Author Topic: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?  (Read 43630 times)

3peaker

  • RRTY Mad 27-up! Still going
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #50 on: June 25, 2016, 04:27:11 pm »
In my quest for more points (RRTY/1000 club), It was my Cheltenham Flyer 200 that won with the Permanent version. It has wet/winter variations and the biblical rain forced me to take the one to Westonbirt (after Tetbury). But here is my brief account:

25 Jun 16: Cheltenham 2012 Flyer 200
Wanted to do a 200 before our holiday and start RRTY25; a photo exhibition at Lacock suggested my Flyer 2012 AC. A dry start soon changed to torrential rain from Sapperton to Lacock. A soup and coffee helped restore hands before the exhibition. Dry up Bowden Hill and then more heavy rain up to the golf course (retrieved 3 balls from the roadside!); managed to shelter while I had a banana. Dry across Pewsey Vale and for the lanes to Burbage and then a heavy downpour while I sheltered with a snack. It gradually dried, so a good traverse of Lamborne Hills (there is now a cyclists warning before the descent of Blowingstone Hill) and the Cotswolds (no fun riding into a blinding setting sun), just finishing at dusk. Glad I had good lights for the final sprint down the A40.

Need to be careful on my next rides as now on 996points!!
SteveP

Promoting : Cheltenham Flyer 200, Cider with Rosie 150, Character Coln 100 16 Mar 19, Gospel Pass 200, YatMon160 (Imp 100), Hoarwithy 100, 9 Jun 18.

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #51 on: June 26, 2016, 10:46:44 pm »

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #52 on: June 27, 2016, 08:42:44 am »
Did a DIY by GPS today: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/9662780

That looks good: flat, up, down and finish ... nice :)

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #53 on: July 01, 2016, 10:28:03 pm »
Rode the Staffs Peak perm. Concerned shoulder wouldn't be up to it after an over-the-bars a few weeks ago, but worked out alright in the end. Few showers during the day, plenty of hills throughout. Probably my favourite of the Marple Grimpeurs. Hope to get a day off and ride the calendar version in August

Manotea

  • Just 1 sob, Vassily
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #54 on: July 01, 2016, 10:47:47 pm »
An Anoraks Delight for me, my first BR in quite a while. I had a good day out, though the route seemed hillier than I remembered it. Nothing really big/steep but a lot of rolling terrain mixed with some delightful flatness.

Some wetness mixed with sunny spells, which was fine, riding through most of the mizzle 'cape off'. Got seriously lost around andover in estates which didn't exist when I cut the GPS track!

Also my first Keto 200. Had some pork scratchings, ham and a few chicken wings, say 800Cal all in. I didn't especially need to eat, and fat/protein takes ages to digest anyway but felt it sensible to have something to support recovery.  Felt pretty good and - within the limits of my fitness -  had  good form all the way round and felt fine after, which was interesting as I had bonked out/DNFed a 200 at 65km a month earlier having screwed up my diet that week.

Pork scratching are disgusting tho. Never again...

Edit: yet strangely addictive...

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #55 on: July 02, 2016, 05:29:42 pm »
Rode El Supremo's (as presented by Anton Brown) Reading-Pulborough 200k Perm.  AB kindly accommodated an extra start Control near home, cattle & swans bathing together in the water meadows just N of Alresford (very pastoral), an interesting lanes alt. to the A272 between Liss and Midhurst (if rather sandy, must clean chain), lots of folk getting ready for Polo just past Midhurst (must buy horse and loose wurzel accent), dirty great big fry-up in Pulborough (The Tea Room, high end of avg at £10 inc. tea but top notch ingredients & friendly service) and missed most of the rain.  So apart from the busy roads from Guildford to 3 Mile Cross and the strong westerlie that also did a good impression of a southerlie and northlie, a good ride.

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #56 on: July 03, 2016, 06:49:05 pm »
https://ridewithgps.com/trips/9763841

400km DIY by GPS. All sorts of weather, apres Clatterin' Brig la deluge. Decent control this time with food & drink provided :-p Had to have a power snooze in Ellon - not in a bus shelter, but sat on the ground against a wall.
Distance extended a bit by coming across a road closure near Fyvie. The GPS came into its own for finding an alternative route.
Fair bit of wildlife: red squirrel, bats, GSW, buzzards, deer trying to garrote itself on a fence.

ETA - just realised this is the longest solo ride I've done.

