Here we all are many years younger it seems . 2001 was the year and September the month as you can see bit of sun and rain , really only one bad day for the rain when we left Penrith fire station to those immortal words from Alex ” well it can’t last all day”, oh yes it can and it just happened to be the highest hill fortunately we found a very nice pub at the top which allowed us to stand in front of their big log fire. We began on the west coast in Cumbria , that’s us getting sorted pulling bikes clothes and provisions from the trailer, which incidentally we were allowed to borrow for free from Accrington road trailers Stanhill, on the understanding we would put an advert on the side which we did. We worked our way to penrith fire station on the first day at a nice easy pace but with a couple of problems Alex having 2 punctures practically one after the other and having to push his bike a considerable way up a hill to get it into the trailer and cadge a lift. I myself had a puncture but luckily in the town where it was easily sorted by my cycle savvy mates. We reached the station which we were allowed to stay in overnight and a great first night in the towns pubs began .
Next morning we had an early start as this was meant to be the second longest leg as we began the rain began to come down and down never stopping until the next day on arriving at the bottom of a hill we were laughing at hearing some locals saying its a long un about 10 miles believe me I wasn’t laughing about half way up when I began pushing my bike, although I suppose I should point out at this point it wasn’t actually my bike , no I hadn’t stolen it just borrowed it from another of the lads on the watch Niel . We went through a ford I just managed to get my feet out of the stirrups and out of the water but a scream and swearing behind me meant Alex had not been so lucky, heh heh . after many miles of pushing and the only thing keeping me happy was the fact that I wasn’t the last , the hill started going down jumping on the bike I allowed myself some enjoyment at freewheeling and my joy became even greater when I came upon John running down the hill with the bike on his shoulder , “no brakes ” was what I heard as I raced past . At the bottom of the hill was the pub and bunkhouse we were staying in that night , however we were supposed to be doing another 20 miles and then jumping in the van and coming back but after just a little soul searching and the rain still coming down we decided to make it up in the morning and just get out of our wet stuff and grab some food and a beer . That night we had several beers and even amused the rest of the pub by sorting out our own quiz over which as you do several arguments occurred over the reliability of the answers, after we hit the bunks I had never seen 3 bunks one on top of each other and led to much amusement when the lads on the top bunks wanted to go to the loo.
After breakfast we set out again with steve going on to our next stop I must say I enjoyed the bananas and flapjacks he had brought in large quantity even though the flapjacks were hard they were full of sugar and energy we eventually passed through Newcastle only having one major argument as to whether we should risk punctures by going down a rough cycle track or go through the city we opted for the risk and were all surprised by the quality of the track, we eventually arrived at our destination on the east coast with the photos as you can see. That night we went back to Denton fire headquarters where they put us up in their large gymnasium after going out for a few beers again a good nights sleep was required for all.
All in all a very enjoyable trip and challenge although we were put in our place by a gent 70 years of age on his bike doing lands end to john o groats and not for the first time