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

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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.

 

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 24, 2019

150 miles woohoo

We have had exceptionally mild weather this week and with the increasing daylight made it out early a few times. We were out early enough to see the almost  Supermoon on Monday. Tuesday was clouded over.

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Then Friday dawned and I have given up working on Fridays now , so it was off out the door for a longer run than usual.

We looked at the map on Thursday evening, discussing possible routes and I decided to try putting a route in the Komoot app.  I did it in a number of shorter sections and it was easy to follow, especially as we were really on familiar territory.

First off it was across to Darlington via Middleton St George and we were delighted to find the off road path was dryish and mud free so we didn’t get clarted up. Komoot took us up through the town centre and across to Blackwell  and this is much easier than the way we would normally have taken around the town centre.  Komoot uses lots of the marked cycleways so was easy to check out.

The small park area was a carpet of crocuses and snowdrops with the odd daffodil poking through.

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Then we needed to cross the approach road to the A66. This is busy with cars and lorries so is a tricky place but with care we made it to the roundabout and up through Stapelton to Cleasby. There was a bit of SW wind but it wasn’t too bad as we booled along happily to Eppleby.

It was a little to early to see the daffodils that Eppleby is renowned for in the spring. The split village square has lots of  different varieties and I love to see them. We will have to get across there again in the next few weeks.

We stopped for home made scones and got talking to 2 men who were packed up for bike packing. It was there first time and they were headed up the dale to a spot not too far away to spend the night wild camping. We told them of the Cycle Touring festival  and some of the trips we have made by bicycle.

Then it was off , into a head wind and climbs towards Richmond. The place where Komoot suggested crossing the A66 isnt good and I got a passing cyclist to confirm that riding to Melsonby was a better alternative.

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There is a good crossing that gives a clear view of traffic from both directions with a refuge in the centre. This makes it so much easier.  Once across there is a steep descent into Gilling West and then more climbing before descending into Richmond. I was so glad I was on my e-bike.

Dropping down towards Brompton on Swale I stopped and took a photo across the valley. It was a bit hazy but you can see the church and a bit of the old castle I think.

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Once through Brompton , we rode another 4 miles to Scorton and stopped in the bus shelter that was out of the wind and facing the sun. I toasted our sandwiches and we had a cold drink, knowing we were headed for another pop-up café.

This is in East Cowton where I was with my friend a couple of weeks ago. I turned the wrong way and had us up to North Cowton and then realised my mistake. When I was with J , we came in from a different road. Duh. Still it wasn’t too far and we stopped outside the village hall that opens most Friday afternoons from 1-4pm. Fabulous cakes and very good prices. We had lemon cake and chocolate banana cake washed down with hot chocolate.

Then it was homeward bound across through Kirklevington and Yarm to return via Preston Park and Thornaby. The sun was going down by the time we got home at 5.00pm but we had ridden 70 miles.

As a note, I changed to my spare battery in Appleton Wiske about 15 miles from home, It wasn’t empty but had used 4 cells and I didn’t want to drain it. I had the bike in the ecco mode all day apart from a few times when I needed the tour mode into the wind up hill , but not for long.   In contrast, DH rode most of the day with out assistance  and only used 1 cell of the 5 available to him. Again , used up hill into the head wind and he managed 70 miles.

Saturday dawned just as nice , so we couldn’t waste time. Spring like weather may give way to again but we couldn’t go out all day because of church commitments later in the day.

So we decided to go where our son had been the previous day. We rode up to Great Ayton and then along through Easby, turning towards Ingleby Greenhow . As we rode along we could hear hunting horns blowing but didn’t see any horses or hounds.

In Ingleby Geenhow , I was delighted to see our first spring lambs. One of the ewes seemed to have triplets .

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From there it was along to Faceby and across the A172 on the Gold Loop Road – somewhere we have never been before. Its a nice way to get to Swainby without the amount of 70mph cars and lorries passing. We didn’t go to The Rusty Bike Café as it was crowded but had our kettle and mugs to make a drink and there are still public toilets here too.

