Cycling Edinburgh to London Day 6

September 29, 2018
Looking back across Robin Hood’s Bay

A nice fresh morning for a short ride down to Scarborough. We were hoping to get there early, find a bike shop, and then eat a leisurely breakfast while the bike is getting fixed.  Easy huh.

Google Maps continues to offer some, err, slightly less than ideal cycle route suggestions

This first leg turned out to down following a disused railway line, although unlike yesterday, it was pretty overgrown in places. I guess there isn’t a whole lot of traffic out this way. Good thing we both really enjoy cycling through stinging nettles. Oh yes. Fun times ahead. And I haven’t had breakfast yet. Or even a coffee.

I’m sure there was view like this a day or so ago, wasn’t there? All these ruins atop coastal cliffs are blurring into one another.

Breakfast turned out to be pretty good. A properly unhealthy full breakfast, with lots of coffee. It’s not like we had much else to do while we waited for Micha’s bike to be sorted out. Might as well enjoy the downtime right?

A pirate ship! It just looks like a toy ship as it’s a long way away. But it’s not a toy ship. It’s a proper big ship. A proper big pirate ship!

Getting out of Scarborough is a bit confusing, and Google Maps on my phone appears to be having fun directing us around busy pedestrian-only shopping streets, or towards busy A roads. I know the national cycle route is around here somewhere? Luckily, we spot some German cyclists who are also heading south, and we decide to follow them. They seem a lot more organised than we are.

The plan is a good one, and we make nice progress out into the countryside. It isn’t long until I find the perfect place to stop for coffee and cake:

I wasn’t expecting to find a distillery down here. I also hadn’t realised that we were still in Yorkshire. We’re still in Yorkshire?  We’ve been in Yorkshire for days. It’s going to take ages to get to Essex. England is larger than I thought. Good thing there are some nice looking cakes to eat here.

After the distillery, there was one last hill, and then, that was that. I think it’s all (relatively) flat from here on.


We’re on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Taking that ride to nowhere
We’ll take that ride
I’m feeling okay this morning
And you know
We’re on the road to paradise
Here we go, here we go
Waiting..

It feels like we’re making good time, the weather is near perfect and the roads are traffic-free. The only holdups are the odd level crossing. Seems like a nice afternoon for a quiet beer at a village pub. Sadly, it seems like this isn’t going to work, as all the village pubs are closed. We eventually make do with eating an apple outside of a village pub. It’s not really the same.

All very scenic. Just a shame it isn’t open.

We get to our campsite at Beverley more or less on time (not counting getting a little lost in the suburbs to the south of the city and completely missing the cycle path. Again). After getting the tent pitched, we treat ourselves to a taxi into town to a surprisingly good Italian restaurant. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of Beverley before, but it’s a really nice town. The Minster is quite impressive too.


Cycling Edinburgh to London Day 5

September 16, 2018

The hill is a lot steeper than it looks in this photo

The plan was to get up and on the road nice and early: our aim was to get to Whitby and we were a little concerned about how far away it was. We had really expected to get in to Durham around mid afternoon yesterday, rather than 8pm! The route I had mapped out was mostly following a cycle route down to Middlesbourgh, and we had no idea if it would be smooth riding, or broken path that would ruin our tyres.

Talking about tyres… yes, that early start didn’t happen as Micha had another flat. 😦

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Cycling Edinburgh to London Day 4

August 12, 2018

Possibly the River Wansbek? I forget.

Woke up the tent with only the mildest of hangovers. The advantage of camping is it’s a lot easier to get and moving early in the morning. Which we probably should be doing. When we cut out the detour through the Northumberland National Park, the plan was that this would cut the distance from Berwick to Durham to around 90 miles over two days, leaving a lot more time for relaxing. Sadly, this seems to be completely unrealistic as yesterday was over 55miles, and today is looking like it will be over 60. Well, onwards! To breakfast.

