to Dunstan Hill

It wasn’t a cold night but when we woke in the morning, the mist fell and got thicker as the time went on.  There were lots of birds – crows I think – in the trees and as they awoke and took flight they  bombed the tent and I had to clean it up.

We packed up a  wet tent and then rode along into town and then climbed up steeply into sunshine and when we reached the top had to stop to strip off  as we were so warm – indeed sweating.

We rode past Cessford and its castle up on the hill.

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Then it was up and down to Morebattle which I noticed had streets named Thimble Street and another called Teapot Street which tickled me . From here we pressed on to Town Yetholm where we sat in the sun to eat.

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There is a small shop/post office and I bought bananas, my favourite fruit. The village is the crossing point of the Pennine Way and the St Cuthbert’s Way long distance  walking trails. Apparently, this was the site of many battles in former times. We met a couple of cyclists, a lady and her daughter who were out on a spin from the town. It was lovely to see a young girl out riding .

Then more rolling countryside flew along as our wheels turned and we rode into Wooler. I was there a few years ago and didn’t want to climb Chatton hill so followed NCN68 south and came across surprise ford No. 2. This was across the Coldgate water.

 

It was a bit of a push and then on the other side DS1 realised that a bolt that held on his rear carrier had snapped. A couple of road angels came to the rescue and helped remove the remains of the bolt. We had a spare that wasn’t quite the right size but with a bit of persuasion it when on  and with the security of cable ties, we carried on. By now the sun was blazing down and I had to stand in the shade to stop overheating. There were lots of large farm vehicles and while talking to our road angels, I discovered that all of the small farms have been bought out and arenow part of a large conglomerate.

We carried on and then realised that Komoot was trying to take us onto the A1. I wasn’t going that way so we had to continue riding onward towards Alnwick but the app rerouted us and we got to the Dunstan Hill campsite having cycled  56.5 miles. Even DH was nearly out of battery power  ( his only battery) as there had been an increasing headwind. The site was full but we were given a back packing place. One of the very kind site assistants let us put our batteries  on charge in the awing of his caravan.

There was also a Fish and Chip van on site and even though I am not a fish and chip eater , I wasnt prepared to cook having cycled nearly 60 miles. So a take out it was.

Saturday 20th April 2019 Dunstan Hill to Angel of the North Fishing Lakes

We know there is no Camping and caravanning club site down in Tyneside and so rely on visiting relatives when in that area. Fortunately , one of my brothers has the Angel of the North Fishing lakes and so I phoned and asked if that was a possibility. My other brother was full with visiting family so we plugged in a route to take us down there. On examining it , we realised that it would take us through central Newcastle upon Tyne on major roads so that was a no go. However, we decided to head down NCN 1 along the coast down to South Shields and get the ferry across the river Tyne. It was a glorious day, but typical of the North East coast with a slight haze and a cold wind blowing off the sea. However, the route is relatively flat and on paths or quiet roads ,and is one I know well having ridden it many times but I never tire of it.

We got away with perfectly dry tents for a change  so packing up was easy and we were away by 8.30am, heading south and we had only gone about 3 miles when I stopped to photograph the geological formation here. Lots of the coast is magnesium limestone but here there areP1020778 are some basalt columns.

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We have seen similar columns when kayaking out to the island of Staffa years ago and also at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland on a cycle trip some years back.

Carrying on we when down through Longhoughton and Boulmer before the off road path to Warkworth. Its easy to miss the path and DS1 who has driven it many times but not cycled it , did not know of its existence. Its just after the bridge at the bend on the outskirts of Alnmouth.

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Warkworth has a fine castle and a climb up to it before the off road path to Amble. It was packed with strolling families so we kept on the road and out the other side to East Amble Cemetery where we stopped to eat . Interestingly, it has a sign that its a war graves cemetery  and there seem to be more of these appearing.

