The weather is set to be a lovely 15 degrees. Today we are off to Scarborough to cycle the coastal path to Whitby. But first we have to catch a train to get to the starting point. Currently on the 8:30 train which will take 1 hour. Nothing like the high speed Japanese train system we are used to!
Here is the place where luggage is supposed to be located:
As you can guess… not ideally suited for folding bikes. Here is our solution, approved by the conductor!
Today was described as generally downhill. However, we literally went 200 meters then started with a 17% climb. Why? Darn good question! We stayed overnight in the town of Stanhope, which was at the bottom of the hill. Accommodation was lovely, and the breakfast set us in good stead for a full days riding. We were told at the off, that they aren’t called push bikes for nothing. Kym did just that, and pushed his bike up the beginning section of the hill. However, I did not waiver and rode. Although I did stop a few time to take photographs, as the view and weather was supurb!
Unseasonal weather, said the kind gentleman. That had to be the understatement of the holiday. We cycled from Whithaven in the west to Tynemouth in the east over 4 days. The first day only threatened wet weather. But the following three days had drenching rain. Unseasonably we’re told. Apparently it was dry in April and May (almost a drought I understand). All I can say is that reinforced our prejudices that it rains all the time in England.
1) The Greystoke Cycle Cafe (mentioned earlier) has at the ready towels for cyclists to dry themselves.
2) Lowbyer Country House. Very friendly and the welcomed us with a room with a big bath and took all of our wet clothes and dried them out for us! Lovely place to stay.
2) The lightning as we reached the top of Hartside (and the Hartside cafe at the summit)
3) The downhills… they are the best we’ve ever done. They went for ever had wonderful easy turns.
4) The scenery, the Lakes District and across the Pennines are beautiful.
5) The beer and cider.
6) Friendly people.
It was great fun, even though we were officially drenched rats. All I can say is that those altitude charts can be misleading. Helen distinctly recalls me saying that hey, we can do this it is not even as high as Mount Lofty.
Well that is true, but there were a lot of ups. There were so many ups that it justified 45 kilometres of down in the last day!!
Also, the profile doesn’t really show the fact that the English have no respect for the contours of the land. The back roads go up and down and if it is 22% gradient that is what the road will do! I recall riding past a 15% gradient sign thinking it was easy compared to some minor roads. That is how steep some of the minor roads are!
All in all, I would encourage any keen cyclists to try this trip!
On the way to Penrith we visited Harewood House. The owner is George Lascelles, the 7th Earl of Harewood. We discovered apart from being the first cousin of the Queen, he was also the director of the 1988 Adelaide Festival.
After London, we visited Hull for a couple of days to catch up with relatives. Where is Hull I hear you cry…. On the river Hull of course in England! No, not the one in Canada. More info read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston_upon_Hull
Every time a family member from Australia visits Hull we are required to visit Ventnor Street, where my mum grew up, and take a photo. Usually, it is uneventful. This time, a bloke popped out of the house opposite, quickly getting dressed, and said “what are ya doing takin’ a picture of my car for?”. Your going to have to use your own imagine on the accent. Once explained, it was okay, but he did move his car. And for the record, we did take a photo of his car. The bumper bar was held on to the rest car with cable ties.
1) Greystoke Cycle Cafe, a barn out the back of house with toasties, cakes, and coffee. What makes it great? It’s welcoming approach and plenty of towels to dry wet cyclists. Coffee is pretty good.
2) Monmouth Coffee – Monmouth Street London. Great coffee focus with extensive coffee menu. It appears that special coffees are only available as filter coffee. Very busy with local workers getting takeaway.
3) Nude Espresso – Eastend somewhere, good coffee with schmick interior a great relaxing spot. They roast their own coffee.
4) Java – Keswick does a great mocha with Belgian chocolate. Also muffins made on site are extremely yummy.
5) Brick Lane Coffee – great coffee vibe only problem is paper cups only.
We also had some chain coffee. That was horrible. Also, you’d expect good restaurants to do good coffee. This is not true.