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Rest accomplished in the bus shelter facing the sun, we headed back across the A172 and along to Hutton Rudby, down and up the bank that I so often I had push up on my two legs, and then along to Hilton and Ingleby Barwick before getting home through Thornaby. I could see I was almost on 150 miles but not quite , so rode further than I needed to actually get home but I felt a real sense of accomplishment . I know I was on the e-bike and some people think it’s “cheating” but it has put back all the joy and more. I still have to pedal and I get a sweat on but it makes DH and I more equal and I don’t hold him back.

So this week 150 miles and YTD is 495 miles  thanks to the better weather and available time

 

 

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 17, 2019

A cold and a bit of Spring

Well. as last Sunday came to a close, I realised the lurgy was taking a hold. I managed to work Monday morning but then had to call a halt and crawled into bed and stayed there for 3 days.  I asked DH and DS2 to give me a blessing of healing – we believe in such things – and they did.

AS Thursday dawned , I awoke feeling much better, if still a bit snotty, but took the day easy. Friday was a  beautiful day with relatively warm sunshine  and little wind and I decided I would try a short cycle ride with DH and DS1. I would determine the length of ride.

I chose to ride down through the park and then along the river. We stopped at the Barrage and I took this photo of the Archimedes screws that lift the water back up for the kayak course.

168f1b1ec60Unfortunately, they weren’t turning at the time.

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This shows the boat lift. You kayak up on to it and it moved you back up to the top of the course. They are fairly common in Germany, where kayak touring, similar to cycle camping are popular.

As it was so nice we continued along for a further distance before coming back over via Teesside Park. This is a view across the Portrack marshes.

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Although, this doesn’t show it, spring flowers are popping up everywhere. There are snowdrops, crocuses and even some daffodils blooming. I don’t know why I am surprised because this has happened for a couple of years. It never was like this in years gone by – each would come in their season but as we must all be aware, the climate is changing.

Early on Saturday, DH asked how I was feeling and did I want another cycle ride. The weather  was looking reasonable and as we haven’t been over to Cozy Coffee for a few weeks, DS1 suggested going there. Could we find a different way? Well we decided to ride over towards the Castle Eden Walkway but turned off and rode to Carlton. There we turned right up to Stillington, that we avoided last time we were out because of the hunt.

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As you can see, it wasn’t as nice as the previous day.

We carried on to the Sedgefield road but there was a wind blowing strongly into our faces so it’s good to have the benefit of the e-bike motor. Once at the Great Stainton turn off, it wasn’t so bad and we carried on to have cake and hot chocolate.

A discussion ensued as to the return journey – it was determined to go down towards Darlington and then along to Sadberge.  They have put in a new picnic area on what was a community garden. There is a seating area for picnics right next to the village hall, which I noted has a community café on weekday mornings.

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I love this bench .

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This is the view looking towards the west. It was a bit blowy but it had blown the clouds away.

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From then onwards we headed back home arriving at 2.30pm.

This weeks total  , which surprised me I was well enough to do , was 56 miles so YTD 345miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 10, 2019

More patchwork than cycling

Storm Erik blew through this week so cycling hasn’t been the best, although in the early part of the week I braved the 20 -25mph winds  and did get out a few times . As the week progressed winds reached over 50 mph in this area but were much worse in the west. In addition DH and DS1 are still down with a viral infection – coughs, snotty noses and a temperature too so they weren’t up t going out.

On Thursday, I went to my local quilt group and learned that on Friday, the quilts from Hannah Hauxwell would be available to view before an auction on Saturday.  I had arranged to pick up my friend J and was so glad I had. The weather was awful – high winds and heavy rain – but I drove over to collect her and we drove to Tennats Auctioneers in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.

For those who are familiar with the lady, she came to prominence in 1972, when a documentary was made about her.  She lived alone on a farm having outlived her parents. It was a hard life on the boarder lands of North Yorkshire and County Durham and she lived without electricity and got water from a beck. She said that “in summer she lived and  in winter she existed.”

She was a hoarder and even when she left the farm brought lots of stuff with her,  She had family quilts and all the women in the family were talented seamstresses. Many of the quilts had patterns and styles reminiscent of Durham Strippy quilts.