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The spire is all that remains of the two churches that  used to be on the site.  Then it was off again through Low Hauxley and my favourite Druridge Bay and on to Cresswell. As we approached,  I noticed a for sale sign and my heart sank thinking the ice cream shop might have gone. Phew!! its still there and its home made ice cream too.

There was an old guy from Newbiggin on a trike and a man and his son pulled in. The Dad was pulling a Mule trailer so a discussion on trailers ensued. There are toilets just over the road from the shop so its a good stopping point.

The old Lynemouth power station still stands and when it is  passed  you turn up to Bedlington and come down through the old mining villages which have sadly lost their old livelihood. The old miners spoke a dialect of their own called Pitmatic in these parts.

We took the river path down through Blyth and onto the sea front which was heaving with people more or less all the way along through Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth. We stopped to photograph St Mary’s lighthouse.

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The path is on the shared pavement  and we got some complaints saying we should be on the road. It was too dangerous with the amount of bumper to bumper cars. At one point, I pointed out the signs and told the lady that it is part of an international cycle route and she needed to read the signs that say to share the path carefully , which is what I  was attempting to do as I rang my warning bell. Give her credit, she did apologise as she hadn’t read the signs. They were all along the path.

I had to wait a short while at the castle in Tynemouth as I made better time than the others pulling their trailers. A young lean fit cyclist came up the bank wearing Lotto-Jumbo gear and I asked if he was a pro-rider. He had been but had to stop as he had developed a heart condition and now only rides for pleasure but he was interested in what we were doing.

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The Shields ferry cost us £5.60 for the three of us and there was another cyclist on before us. He had taken the train to Berwick in the early morning and was cycling back to Birtley near where we wanted to go but was taking a longer route.

So we rode along through Jarrow and up towards Primrose before taking the Bowes Railway path which was reasonable in places apart from the restrictors which were a nightmare. We ended up having to disconnect the trailer and then having to lift the bikes over. This happened a number of times  before getting on to a horrible , ? being repaired , re-laid bit that was a complete nightmare. I should have been on a full suspension mountain bike. Once down at the road we turned for the lakes. My SIL was worried as she was thinking we would have been there an hour earlier andt he road option might have been better.

Again , I ate food I wouldn’t normally eat but the steak pies were a treat, if a bit well done. It was an early night for us all.

Sunday, 21st April 2019 Easter Day – He is Risen

We don’t normally cycle on a Sunday but decided as we needed to be home, we would carry on. We sorted out a route and it took us through Birtley and the outskirts of Washington ( the Original) to Hetton le Hole and the top end of South Hetton. Its surprising when approaching a place you know well, from a different direction, you dont always recognise it. This was the case when we realised we were in Haswell. We did try to find the memorial to Tommy Simpson who was a Tour de France rider who died in 1967 on Mount Ventoux. We couldn’t find it so will look for it another time.

Continuing on we pushed on to Hurworth Burn and had 2nd breakfast there and completed the ride home by 1pm.

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In total for the week I completed 273 miles  making the YTD as 1381 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 14, 2019

A Saxon Church and old Trains

The weather this week has been dry but cold and windy so we go out cycling most days. I had been reading about old churches and discovered that what is probably the oldest surviving Saxon church  isnt too far from us.

I planned a route using the Komoot app and found that it took us over towards our favourite café so we didn’t follow the directions but took our own route until we came to where we would have gone to Cozy Coffee , but not on Friday.

I was on a road I had never been on before but DH had ridden it on one of his solo rides and it took us onto a dual carriage way A167 which I wasn’t too happy about with fast moving  vehicles. Fortunately it was only for about  mile or so before we turned right into Newton Aycliffe where there are plenty of cycle paths.