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2016, 08:53:52 am »
After crashing last week, yesterday I had another go at a visit to the seaside and Marj's to collect my wedding ring*

A night run to Rhyl into a blustery wind which turned a bit grim for the last bit from Prestatyn, didn't hang around at McDonanlds since they'd got the air-con on and being soaked I got the shakes. The pay-off was 140 odd km of tailwind to Marj's where I enjoyed a leisurely lunch of homemade pizza and filled the Carradice with chocolate cake, the  long break meant I found it tough to get going again.

Home up the canal through Stoke and then just a matter of staying out of the way of the TT'ers on the A50.

https://www.strava.com/activities/642963835

*actually jogler's wedding rind resized

Manotea

  • Just 1 sob, Vassily
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #58 on: July 17, 2016, 09:29:04 am »
Rode the Taste of the Test 200km on Saturday with Mattc who was on a 300 from Didcot. We met up at Pangbourne to ride down to Tadley which made it a 240km day for me. Mattc was great company as usual.

Hillier than I remembered it (where have I heard that before) and required the 24" gear in places. It was quite warm and I was rather dehydrated by the time we got to Aldbourne (the TOTT 150km control) and I was rather out of it for a while, but recovered to finish in good shape (much to my amazement, tbh), finishing with a 2up time trial back to Pangbourne, just in time to miss my train home which meant a 55 minute wait. Happily a bunch of lads arrived who had been on the lash all afternoon arrived and insisted I join their drinking game, which passed the time nicely. :)

Something I'd forgotten about was how difficult I find it to get to sleep after a hard ride, as I'm a mess of endorphins. I had mebbe a couple of hours and was up and about the rest of the night. I'll probably spend the rest of the day in a semi-doze; just hope I get a good night's sleep tonight.   

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #59 on: July 17, 2016, 08:26:25 pm »
A figure of eight loop from Bristol to Wilton near Salisbury via the Wylie Valley, the edge of Cranborne Chase via Broad Chalke and Cranborne Abbas then return via Shaftesbury, Mere, Warminster.  The Bristol Bath cycle path provided the intro and outro.  The Wylie Valley is lovely, pretty flat but enough little dips and rises to keep it interesting.  The view at Compton Abbas over the downlands is great and I had a breakfast at Compton Abbas Airfield, quite busy and seems to be quite a popular spot for cyclists, met a group who had ridden up from Poole.  There is quite a stiff climb out of Mere but again some lovely views from the ridge that the road runs along before dropping down and winding through four different Deverills (Kingston, Monkton, Hill and Longbridge … the latter having also been visited earlier in the day).  Very hot in the afternoon which took its toll but really a fine day out and a route that I’m really pleased with.
https://www.strava.com/activities/644054738

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #60 on: July 17, 2016, 08:59:46 pm »
We live right on the Northern edge of the North York Moors, so it would be churlish not to visit them from time to time. Home-Hawnby (where I bottled it on the 33% descent, managed the 25% climb, then fettled the brakes as there was more descending to come). I'm too fat to spend all day in the Moors so headed up Wensleydale to Hawes for a (late) lunch. I'd not saved enough in my lardy legs for the climb up Preston Scar and by the time I got to Richmond I was knackered. Luckily it's flat (for round here) home from there, and with the wind squarely on my back I made much better time. Mr Smith rode out to meet me, which was lovely, though he did keep trying to halfwheel, the git.
Lovely sunny day. Almost like it's summer.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

mattc

  • "Hannibal"
  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #61 on: July 18, 2016, 04:50:11 pm »
Rode a 300 on Sat round Wiltshire, Hampshire etc, much of it with a sweaty bloke from London that I met on the internet.
It was bloody lovely, although I got a bit grumpy on the hot afternoon leg - fortunately "1 Bottle" Paul was in a worse state than me, which cheered me up  ;D

With an 0515 start this was oh-so-close to being an all-daylight 300. But it DID manage to be a bare-arms & knees 300 - which is nice.

