Most sane people would go on the train... by Martin and Yvonne
Thursday 2 September 2010, Filed in: General
From Martin and Yvonne of the Ripon Loiterers
Martin – “Fancy Edinburgh for the weekend?”
Yvonne – “that sounds nice, you mean on the new Santana tandem of course“.
And that was how this all started. The comment in the title was made by a colleague, and as he gets the Ripon Loiterers emails he will remember making it.
The plan was to cycle there on the pretty route i.e. no main roads all the way, and then get the train back. Apart from one or two mishaps (read on) that is what we did.
We set off rapidly from the office in Harrogate at 4.00pm on Wednesday evening 6 October, and achieved the target of Crakehall Mill B&B as the sun went down. Looking back it was the highlight of the ride heading north with a tail wind and a blood-red sunset. Lionel made us welcome and recalled the Ripon Loiterers visit with pleasure.
The next day started well with us making good progress through the Teeside countryside to Sedgefield for morning coffee. At this point it all went a bit pear shaped for the day. Our over-ambitious target was to get to Bamburgh and that would have been about 120 miles, but looking back it was never on because after Trimdon we headed for Sustrans route No. 1 up the East coast. Sustrans routes through urban conurbations are a bit slow with too many stops for fast tourers and so our average plummeted. The environment in the old urban areas also went to pot with lots of litter and broken glass, and the first puncture arrived after about 20 miles on the Sustrans Route.
Punctures on heavily laden tandems are bad news because the deflating tyre also then pinches the inner tube, causing even more punctures. Two inner tubes, one complete puncture repair outfit and three hours later, we set off walking towards Sunderland. A canny lad with a pick up truck gave us a lift to Darke Cycles who fixed us up with new inner tubes and we set off again racing against the fading light up towards the Tyne. We crossed the ferry and got as far as Whitley Bay as the light ran out (just 65 miles that day).
Fortified by a good hotel and a great Indian meal we headed up the Northumberland Coast to Bamburgh the next morning for lunch and then inland to Duns. The Northumberland coast, once clear of the industry at Lynemouth, is superb and the Sustrans route No. 1 was well sorted and in good condition. The Santana sailed along working like clockwork and we enjoyed ourselves setting a cracking pace. A long and rewarding day at 91 miles.
From Duns we headed over the Lammermuir Hills on an isolated road through the hamlet of Longformacus. This road is seriously deserted, steep, high, and empty for 25 miles, and was also the subject of a cold and teeming rain storm for the 3 hours we were on it. The fun part was wearing a bit thin with hypothermia not too far off until we topped the last hill when the rain stopped and view over the Firth of Forth cleared.
Then we reached Edinburgh on Saturday lunchtime, did the tourist bit, got back on the train to York on Sunday and cycled home to Harrogate. Altogether 270 miles of great hard riding.
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