Just beside the railway station here is a cycle path alongside the rail line – separated with a fence so it is very safe. This is 5 or 6 miles of  well surfaced path and then once in Shildon, the route took us to South Church. We were instructed by the Komoot Voice to turn up Lambton Street but unfortunately there is only a gated narrow footpath alongside a factory. There was a couple who had opened the gated but told us we would never get through so we asked advice. They told us to continue through the village and then we would have a long steep bank to descend towards Bishop Auckland.

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The descent was fast and twisting and Komoot adjusted to accommodate the change. Actually, we approached so traffic lights and I recognised where I was. In a former life I used to go to Bishop Auckland for work and so I knew we wanted to be directly ahead , which it told us to do.

 

Then there is a cycle path that we could ride up another steep hill until we got to the turn off for Escomb. Years ago I had seen this sign for Escomb Saxon church but had never been there. So you have guessed it , another fast descent down to the valley bottom where the church is.

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This is a very old settlement and the church dates back to 680AD. Obviously, it has been updated over the years but is still in regular use and the key to look around is kept on a hook outside 28 Saxon Green. I was expecting it to be an old cottage but it was a 1960’s type council house.

So its only a short walk around the green to collect the key and I went inside. There are boards detailing the things to look for.

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This is the font which is used for a form of infant baptism that pours water on a baby’s head. My own belief is that baptism should be by immersion when a person is of an age to make a decision for themselves.

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I was particularly interested to see that a blocked up door had this embroidered panel.

This is the altar

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The opposite end

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There is a stone that was robbed from a Roman place and various other interesting items.  One off them as this , where the priest kept holy water locked away.

P1020713Apparently, the church  fell into disrepair when a large church was built but in the 1960’s both needed money spending on them and the decline in attendance meant that this Saxon church was saved. I am glad it was and I love it’s simplicity.

How glad I was to be able to use the assistance of the electric motor to climb back up the hill. I had been sunny when we set off but was now very cold and overcast. Still the climb warmed us up. Once back down into Bishop Auckland , I remembered another way to Shildon as DS1 and I had once cycled that way together. Route 751 is an off road path and once in Shildon we went to the Locomotion Museum which I am pleased to tell you has free admission. If you are a train buff, you must not miss it. Train building still goes and there are apprenticeships for young people to learn the skills.

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We got the kettle on and had our lunch out of the wind and the sun peeped through the clouds so it warmed up a bit.

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We both went and had a quick look but it would be better to have much longer of you love to see old trains. These are just a couple I took. The first trains were developed in this area of the country and spread throughout the world.

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This was a 59 miles ride and both of us were a bit tired on Saturday so we just had a ride along the river to Stockton in strong easterly winds blowing off the North Sea. When the sun did come out it was 2 top coats warmer.

On the sewing front I have made a simple tarp.

 

This just shows various ways to use it,

Mileage this week was 102 miles and YTD is 1108 miles

 

 

 

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 7, 2019

April Showers

You know the old saying – well there were a lot of showers in our part of the world  this week but Friday, while a bit windy, was a glorious day.

I had plans to ride across to Colburn to a new fabric place that my attention was drawn to but on phoning, found it is mainly an on line shop and she wasn’t going to be open on Friday. She was going to be in Leeds so couldn’t be there for us. Still , we werent deterred and it off across that way.

I had looked at the map and found that  in Richmond there are some waterfalls and so decided that was where we were headed for.  So off we went across to Middleton St George and then along through Neasham to Croft. The route we took then climbed up  right just after the bridge and along to Moulton. The BookStop  has new books in stock in the old bus stop which I think is a brilliant idea. Sometimes there are plants for sale too all monies in an honesty box.

From there we rode down to Scorton. Many years ago , I used to visit a medical centre there but I noticed in new housing there is now a new purpose built one. Just had a look to see if any of the doctors I knew there, were still in practice. Only one still working and she was only part-time back then. Makes me realise I am older than my head tells me I am. heehee.