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Cycling Edinburgh to London Day 3

July 27, 2018

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Lindisfarne Abbey

Our original plan had been to visit Holy Island, then cycle inland a little through a little of Northumberland National Park. By now, we were starting to realise that all our mile estimates were a little low, as cycling paths tend to less direct than A roads. Just the ride to Holy Island and back would take at least an hour on its own anyway. So, we decided to skip the detour inland and take a straighter route south that would leave enough time to visit the island.

And of course, first, I had to change my inner tube.

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Cycling Edinburgh to London Day 2

July 6, 2018

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Edinburgh Castle >>> Colchester Castle

An early (very early) morning start as the sleeper train pulls into Edinburgh Waverly first thing in the morning. We get the bikes unloaded and head up in to the old down to meet Louisa for breakfast at one of my old favourite cafes. I miss my days living in Edinburgh at working at the Informatics Forum.

Still, we can’t hang about too long: we have to cycle to England today. Sounds like a long way when it’s put like that doesn’t it. Eeek.

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Cycling Edinburgh to London

July 2, 2018

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Have we forgotten anything important?

I didn’t manage to get out on the bike last year (2017), and as Moz was busy with impending mini-Moz, a trip this  year was looking pretty unlikely until Micha suggested visiting from America. After looking at the map for a bit, we relucantly decided that getting to the Scottish islands from Essex would be a little tricky (and expensive) , and settled on a route along the South coast from Cornwall to my new home in Colchester. The plan was to take the overnight train from London to Penzance, as the sleeper trains give you more time to board, sort out putting the bikes somewhere secure, etc. Sadly, this plan was quickly dismissed as GWR didn’t have any tickets (and possible no actual trains), so we turned to Scotrail for plan B: cycle to London, take the Caledonian Sleeper to Edinburgh, then cycle home!

 

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A more adventurous cycling tour! – pt VIII

June 10, 2018

Ok, two years later and I never did finish writing this up! As Micha is due to arrive tomorrow morning for our 2018 trip (Edinburgh -> Colchester), I thought it might be a good idea to finally finish off this last chapter of the 2016 trip.

Friday 27th May

After climbing up a mountain on our “day off”, we took it a little easier today and made 56miles to Island Pond in Brighton, Essex (Vermont). American place names are amusing.

We were in the back half of the trip so as usual, I’m not bothering to stop and take as many photographs.

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Seems a strange place for a school bus to end up.

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A more adventurous cycling tour! – pt VII

February 5, 2017

Thursday 26th May

Today is our day off cycling. And Micha wants to climb up a mountain. Not just any mountain. Like a humble little Scottish Monroe or something. But an actual mountain. Mount Washington is considerably larger than Ben Nevis. And my legs are already tired from all that cycling. Oh well. Guess it’s time to get up and cycle to the foot of the mountain.

Sadly, we're not taking the train.

Sadly, we’re not taking the train.

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A more adventurous cycling tour! – pt VII

October 27, 2016

Wednesday 25th May

What a luxury, sleeping in a proper bed. And then having a reasonably leisurely breakfast at a cafe (the Moose Muck!) before heading off. Only 60 miles to cover today, although we are heading into the White Mountains National Forest. Mountains. Hm.

Heading towards those there mountains.

Heading towards those there mountains.

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A more adventurous cycling tour! – pt VI

October 11, 2016

Tuesday 24th May

Early morning.

Early morning.

Everything is starting to hurt. Sleeping on a wooden platform has after all that hard work yesterday means I feel pretty much like an inflexible log. I suppose getting everything back down the hill to the road will help me loosen up.


Ah yes, the path down…

The path is the stream. I had forgotten about that. All my limbs ache.

The path is the stream. I had forgotten about that. All my limbs ache.

Luckily, our bikes are were they left them. Although I suppose the chance of them getting stolen was minimal. We left them in the middle of a forest in rural Canada half way up a stream. Just before it got dark. So I guess luck had nothing to do with it.

