Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bike-athon, Second and Final Week

The Bike-athon has been an amazing experience! In the end I only cycled 200 miles of the journey, with a maximum of 50 miles in one day. All the same, I've explored what its like and learned a lot of lessons. I've been able to take enough clothes and equipment, computer, camera, tent etc to work and live a simple life down here and have got cheap local transport sorted too.

I wouldn't rush into cycling on busy main roads again. Most traffic gives you a good wide berth but a couple of cars got pretty close to me. It's just not very pleasant on main roads even with a cycle lane at the edge. The cycle lanes can be a bit of a joke, they certainly were in the Lake District. They're intermittent, usually just bits of pavement with some painted symbols on them, they often change sides from one side of the road  to the other. It's all a bit of a token gesture towards cycling - the roads are designed for cars really aren't they? There were a few good moments cycling in the Borders, seeing the hills of the Lake District for the first time and finding some nice deserted back roads but mostly it was a bit of a slog with all the weight and scarey going down steep hills, feeling out of control and that the brakes wouldn't really be much good especially in the damp.

First view of the Lake District hills

View from the campsite at .... forgotten the name of the place!
During my one wild camp on wasteland near the M6 at Carnforth with eveything getting damp including my phone, which packed up, and running low on clean clothes and water I decided to take the train from Lancaster on down to Wales. The train just cost £41 even with the bike so would have spent more than that on food, water and camping. I never felt hungry or really cold on the trip but I did get thirsty. There is surprisingly little drinkable water in the landscape and if I didn't fill my bottles at a campsite I had to resort to petrol stations, and I really resent paying £1 for 750ml of water when using 2 or 3 litres a day.

Even my trusty Vango Tempest 200, hero of the Lammas Deluge, is starting to look a bit bedraggled - like I'm feeling
Journey's End! The Workhouse Project at Llanfyllin - Steve and I are enjoying a couple of pints and a health-giving pizza not long after this photo.

And I suppose this is a big part of the reason for my cycling - we're going to have to do things a bit differently one way or another.

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