From Scorton , it was along through Bromton on Swale and the gradual climb up to Richmond. DS1 said he had been to the falls before but we made a slight detour down across the bridge and had to come half way back up the steep bank. Then it was across to a footpath and along to the falls.  Even though we have kayaked on the Swale, we have never been here before.P1020683

The signage called the waterfalls a Foss which is a Yorkshire word for force. The water flows across limestone strata and is reputed to be the fastest, quickest rising river in England. I remember more than 20 years ago taking DS1 to a kayak slalom event  at Tanfield. The water rose about 12 feet overnight. Although this was the Ure , the two rivers rise in a similar area and water can come down in a huge wall of water if it rains in the hills. A number of people have been washed away and down in the sudden torrents.

 

Friday was lovely to sit and have lunch there.

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From Richmond we went back up to the market place and then headed back towards Brompton. There is a set of traffic lights that are at the top of a bank and so its a bit of a problem in heavy traffic. We crossed and got onto the pavement to avoid an awkward right turn and not to hold up traffic.

There were some heavy lorries  and when we could we pulled over to let them pass – no point in aggravating drivers and holding up a string of cars.  Guess where we headed next? Chocolate caked called out to us from the pop -up café in East Cowton. Yum yum.

Then it was off home  in time to have an evening meal courtesy of the slow cooker – spag bol. Nearly 70 miles.   Oh forgot to say, I had a tumble in Richmond  but fortunately nothing broken but I have a bruised elbow and a sore neck – a bit of whip-lash where my head hit the ground. A good excuse to buy a new helmet.

We didn’t go far on Saturday but did have a ride along the river . We found that there is building work going on  this is for drainage work for the river. I think it must be flood prevention work.

 

Then it was through Stockton and Preston Park so my total mileage for the week was 105 miles. YTD 1026 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 31, 2019

British Summer Time

 

Well, last night/early hours of today, the clocks went forward an hour so we can look forward to longer evenings. We have had some lovely weather, if a tad windy at times, this week and I managed to get in some cycling each day. It is apparent how early the spring flowers are this year. Already we are seeing cowslips.

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Friday was glorious. No other word to describe it. The sun shone all day, not too much breeze and temperatures in the mid teens. I told DH that it was time for a ride to Durham. He was convinced we had been there a couple of weeks ago but we hadn’t. He had been on his own some months ago but was convinced I was with him. Old age catching up.

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So we packed up some food and the stove, kettle and cups and off we went across Newport bridge and up onto NCN1, through Stockton and along to the Castle Eden Walkway. There are lots of birds on Hurworth Burn reservoir and in the fields around.

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As it was a Friday, there were very few people about and no dogs or children running wild, so we enjoyed the trip as far as Shotton Colliery. The track from here isnt in a good state- rubbish strewn and a poor surface so we choose to ride the road towars Haswell. Part way along is a sign for Haswell Plough which we followed. DH wanted to stick with the main road and so we followed the A1283 along to Sherburn Hill and then down to Sherburn and across a bridge over the A1. This isnt the way we usually ride but it was reasonably quiet.

Once in Durham we made our way to the cathedral and I went into  the World Heritage museum and centre. They had a really good film about the site and St Cuthbert which was very informative and supported what my Gt Grandfather used to tell me about the monks digging up Cuthbert’s body and  carrying him around for years until they came to Dun Holm which is a very strong defensive position on a loop of the River Wear. There has been a church on this site since the 7th Century and the Norman Cathedral was built on the same site over 1000 years ago.  The pointed arches allowed the ceilings to be very high symbolising prayers going up to Heaven.

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There is lots of restoration work going on so we didn’t go there but the cloisters are where some of the Harry Potter scenes were filmed.

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It was lovely for DH to sit in the sun and wait for me. He isnt much of a visitor to museums but will go in , if free. He’s a true Yorkshireman , if you get my drift.

We used the Komoot app to get ourselves out of the city centre  and then found a quite corner with a bench where  sat and had  some cereal and yogurt ( his favourite). Then it was off again following the app but once we saw cycle path signs we followed those coming down through county Durham on quiet or off road paths. The village green at Coxhoe looked lovely with all its daffodils.

