Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Amble About

Warkworth Castle from Amble Harbour

My planned ride to Peel Tower had to be cut short as I had other more pressing commitments landed on me that day (and the weather was horrible). I still managed a 10 mile ride but felt disappointed with myself if truth be told. So I was determined to have a long ride at the weekend.

We got to the in-laws on late Friday evening and I woke fresh and raring to go on Saturday. I already had a cycle route map and a GPS route planned on my SatMap, the bike was checked over and the weather was dry. I set off at about 10.30 hrs and suggested to family they could meet me in Amble around 12.30 hrs for fish and chips before I set off for the return leg.

Getting there I reckoned was going to be 22.5 miles of mainly road/cycle lane with a smaller proportion of traffic free Bridleway/old railway path. I arrived in Amble after 95 mins having covered 24 miles and only having stopped at junctions/lights or to open/close gates. The route was generally good although the cycle paths through Ashington are designed for the benefit of cars on the whole and I was a bit put out cycling the coast section (on tarmac) to suddenly find I had to cross a three gated muddy fields sans cows before being able to return to firmer ground.

Arriving at Amble I felt fine and looked forward to meeting the family. Unfortunately the family had other ideas and were still pottering around at home (I made better time than they expected they explained!!) so I had my repast while I waited for them to arrive. When they made an appearance after an hour we headed to the beach to let the Golden Child have a play in the sand then retired to the cafe while I had a cup of tea and they had lunch. At 14.30 hrs I left them and retraced my tyre marks into the now sinking sun. I wanted to complete the coastal, unlit section while there was still some natural light - most of the inland section being navigable by street lights.

The ride back was harder. There was a slight head wind along the coast, the inland section had a distinct overall ascent and I was cold (note to self: must get some waterproof cycling socks). Still, I got back in 110 mins. I had done 48 miles of cycling and apart from cold feet and a bit of a neck ache didn't feel too bad at all. Even the next day didn't present any stiffness and I could easily have done it all over again.

I know my charity ride is still seven months away but I feel really excited by the prospect of a week of cycle touring. I plan to get some longer training rides before it and will even try for a two or three day fully kitted up/camping out trip if time allows.

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