The fox cubs look on with amusement as we cart out bags down the hill.

The fox cubs look on with amusement as we cart out bags down the hill.

Once we had carried the bags back down to the bikes, we then of course had to carry everything else down to the nearest road. Which turned out to look more like a ski piste than a road. But at least it was cycle-able on our bikes. Although I was pretty paranoid about blowing a tire.

All in all, a slower start than we would have liked given we had another 60 miles to cover today. South over the border and into the U S of A! But first, breakfast! Except, there’s no sign of any cafes in Notre-Dame-des-Bois. We sit and admire the  funky church (they all have metal roofs over here – very bling) ; unhappily ponder the uphill slog back out of the village; eat a handful of trail mix, and then get ready to set off.

Looks like it is going to be another sunny day

Looks like it is going to be another sunny day

Turns out the route wasn’t quite as bad as it looked. Once the initial uphill had been done, we had miles of reasonable flat (with some good downhills) through the forest. Felt like the road was never-ending at times. Sadly, these back roads in Canada appear to be mainly unpaved, and so skidding (given all the weight on the pannier rack) was a worry. I dread to think what our stopping distance would have been if we had gone full pelt down some of the hills!

Miles and miles of this!

Miles and miles of this!

and a photo with me in it!

and a photo with me in it!

We reached Chatierville around noon and had some lunch. I think I was treated to some authentic North American cuisine: the stodgyiest pizza I have ever eaten. I was pretty hungry though. And gave it plenty of time to digest before tackling the hill up to the border crossing.

Which has to rank as one of the hardest things I have done. I guess I’m not super fit, but the combination of the steep hill, midday heat, no shelter, no option to stop and avoid the midday sun (as we needed to make it to Colbrook by sunset) and all the luggage was tough. I had to stop a couple of times to let my heart rate slow down.

Got there in the end though.

Yes, I think I'll spend a little while resting here.

Yes, I think I’ll spend a little while resting here.

The view back down into Chatierville and Quebec

The view back down into Chatierville and Quebec

While the hardest part of getting out of Canada was getting up a steep hill, getting into America was a little tricky. It doesn’t look like this border crossing gets much traffic. Or any traffic. It took about half an hour for them to ok my passport and during that time, apart from the two Homeland Security guys, we didn’t see anybody else. I guess they don’t get much in the way of non-American or non-Canadians crossing. Especially on bicycle. And they seemed a little confused by my answer of when I would be leaving the United States (in three days time, but then I’ll be flying back to the US again, in order to then get a flight back home). Eventually they charged me $10 or so to staple a piece of paper into my passport. Time to hit the road again!

And into America. New Hampshire to be precise.

"Live free or die" - I guess we're no longer in Canada then.

“Live free or die” – I guess we’re no longer in Canada then.

Cycling in this corner of New Hampshire is pretty great – it’s mostly all gently downhill from the Canadian border, and there’s literally no traffic. Hours (and hours) later, we reach a trading post!

Very quaint. I wonder if they do ice cream?

Very quaint. I wonder if they do ice cream?

Eek!

Eek!

Apparently we're getting close to town.

Apparently we’re getting close to town.

 

Colbrook. And I’m knackered.

Yup. this place should hopefully have beer. No need to go any further.

Yup. this place should hopefully have beer. No need to go any further.

Boy am I glad to finally get a shower (as there weren’t any at Mt Megantic). Two days worth of sweat, dust and suncream. Lovely.

View from outside the motel. That box of a building is the pub.

View from outside the motel. That box of a building is the pub.

Venturing outside after a wash and a rest, and we go for a walk around the town before food (and beer!)

This place is pretty remote.

This place is pretty remote.

Ok, I suggest we stay here. And drink beer, eat food, and have more beer.

Ok, I suggest we stay here. And drink beer, eat food, and have more beer.