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When we got to Trimdon village we  sat near the church for hot chocolate and cake.

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The ground of this old church are beautifully maintained and it was a joy to sit in the sunshine with bare arms and not wrapped up against the cold.

The way to get back on to the Castle Eden cycleway is a couple of miles east of the village just under an old railway bridge which I recognised from years ago. So we came back home more or less on the same route just under 60 miles for the day.

The forecast wasn’t so good for Saturday with rain forecast for later in the day and cooler temperatures so we set out earlier around 8.30am. We headed across to Thornaby and then up to Hilton  (road works) and along to Hutton Rudby before descending to Swainby. The Cleveland hills looked hazy in the distance but it was still early and cool.

However when we stopped briefly in Swainby and I look off a layer as I knew there was some steep climbing ahead. We had decided to ride up to Osmotherly via Sheepwash and Cod Beck. There is a 20% hill with a nasty bend in it. I had a nasty accident here about 40 years ago and don’t think I have ever descended the hill again. I was on a trike with hub brakes and they failed and I had a child on the back. He was Ok but it set off an illness that kept me off the bike for a number of years. So I was off to climb it.

Does this sound daft? We have the e-bikes and they are allowing me to get to places I haven’t managed in a while and yet I feel guilty when I needed to use the turbo mode for the last bit of the climb? Crazy or what?

At Cod Beck there is a NCN65 sign unless you have a full suspension mountain bike and are going to York don’t go this way.  When you go over and down to Nether Silton, its like loose scree. We once went that way and vowed never again.  The reservoir looked beautiful as we looked down the valley.

I did notice that the once small campsite nearby , has grown tremendously with loads of static caravans.

Once in Osmotherely , I stopped to take a photo of the old market cross and there are a few eating establishments and a small shop but we didn’t stay long. When we realised it was only 6 miles to Northallerton , we thought we would ride that way. However, there were too many close passes on the A684 so we turned off for Brompton. That was a revelation as we have never entered the village that way previously. It is much bigger place than I thought. We decided to have a short break and I had a look at the church yard and also discovered that there used to be 8 linen mills here in the 19th century and now is a quiet backwater.

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Next time we go that way , I will warn DH  we are having a good look around there.

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I hope you can read the description board that stands near the church.

We returned home the usual way through Deighton and Appleton Wiske and Yarm was almost at  a stand still with cars so we climbed up along the back street and then down through Preston. We stopped and picnicked in the park before heading home in rapidly clouding skies but didn’t get rained on.

So this week I managed 150 miles woohoo and the YTD is 921 miles

 

 

 

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 24, 2019

March winds

and April showers bring forth May flowers. Well, we have had lots of wind again this week and it looks like there is more to come next week. Still we were able to cycle a few miles this week. The shortest ride was 7 miles but then we got in more.

It is amazing to see how all the spring flowers are blooming all over. I noticed a beautiful magnolia in a nearby garden that we pass on our morning rides most days.

 

I do not work on Fridays now and so as it wasn’t raining we planned to have a long ride. Alas the winds were too fierce and into a headwind , it wasn’t a joy. So at Hutton Rudby, we decided to turn and let the wind give us assistance. There is a small road that runs along to Seamer. We had discussed that the council had removed a memorial bench just that morning so imagine our surprised when low and behold there is a  new one there. There is no plaque on it and only one of the planter boxes is there but its a nice place to sit and rest or picnic.

We didn’t see anyone around, so couldn’t find out why there is a new one there.

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We enjoyed  the decent down towards Stokesley and used the facilities in the market place. We had an interesting conversation with a men about our age and he had also been a keen kayaker in his younger days.  We did chill off a bit  so needed to get back on the road. We went along the back track passing the old pack horse bridge and then along to Great Ayton before heading home through old Nunthorpe village.

