One of our cycle crazed volunteers has decided to up sticks and start cycling the North Sea Cycle Route over the next couple of months, that’s 4000 miles! Carole is raising money for both Sustrans & the Royal National Institute of the Blind & has been very diligent in keeping her Facebook feed updated with all the adventures & mishaps that inevitably occur when you cycle across a continent. So we’re going to be summarising what’s been going on with Carole so that a larger audience can see how exciting and fun travelling by bike can be.
31st May – So, accompanied by her family and friends Carole set off into the incredibly strong 20mph (40mph gusts) headwind. Understandably cutting the first day short the second was to prove incredibly eventful.
1st June – In Carole’s own words
“What a journey today. Strong winds in my face all day. Met a man with a mechanical problem. His wife was coming to pick him up. Cycled past his house and they called me in for a cuppa. Wife made me a packed lunch!
Got knocked off my bike by a car that failed to stop.
Attempted to cycle over Humber. Too windy, tried walking it- couldn’t stand up. Went back and met a cyclist who told me to tuck in behind him. Got across. He said I could camp in his garden or better still stay with him and his wife and he’d cook me my tea!”
Don’t worry, Carole was fine after the incident with the car. Though I don’t think she’s forgiven the driver!
2nd June – The next day Carole struggled with the headwind again and decided to cut the day short at Market Rasen. (I really don’t think Carole could have picked a worse week this year to begin her trip). Carole was lulled to sleep that night by the noise of a cuckoo outside her tent. By lulled I mean infuriated.
3rd June – A better day followed with flat and sheltered cycle paths for much of the day’s riding and some farm animals alongside…
4th June – Waking up in Boston, technology starts to fail. The usually reliable Garmin GPS stops working and therefore stops recording distance and stops giving directions. But Carole keeps a supply of paper maps for just such an occasion and begins the hunt for a ‘computer geek’ to fix the Garmin. By the end of the day the tan is coming along nicely, but the predicted thunderstorms for tomorrow don’t fill with Carole with excitement.
5th June – An early start but the weather is as predicted, Carole hops from shelter to shelter in-between the showers. Staying at a friends house on the evening is enough to motivate her through the miles needed. The lack of a GPS is beginning to take it’s toll. With poor local signage there’s a few involuntary extra miles in the legs today.
6th June – Carole to the rescue. Staying at Whitwell Station, a railway restoration yard. On the way there Carole is given the opportunity to flex her mechanical skills when a fellow cyclist is stranded with a broken chain at the side of the road. Stunned, the 3 men scratching their heads are left to admire as Carole sorts out the chain for the gentlemen and leaves commenting “not all nanas knit!”.
Her victory is short lived though…
“Haha! Also today I was cycling through sandringham just as a road race was finishing (the road was still open!) as I went down the final 100 m of the race all the crowd were standing up ringing their cow bells at me! So funny! Then I realised I’d gone the wrong way and had to do the reverse cycle of shame- everyone laughed with me as I put my hand to cup my face!! Funny as!!”
7th June – Return of the Garmin. After a short morning ride Carole finally finds somewhere in Norwich that will sell her a replacement Garmin. And as an extra is invited into a free food street party being run in Norwich that day. The fun and games (including spreading the word of our Cycle Sisters ladies only cycling group and Silver Cyclists cycling for over 50s) mean that Carole sets off behind schedule and is forced into a kind persons back garden instead of a designated camp site.
8th June – A hillier day but without getting lost, now the Garmin is back on-board. An ice cream van in the middle of nowhere and an eventful night in the pub top off the day.
“Just sat having my chilli con carni in the 16c listed pub- very nice too! When all of a sudden an old guy shouts out,”are you trying to water down my beer?”. As a steady stream of water accurately hits his glass. The header tank had gone plunging the pub into a swimming pool!
The landlord called the village plumber out who had just returned from having his dog put down and pulled up outside the pub to witness the barmaids cat having bend run over- she went home distraught!
Quiet night at the pub eh!”
Carole was not involved in any harming of animals.
So that’s up to date as of 9th June. We’ll be trying to update more regularly from now on as Carole’s trip heads South before crossing over to Europe.
Bon Voyage Carole!
For more information on Cycle Touring visit http://www.ctc.org.uk/, for further details on cycle paths in your area visit http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map and for finding good cycle friendly accommodation in the UK see http://www.bedsforcyclists.co.uk/.