My first with GPS - thanks Phil for the loan and the private tutoring. And to Manotea for baby-sitting my mandatory route entry. (I shall no doubt be posting extensively and stupidly in the GPS board soon  ::-)  )



The previous Saturday was a 200 round a v.similar area - rather unfortunate planning, but nice routes anyway. This was a bit special, for being my first Audax points since being battered-by-van back in April. :)

(Thanks to Brymbo OTP for the company on that one).
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #62 on: July 18, 2016, 05:18:23 pm »
Well done MattC  :thumbsup:

If I`d gotten my act together, ie submitted an entry to Tony H beforehand  :facepalm:, my ride today would have been a 100km AAA ride, virtually a repeat of a previous out to Kerry, via Cilfaesty Hill, back via Kerry - Anchor road with the 10km descent to Clun  :thumbsup: https://www.strava.com/activities/645055254 , before back over Reeves / Stonewall Hill with surprisingly clear views given the heat building .

Tried to minimise faffage time, just 20 min `wasted` stops for food eaten `on the move; very warm day (hottest of year here )

So it`s a non DIY -`DIY` ride today  ;D
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

yorkie

  • On top of the Galibier
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #63 on: July 18, 2016, 08:12:58 pm »
Not today, but on Saturday night I rode the Dunwich Dynamo and extended the 180km "official" route to 303km via Beccles, the Reedham ferry, Aylsham, North Walsham and Paston, cutting back along the coast road to Sheringham YHA.

This is the first time I have ridden a 300km DIY by GPS and the first time I have ridden 300km since the late 90's.

The section to the coast was ridden in good company, with a bit of a tailwind, via Finchingfield, Sudbury and Framlingham, getting to Dunwich just after sunrise.



The rest of the ride also went well, the only low point being just before Beccles, when I was seriously considering packing. After a McDonald's breakfast, I felt much better and pushed the wind to Aylsham with renewed vigour, including a trip across the Reedham ferry!



The final section from Paston also featured the aforementioned headwind, but by then I could smell the finish and got in after around 19 hours in total, of which around 15 hours were actually spent in the saddle.

What's next? I'm sure that someone is going to try and talk me into a 400! We'll see! :-D
Born to ride my bike, forced to work! ;-)

British Cycling Regional Track Commissaire
British Cycling Regional Circuit Commissaire
British Cycling Ride Leader

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #64 on: July 18, 2016, 08:53:00 pm »


Ah, yorkie - if I had a pound for every one of those I've had as DIY proof of passage, I'd have...

* checks *

(click to show/hide)

yorkie

  • On top of the Galibier
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #65 on: July 18, 2016, 08:55:16 pm »


Ah, yorkie - if I had a pound for every one of those I've had as DIY proof of passage, I'd have...

* checks *

(click to show/hide)
Hehe! :-)

Thankfully I was doing a DIY by GPS with mandatory routing, so didn't need to get receipts.
Born to ride my bike, forced to work! ;-)

British Cycling Regional Track Commissaire
British Cycling Regional Circuit Commissaire
British Cycling Ride Leader

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #66 on: July 18, 2016, 10:53:02 pm »
A 200 starting from Bristol and takes in parts of the Heart of England and the Severn Across.  The  route  heads out through Wiltshire to Malmesbury and then takes the lanes that cut through the Cotswold Water Parks. Coffee and cake at Coffee 1 in Cirencester where it picks up the early part of the Heart of England, last time I did this, the gentle rise up the Whiteway north over the Cotswolds was accompanied by a headwind which was slow going but today conditions were a lot more benign although the hills that followed the Whiteway were tough in the heat.  Magnificant views of the Cotswolds before dropping down the steep hill to Winchcombe, usually this is done on Blacksheep’s ‘January Sale’ in wet and often dark conditions but far more enjoyable today.  Now on the Western part of the Severn Across but I deviate to Tewkesbury to the Royal Hop Pole for lunch.  Lovely section West of the Severn made up of nice quiet lanes but then it’s the fierce climb up Symonds Yat Rock. From Coleford there’s some undulation before the magnificent descent to Chepstow and then it’s just the dreaded Fern Hill* and back home (*it’s not that long or steep but always comes at the end of Welsh rides when you’re invariably very tired).
Ride details here https://www.strava.com/activities/645470641

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #67 on: July 29, 2016, 09:53:19 am »
Solo 400k DIYxGPS ( Mandatory Route ) yesterday.
Longest solo ride for me.

It's the route of the Kingdom Come, which was the National 400 back in 2000.

Punctured 3k from the end, about 02:30 in the Deep Dark Woods!
Sitting on a rock fixing the tyre in the silence and pitch dark pierced only by my front light, I could hear Gruffalos and Grues close by in the woods behind me.
All I could see was the one million insects attracted to my lights, so I had to fix the puncture in a cloud of Moths and Other Things.