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So that was only a little under 30 miles.

Saturday saw a better day but unfortunately , we had a funeral to attend early in the day.  So we didn’t get away from home until after 11.00am.  The wind forecast wasn’t as bad as Friday, but the Met Office was mistaken. We decided just to ride across to Cozy Coffee near Brafferton and most of it was into a headwind once again.  What a slog!! but we got there and all I could think about was fish finger sandwiches. We never eat them but I knew that Rosie has them on the menu. That’s just what I had and then had cake too – greedy me.

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We came back down to Darlington and fairly flew home with the wind behind us.

So the week’s total was 114 miles and I was happy about that. YTD 771miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 17, 2019

Koga World Traveller e-Bike Review

A couple of months ago a blog reader asked me to write a review of my e-bike as she is thinking of getting one. This is my experience of the above bike that I bought in July of last year.

I had always said I would wait until I was 70 years old but in the Netherlands last year, headwinds held me back a bit. We met a Dutch couple, the man riding an ordinary bike and his wife an e-bike as they cycle camped so DH encouraged me to think about getting one sooner.

I rang Dave at Cyclesense in Tadcaster and fortunately he had just taken delivery of one in my size. He thought about phoning me to tell me, but thought it would be cheeky. The upshot was , I went down, tried it out and was hooked.

A couple of weeks later, we rode the Hadrian’s wall route and the upshot of that hilly ride over 4 days, was DH also decided to take the plunge and get one too. If you want a review of all the tech data look on other sites because I will tell you what I have found.

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These are designed as touring e-bikes and as such come equipped  to carrying panniers with high quality Tubus racks front and rear. The wheels are 36 spoked 700 x 38C wheels with Schwalbe Marathon tyres. The frame is made from high quality alloy and is designed to take the Bosch Performance CX line motor which is powered by a 500 watt battery. The display unit is very clear and has a number of functions as well as showing speed and distance travelled. I hardly ever look at them but having the time is useful. One thing I didn’t notice at first  is a little black arrow head that points up or down occasionally. This comes on if the motor thinks you are trying too hard and need to reduce the gear. . If you are pedalling too fast it will show to increase the gear.

There are 4 energy  modes the lowest being eco, then tour, sport and turbo. I usually ride in eco to keep up with DH who usually rides with no assistance at all – unless he comes to a steep hill into a headwind. That is when I go into tour mode. A couple of weeks ago when we rode to Richmond, I needed all my battery power for the 70 miles ride but he only used one of the 5 cells. I get between 12-15 miles per cell and that means with eco on all of the time, I get around the 70 miles per full charge. DH rode 147 miles last year and didn’t use all the cells. So what I am saying is, the distance you can get depends upon how much assistance you need. Obviously, if the area is very hilly and lots of headwinds, you wont get as far.

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I did use to get “range anxiety” (that’s apparently common in electric car drivers)  but have purchased a spare battery  so that is a thing of the past.

One thing I do like is the bosses to attach bottle cages on the front forks but I don’t like the one on the  down tube as a bottle in there gets in the way of me getting onto the bike.  Since this photo was taken I have put them on the forks  and also have extra on the handle bar stem. I need to drink much more than DH when we are cycling.

I have got used to the straight handle bars but would have preferred butterfly bars however, the handgrips with bar ends are very comfortable and supportive.

The bike comes complete with front and rear lighting but these work from the battery too , so draw some power. They are very powerful Busch and Muller lights and are very bright.

One of the things I like about Koga is the front and rear stands which makes it easy to load and unload with panniers and is very stable.

The bike comes complete with a Koga branded pump and Trelock café lock that we have just bought extension pieces  in order to  secure them to something. There are also full mudguards front  and rear so you don’t get covered in muck when riding in the wet.

I did not like the saddle it came with and switched it for my ISM touring saddle. As you can see , it looks a bit different but takes all the pressure off the perineum and is most comfortable. DH also has one but it took him a while to get it in the right position for him.

