Memories and motivation, technology and frustration
Bruce woke us up at 6.15pm (a lie-in compared to the previous day) for us to begin preparations for the day ahead. The sun was shining and even though the distance was long (88 miles), the first 50 miles of our planned route was flat. The rest was hilly and it looked like hard work on the elevation plot.
Today would have an added poignancy as we cycling through the areas where both Pam and Philip grew up. We cycled within a few hundred yards of where Pam lived as a child, near Doncaster and where Pam and Patrick met at college back in 1974. We would finish our journey in Chesterfield, where Philip grew up.
We joined Jackie for breakfast and all enjoyed the buffet and cooked offerings from Andrew and Kay.
By 8.20am we mounted Rubes and Roberto and pedalled off out of the pretty village of Easingwold. 2 minutes down the road I realised Gerry the Garmin (satnav) was not responding as he couldn’t find any satellites. We decided to pedal on and hope that Gerry would respond. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be, despite numerous ‘off and back on’ attempts. This was a disaster as our route was not straightforward as we avoided major roads and consequently zigzagged over motorways and rivers. Fortunately we had our route loaded on our phones, but no way of having the screen visible as we cycled along. Consequently, we had to make numerous stops and we incurred significant delays.
A particular navigational challenge was negotiating our way through the centre of York. We’d planned to have some pretty photos of York in today’s blog, but our efforts were focussed instead on navigating as we had to regularly stop and get our phones out. The photo above was taken during one of our many stops to check the phone. We thought we’d set a challenge to Jackie of procuring a device to attach an iPhone to the handlebars of a bike to make things easier and speed things up. Our cycling was going well, but it was taking so long due to our frequent stops. As usual Jackie succeeded in finding a device, which even though not designed for a bike would do the job.
This speeded our progress as we cycled through the flatlands between York and Doncaster.
We passed through some attractive villages such as Cawood and continued our zig-zaggy route southwards. As we approached a level crossing Patrick and I shouted to each ‘Take care!’ as you need to make sure your bike crosses the tracks at right angles to avoid any chance of the wheel getting stuck in the grooves. We did take care, unfortunately my I-phone decided to jump out of its holder as Rubes gave us a bumpy ride over the tracks. Patrick managed to pick it up before any vehicle had an opportunist to drive over it, but the result wasn’t pretty.
We were back to stopping frequently and checking the route.
There seemed to be a dearth of signage at junctions and this one didn’t help!
After very slow progress, Jackie appeared in the road waving her arms. The place we’d planned to meet further down the road was not appropriate and so we met at Asda. It was in the village Carcroft, where Patrick did his first teaching practice in 1973.Jackie provided coffee. Asda coffee is not to be recommended in normal circumstances, but when you’re desperate it did achieve something. We were way behind our schedule. We’d hoped to be at this point a couple of hours earlier. So frustrating.
Another 20 miles (and a lot of hills!) up the road and once again Jackie appeared at the road waving wildly to attract our attention. She’d identified a lovely coffee shop. We should really have pedalled on as we were so far behind schedule. What was on our minds was every minute we delayed was a minute’s less sleep we would get. However, the temptation was too great, so we enjoyed a really decent flat white in the late afternoon sun.
The rest of the journey was tough as the hills were a constant theme. One of the frustrations was that many of the downhills were too steep to freewheel down and so we had to brake – what a waste of energy!
At the top of one of the hills where we stopped to check our route again, we were greeted by a mob of emus.
Every mile seemed to get longer and with only about 5 miles to go I shouted to Patrick that I’d got no more ‘push’ left in my legs. We managed to create some extra push from somewhere to cope with the last couple of hills and then there was a final downhill ride into Chesterfield and the Ibis hotel. Whilst we were sorting out Rubes and Roberto in the car park we could see the twisted spire. We’d cycled 89 miles (a couple more than the planned route as we’d taken some wrong turns) and it was 10 and a half hours after we’d left the Oower House in Easingwold. A very long day. It’s now 11.30pm and we need to see if there’s some way we can bring Gerry the Garmin back to life, otherwise tomorrow is going to be as bad as today from a navigating perspective, but in the rain.
Okay, so everyone knows about the crooked spire but did you know that Jason Statham is from Chesterfield? (No, we’ve no idea who he is, either!?) But then, so is John Hurt and Motörhead’s Phil Taylor.