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1278173050

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #68 on: July 29, 2016, 12:32:54 pm »
Rode the Man of Kent 300 perm yesterday with Jel (who was getting his first 300 in for the year).
The steering bearings felt a little odd every now and again, and now it's cooled down today is making some scraping noises.
https://www.strava.com/activities/656839911
All the best, Paul.

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #69 on: July 30, 2016, 07:39:18 pm »
Greenwich Mean Climbs - 300.
Not a route I'd ridden before (DNS last year), though I've ridden most of the Sussex bits before.  It is a sensational route (save for the last 20km through Bromley) - good hills, and top draw lanes.  Really bloody lovely.
Knackered now - started at silly o'clock this morning (00:40) having gone to bed a mere two hours before.
I feel the first leg out to Ebbsfleet is probably best done in the dark.

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #70 on: July 31, 2016, 11:35:41 am »
Just back from a family holiday, camping in Cornwall near Porthcurno. Managed to squeeze in a couple of 200km DIYs.

The first was adapted from a calendar event that I found a link to (I think it was the four hundreds two hundred). I started it at the campsite, shortened it at the far end and included a loop around the Lands End Peninsula to finish.  The route was excellent and being Cornwall, quite hilly.  Nice run out across the Lizard Peninsula and then north east using the King Harry Ferry over to Roseland and then heading to the North Coast via St Newlyn East.  This part included a lovely climb alongside a woodland where the trees formed a beautiful canopy over the road which provided some welcome respite from the heat.  Once at the north coast the climbing intensified until I got the other side of Portreath where there was a flattish run to Hayle but this was accompanied by an upsurge in the headwind.  I was really looking forward to the north coast down to Lands End but by the time I got there rain/mist had set in and I couldn’t see a thing and the wind was really challenging.  Got to St Just feeling very wet and weak, only 10-15 km left but decided to stop for food at the Co-op and 10 minutes later was good to go. Enjoyed the tail wind from Lands End back to the campsite and managed the 16% hill just out of Treen without too much trouble. Ride details here https://www.strava.com/activities/657714906

Second ride shared parts of the previous one which is inevitable when you can only really go in one direction from Lands End.  After Marizion I got on the minor roads north of the Lizard and worked my way across to the King Harry Ferry but this time explored the Roseland Peninsula a bit more. Down to St Mawes and then followed the coast to Gorran Haven before heading cross county back to the ferry, plenty of climbing in this section.  Then to the Lizard, across the top part to Gweek and a climb that seemed to go on forever and then West toward Culdrose air base and then the really hard bit.  The rain had set in and the wind was really blowing from the south, I’d done about 150 km and I had to do an out and back into the wind to Lizard point, not far but very tempting to keep going West toward the campsite.  Frustratingly, the cafes had closed in Lizard and the pubs looked busy so I ended up with a coke and a cold pie from a shop. The rain then started to clear and the return up to Helston went really quickly, back on the minor roads to Marizion after Helston and a bit more climbing. Short stop in Penzance for water and chocolate and another 10 km to the finish.  Rain returned with a vengeance about 30 mins after I was back.  Felt I was struggling for time on this ride but this was partly a function of setting out later and a few more hills but overall another good day out on the bike, details here, https://www.strava.com/activities/657714890

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
  • 3x Brimstone ancien 3x Pendle/Tan Hill DNF
    • CET Ride Reports and Blogs
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #71 on: August 04, 2016, 11:34:37 pm »
Resurrected my SR series with Els 400 on Monday, thanks to Anton for organising and allowing me to use Chichester as start/finish, which meant I could start from my static caravan in Selsey.  The weather forecast was for rain spreading from the west so when I woke in the early hours that was encouragement to get going, with no one to disturb at 2.10am, making the start control at 2.42am.

Nice night ride and magic dawn over Old Winchester Hill before the slate grey cloud arrived.  Has a good conversation with the attendant at Shell Services in Sutton Scotney who told me about a blog he was following of someone cycling from Germany to Pakistan.  He'd obviously stamped cards for other AUKs in the past.

Big attack of the dozies around St Mary Bourne but after the beautiful church at Fosbury and the descent in Bedwyn woke up and was ready for a full English at Leigh Delamere.  The rain started early but I outpaced it in the lee of Tan Hill only for it to catch me up when I made a bonus tea and cake stop at a very friendly cafe in Pewsey (£2.80 for a mug of tea and home made Victoria sponge).  More dozies around St Mary Bourne on the way back but then the rain woke me up. 