They are much heavier than an ordinary bicycle  but in practice doesn’t make much difference unless you have to lift them over a fence or a barrier that is on some of the cycle tracks here in the UK.

I have now ridden about 2500 miles on mine and we have plans for a few cycle tours this year. One thing we didn’t realise is that the airlines we have tried , will not allow you to fly with the e-bike even if there is no battery. So , we will be off on a ferry to start a trip in June.  When camping , we have a proper hook-up that plugs into the same sort of power points  that caravaners use so we will be using that in the coming few weeks.

These bicycles were not cheap – we could have bought a small car for the price of two, however our Dutch pal told us we couldn’t have got them for that price in the Netherland so we got a good deal. I am not paid by Cyclesense , but can recommend their  service as they do not pressure you into buying.

I hope this helps someone trying to make up their minds. We know we made the right decision for us.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 17, 2019

Wild weather

This past week has seen us have storm after storm sweep across the country resulting in me only cycling 16 miles in the entire week. Friday wasn’t quite so bad but I needed to drive north to buy sil-nylon ripstop at a place I had been given the name of In South Shields. This is to hopefully make up packs for others to sew their own tarps to sleep under. We still haven’t worked out all the details but I have had people asking me to do this at the Cycle Touring festival that will be held at the end of May. So one of the days I did get out was Friday afternoon , but the wind could have cut you in two.

Yesterday, the rain poured down all day and as it was International quilting day, that is what I spent the day doing. The actual quilt isnt finished yet but I can show the block I have finished for a year long project I am following on the Quilt Show, an on-line quilt “magazine” / video show.

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So this weeks mileage 16 miles and YTD 657 miles

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 10, 2019

International women’s day

https://blog.komoot.com/sixty-years-of-bikepacking/12479

I hope this will open for you and this was the guest post I was asked to write for the cycling app Komoot that I have been using. I feel honoured and then today Ishbel Holmes told me she had mentioned me on BBC radio Scotland on the morning programme on Friday. Its near the end but she was asked about which women inspired her and I was one of them !!!! Gobsmacked.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 10, 2019

Winter – round 2

Well, we knew that the fool’s spring wouldn’t last and the week came in with forecasts of wind and rain. So Monday , saw us out early for a quick 10 miles or so in the dawn light. Then rain and high winds kept me confined to barracks the other mornings but Friday looked like it would be OK and as I wasn’t working we made plans to head across to Eppelby once again.

There was  sharp frost early on and so we didn’t leave home until about 9.30 am when the sun was shining and gave us hope that it might stay fine. As there had been so much rain, there was standing water everywhere, we avoided cycle tracks that would be like mud baths. We rode over to Darlington, via Sadberge into a strong headwind but due to our e-bikes , it wasn’t a problem for me . DH didn’t switch his assist on.  Once in Sadberge I called into the Village Hall and used the facilities before once again riding on the path. When we got to the end of the cycle track on the A66 and we went through the underpass. I think most people are unaware of this crossing but it makes it so much easier than trying to go around the roundabout and on to the track on the opposite side of the road.

About 300-400 mts along here is the link up with the off road path we would have used and we crossed on the bridge and up through Darlington to Cockerton and then out on the B6279 towards Walworth where we turned off to Piercebridge.

This is an ancient settlement and much of the Roman architecture is buried beneath the  village green. However, there have been excavation that are open to the public and there is a seat in the grounds. We pushed the bikes through the gate and had cheese toasties and hot chocolate sat in there  , largely out of the wind. I had a wander along the track to look for the old roman bridge remains. This was a major crossing point of the river Tees and was on Dere Street which ran north from York up into Scotland. 45DF908C-1F40-48D4-AE48-587352AE5F8F_image

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Me looking cold.