 

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Nothing was wasted so in the top left corner , you can see the pieces were pieced together to make up the strip. These were usually about 9 inches wide.

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I was interested to see that some had traditional turned in and stitched edges and some had actual quilt bindings.

It was amazing to see that some quilts had clearly never been used as the turkey red colour hadn’t faded,

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I loved this one from the late 19C. It would have been one that was kept for “best” and only brought out on special occasions or if the doctor was called .

Another that caught my eye was this one.

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Each block had different fabrics in the corners and as also obviously a best quilt.

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There were a number of what I call utility quilts – made from multiple fabrics which grew as they went along and were used, You could see that by the worn edges.

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One of the attendants was very helpful and showed us the back of a reversible quilt. I loved how even the smallest pieces were used. Nothing was wasted.

 

 

The sale also included  knitting sheaths and a family sampler. There was also a “clippy” mat but I didn’t photograph everything. Aren’t you glad heehee.

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After WW1, my great aunt made mats like these to support her family. Her husband had been gassed in the trenches and then developed arthritis that stopped him working. In those days, without social support she made and sold these.  Most families had them and old clothes would be repurposed and used on the wooden floors.

So I only rode 23.5 miles this week so YTD 289 miles. Lets hope I stay well and don’t catch the lurgy. Spoke too soon. I have got the lurgy.

I found this link to the documentary about Hannah Hauxwell

 

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 27, 2019

Winter Cycling

 

Well , this week saw winter come. We have had lots of very cold mornings and because of being a scaredy-cat, I haven’t been out in the dark on ice. I haven’t slacked though. Each morning when I looked out of the window and saw frost, I got on our walking machine and exercised that way.

During the week , we took the bikes down to Cyclesense in Tadcaster for service. While that was happening , we drove across to see Peggy and Rod at South Newlands farm where we will be camping at some time this Spring  too. We have used this quiet little site for about ten years and have become friends with the owners.

I did get a couple of late afternoon rides in though and then yesterday even though there was a yellow warning for wind, with the e-bike I can cope. We didn’t see too many racing whippets on carbon steeds. I was nearly blow off a couple of times  when side winds gusted across the road. On a lighter bike, I would have been in a hedge or a ditch.

We set off  and again rode to Cozy Coffee because of 1.  the great cake. 2.   the warm welcome and 3. another variation on the route. We rode across through Stockton and I was delighted to see and hear a piper in Scottish dress and playing the bag pipes. He was playing “Scotland the Brave” and it was the day after Burns Night. On that note I will tell you we have booked rail tickets so we can do a Southern Scotland trip at Easter. Lets hope the weather is kind and we don’t get a very snowy Spring.

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We again rode along though Long Newton and the A66 cycle path to Sadberge and then descended  on the road signed Sedgefield. This switch backs steeply up to Great Stainton where we turned off to our favourite cake place.

We were into wind all the way  and enjoyed our stay in the bus. There were 2 young racing snakes in there and we had a nice chat with them. One said the only reason he was out cycling because the temperature was forecast to be 10C. It might well have been but with the wind chill , it was much lower. He said he does most of his winter training on his indoor trainer.

It was better on the way back as we had the wind behind  for a fair bit of the way. At the Gt Stainton junction we turned left intending to go to Stillington  via Mordon . We passed these sheep and it was here we stopped to put on wet weather gear.

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Soon after,  we saw the very quiet roadway was  jam packed with cars and trailers. There was a hunt on so at the next junction we headed straight across to Bishopton. By now the rain had started in earnest  , so we road back towards Yarm and then I was surprised to find ourselves in Hartburn. Isnt it strange how coming to a familiar road from another direction can throw you?

The rain abated somewhat so we continued on into Stockton and along the river to home through the town resulting in 43.5 miles for the day.

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The weather forecast for next week is poor but I will try to get out as much as possible. I am continuing to do a bit of sketching and knitting as well as working so am not slacking.

 

So weekly mileage was 69 miles and YTD is 258 miles.

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