Fancied a decent coffee so headed for McDonalds in Sutton Scotney services rather than a snack at the petrol station and emerged into proper rain.  At least all the roads were local and I made good pace over the hills to Petersfield.  The problem with the early start was that the A272 was now busy with afternoon traffic.  Needed something salty and it was just entering witching hour when all the proper cafes shut so resorted to a cheese and ham panini at Costa-lot. 

The rain eased off again on the way to Pease Pottage, and I had a good although not-that-quick run especially on the long drag up through Tilgate Forest for another panini (this was becoming a very expensive event - £3 for the ride and over £30 for food!!).  All the roads so far had been familiar, with no need to check the route sheet but I wasn't absolutely certain of the way around Horsham.  That gave me an unpleasant surprise as I had 58k not 48k to go and what an extra 10k it turned out to be.  I emerged from the services into steady rain that just got heavier.  The roads became sheets of water with white lines and draincovers potential death traps in the gathering gloom.  I reached Storrington and stood under the eaves of an estate agent for a snack, reckoning that this was on a par with PBP2007 and LEL2009 as some of the worst summer cycling weather I'd ever encountered.  But I knew it was only 30k of familiar roads to do, so I set off into the dark, laboured up the hill to Whitways and tiptoed through the floods around  Eartham.  One little mistake on my part, thought that the helpful sign to "Retail Park" would get me to Sainsburys avoided the A27 roundabout but should have known that Sainsburys is "Superstore" not "Retail Park" and ended up on an insane cycle/footpath only about 4 feet white with a raised white-paint death trap line to keep the two apart and lampposts encroaching menacingly.  Somehow survived this town planner's attempt on my life and rolled into Sainsbury

I knew I'd be back in Selsey too late for a kebab so wandered around the vast acres.  Found the pasta OK but the pesto sauce was several aisles and about half a mile away and I needed some kind lady to help me when she'd rather have a quiet-end-of-shift.  So after a few lost minutes clocked in at the checkout at 10.45pm.

The excitement wasn't over as I now had 15km into the wind and incessant rain back to the caravan.  Southern Railway, who can't run trains for toffee decided to rub it in by actually running one at 11pm so I had to sit soaked at the level crossing, then it was a matter of counting down the miles along the ever-too-familiar road to Selsey. 

The contents of my Nelson Longflap were bone dry.  Lancashire 1 Sussex Weather 0
Eddington Numbers 121 (imperial), 165 (metric) 510 (furlongs)  110 (nautical miles)

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #72 on: August 06, 2016, 11:57:39 pm »
Topped up today's 200, Cogdubnus run by MarcusJB as given the preferred method to the start was riding out, it seemed churlish not to assume my work tramlines and top up to a 300. Great time had and now have very happy but weary co-pilot.

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #73 on: August 07, 2016, 03:59:36 pm »
This is a route into South Wales that Audax Club Bristol plan to turn into a calendar event. It’s a tough day out with around 3000m of climbing. After getting over the Severn, the first climb is gentle, up toward Shirenewton from Chepstow, the outward route of the Brian Chapman, a few lanes after Usk and then the major climb of the ride – the Tumble. Yesterday it was clear and the views over the Brecon Beacons were fantastic.  Dropped down further than I needed, into Blaenavon to use the visitor centre café, but it was closed – heartsink. I was just about to crawl back up toward the Big Pit and the turning toward Brymawr and a woman emerged onto the adjacent road crossing wearing visitor centre uniform, I enquired if she was opening up and got a positive answer!  So, in for a veggie breakfast, they have library books for customers and I managed about 30 pages of a Lou Reed biography and was tempted to sit there for a few hours drinking coffee and reading but it was a lovely day and during the winter I longed for days like this so back out and up the hill. Some undulations through the towns that track along the Heads of the Valleys road until Merthyr Tydfil and then turn right back into the Beacons and some lovely countryside around the Pontsticill reservoir, tough climb and sharp descent to the Talybont reservoir and a lovely run into Talybont on Usk, gradually down for about 10km.  Another café stop at Crickhowell and the temperature has now become quite challenging.  Climb out of Crickhowell and take the lanes around the base of the Sugar Loaf before coming into Llanvihangel Crucorney which is at the southern end of the Gospel Pass.  Another set of lovely lanes to Raglan but I was really feeling the heat now and whilst there was nothing brutal the undulations really sapped my energy. I stopped for a coke and crisps at Raglan and psyched myself for the last tough climb, Star Hill.  Struggled up the climbs before it and then got in a very low gear and crawled up and was delighted and relieved to see the top. One significant undulation on the ridge, then Devauden and a long descent to Chepstow.  Had to top up with water at a garage, then over the Severn Bridge, the dreaded Fern Hill and about 10 km to home.  This is a great route and will make a fine calendar event but very tough in those temperatures. Full details hehttps://www.strava.com/activities/666795539re