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Here is a picture of the road bridge that is near the old Roman footings

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When you ride out of the village , the road runs straight up the hill, as far as the eye can see.  Even DH switched on his assist mode as we rode into the strengthening wind up that hill and then turned off for Eppelby. I decided to head down towards Aldborough St John but to turn onto a tiny lane that we have never ridden on before. As luck would have it , a huge transporter delivering farm equipment came along behind us , so as soon as we could we pulled over to allow him to pass and he waved his thanks. I was surprised he even got along the lane as he took up all of the road.

In Forsett, we passed another ancient monument but didn’t stop ( that’s for another time) and once in Eppelby I bought scones once more and got some jam to go with them. I was a little disappointed that the daffodils hadn’t all come out but some had.

Then it was off along to Cleasby and time to don the waterproofs. We sat in the bus shelter and ate our scones and had another drink before pressing on for home. The wind got even stronger but luckily, the rain was only very light, but the waterproofs kept me warm.

Saturday morning was awful. We had rain, hail, snow and sleet but by lunchtime the sun shone brightly and so we decided a short ride to Stockton would be OK, even into the headwind.

I bought some fabric and then we road across through the Six Fields water conservation project and along to Preston Park. The object them was to go to the butcher who makes chicken and leek sausage and we picked them  up and a few other groceries before going home.

On another happy note, Andrew Sykes from the WordPress blog  CyclingEurope.org ran a photo competition and I was pleased to be placed 3rd  and received one of his books as a prize.

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The other thing is I was asked to write a guest post on Komoot and I will post a link in a separate post.

Mileage this week 82 miles YTD 641 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 3, 2019

Fool’s Spring

Well that’s what I heard it called, the recent good weather. That was last week and this week wasn’t  quiet as warm  and I didn’t have as much time to cycle. Only manage 30 miles in the week but did get out yesterday.

Where to go?  It was a bit of a dilemma as we knew it was going to be windy so we decided that we would just go out and enjoy ourselves by first heading up to Gt Ayton , similar to last week. Just as we were getting ready, a shelf ( shall I say overloaded ) in one of our wardrobes collapsed so we knew we weren’t going to be out all day as that had to be sorted and we weren’t doing it there and then.

So off out we went and when we got to Gt Ayton we turned onto the A173 towards Guisbrough. This is really the only reasonable route to ride as the dual carriageway on the A172 is a nightmare. Efforts have been made in the past 10 years to get an alternative but without any success as neither Railtrack, the local council and a farm that needs to allow access , will not co-operate.

I saw 3 cyclists ahead of us and due to being on our e-bikes we soon caught them up and overtook. I was so surprised to be greeted by one of them as I  had treated his feet on Thursday – its a small world. Passing Pinchinthorpe we got to the turning to the market town and turned right to climb and descent into town where I stopped to take a few photos.

The High Street has many small shops and places to eat. Apparently, Henry the Third gave permission to Guisborough Priory  for a weekly market to be held and a 3 day fair once a year. The market still goes on and on occasion I have bought some lovely cakes here – but not today.

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There is an old market cross and I haven’t really looked at it before but it has a sundial on it.

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From here we rode up to the roundabout to ride along through Dunsdale and up to Errington Woods which on this sunny day have a wonderful view across the bay.

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On our way again , we swooped down to New Marske and I glanced down to see my speed was in excess of 30mph. WOOW – that’s a bit fast for me. Then it was along down Longbeck lane to the A174 and into Marske to pick up the coast road into Redcar. There were still plenty of people about despite the increasing strength of the wind .

We chose to ride the cycle path along the side of the Trunk road and back home , calling in for a few groceries so that determined our route. I have to say I had a couple of close calls from some numpty car drivers going too fast around corners. Still , once home just after noon, DH set to and mended the shelf and I put out seldom used clothes to go to charity. We realise we probably have more cycling clothes than anything else!!

So this weeks total was 64 miles so YTD 559.

 

 

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