Clansi and I are in the final stages of preparing for a grand cycle tour in the UK. It is now only 5 days till we depart Sydney for London. I am intending to keep this website updated with our progress, and so here’s an introduction to this adventure.
We are going to ride for 11 days from Whitehaven (on the west coast of the Lake District) to Newcastle Upon Tyne (on the east coast of England), and then up to Edinburgh. This will take us along two well established cycle routes that have been created by Sustrans, a British charity that promotes sustainable transport. Unlike most others on the route, however, we’ll be riding our Greenspeed recumbent tricycles.
The first part of our journey will be on the Sea to Sea (C2C) route:
The UK’s most popular ‘challenge’ cycle route passes through the northern Lake District before climbing the Pennines, ‘the roof of England’, and then descending to the railway paths of County Durham. It includes Black Hill, the highest point on the National Cycle Network (609m) and the Consett-Sunderland railway path and sculpture trail.
From Tynemouth, we will follow the Coast and Castles South route:
The route passes a plethora of historic sites including the world famous Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle, the ancient capital of Northumbria, as well as nature reserves until it crosses the border at Berwick-upon-Tweed and moves into the Tweed Valley. Quiet lanes take you through the border country until a gentle climb onto the Moorfoot Hills into Midlothian and a spectacular view of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.
There are quite a few challenges that will make this trip an adventure. Obviously, there will be significant distances to cover by pedal-power. Since we want time to be able to see the marvellous places that we pass through, we’ve broken the trip down into fairly short days. People typically do the C2C in 3 days and we’ll be taking 5, but even then we will be riding 40-60 km each day.
The weather will almost certainly turn against us for some of the trip. It would be a dramatic statistical anomaly if we had 11 days of sunshine. Hopefully we do at least get a few.
Even the transport of our trikes will be an interesting challenge. We have been assured that they will not be too difficult to take on the plane, and we’re prepared to break them down and box them if required. Once in England not even ordinary bikes are allowed on trains, let alone unusual 3-wheelers. We will hire a car one-way to drive from Heathrow up to Whitehaven, and our trikes fold to fit easily. Fascinatingly, the hire care turned out to be cheaper than two adult train tickets anyway.
There should be more than enough to compensate for these difficulties. I’m anticipating great views and old castles and friendly B&B hosts and fun accents and pleasant trails and rewarding baths and …