Re: Have you been out today on a Perm or DIY?
« Reply #74 on: August 07, 2016, 10:15:05 pm »
Yesterday was my first attempt at a mandatory DIY-by-GPS route. I was very pleased with it, on the whole, though the admin was a nightmare.

The ride was brilliant, and in perfect weather - it would only work as a mandatory route, really, as I took inspiration from Uncle Peter's adventures on the canalways of Lancashire, and it was a mix of offroad and quiet lanes. My kind of terrain, that. However, it being County Durham, we don't have many canals, but we do have a lot of disused railways.

The river path along the Tees from Stockton to Middlesbrough is fantastic - best of all, there's pretty much no need to ride through Middlesbrough. There is an Eight Bridges cycle route, too. I only used four - Victoria Bridge, Infinity Bridge, Tees Barrrage, and finally I crossed the Transporter Bridge (open, for once) and rode across Dormans Pond and Seal Sands. It's an amazing route. Seals, seabirds, cows lazing in the water, oil refineries, chemical plants, cooling towers and a nuclear power station.






I did have to ride through the middle of Hartlepool, but I kept my Darlo badge under wraps, and from Hartlepool north it was the Hart-Haswell path, the Castle Eden walkway and the Hawthorn-Ryhope cycleway, which were mostly pretty well-surfaced. Mostly. There was a rough, muddy bit near Haswell, and a wooden walkway across a bog which I wouldn't fancy riding in the wet. It was covered with netting which provided some grip, but the netting was frayed, so I was as concerned about punctures as anything else.

It's still a better route across East Durham than any road I've found - Murton and Easington have their charms, no doubt, but the roads are shite.

It was an almost-imperceptible drag up from Poolie, and an equally-gentle drop back down to the land of the Mackems, which was another city centre blast, over the Wear and up the coast with the sea to my right and the salty smell in my nostrils. I just missed the Shields Ferry, and pissed away a half hour, even before the slow progress through the throngs along the path to Tynemouth and through the honeypots of Whitley Bay and Cullercoats.



Blyth was strangely empty by comparison*, and is blessed with pretty well-surfaced cyclepaths. They are a bit meandery, but far better than riding along the A189, and it was a purely functional bit anyway, to get me up to the Northumberland Coast and Druridge Bay. It's a gorgeous bit of the world, about to be ruined by an opencast mine. I got chatting to an Aussie cyclist, and we both bemoaned the decision. There's millions of tons of coal left under the sea, or under Easington, and they could probably replace Easington with a hole in the ground before anyone noticed, let alone cared.

For the time being, though, it's a fantastic bit of coastline, with a lovely track across the dunes. My Aussie wheelmate looked at my bike and said that you wouldn't ride it on a road bike, and goggled a bit when I told him that was exactly where I was going. As I say, my kind of terrain - comedy offroading.

I turned back from Amble to Morpeth, which had been the catalyst for the ride, to use up an unused** open return from Morpeth. The last 50 km was rather hilly, certainly by comparison, but with such views, over to the Cheviots on one side and down to the sea at the other. A stop for a pint at the Dyke Neuk to string things out before my train, and all downhill for the last 10 km through Mitford to Morpeth.



https://www.strava.com/activities/666949517

I may have cocked up the admin, but it's a great system - I couldn't have ridden that route any other way, as there'd have always been a persistent voice reminding me that I'd have to ride along the A189 or wherever, just to keep the distance within sensible margins. At times, I did miss the freedom to wander off course, and had to keep a tight leash on my exploring instinct, but as a mechanism for riding long distances, it's fantastic, and it opens up loads of potential routes.

*It won't be in a few weeks when the tall ships come to town: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids-news/tall-ships-blyth-you-need-11711872
**FSVO unused***
***And still technically unused