Back in Blighty. We had spent quite a considerable bit of time planning this route as it didn’t use the Route 1 – the north to south cycle route – all the way. This would have involved adding another night. Duncan therefore planned a fantastic route on quiet farm roads and through small country villages. The route in itself was not a problem.
We left the ferry after assembling all our belongings. Our other newly acquainted cycling companions for the on and off performance shown below, minus the Frenchman, Henri, who was Parisian and a little too casual about the whole thing. He didn’t even have a helmet – he was going to “head north to Newcastle” and then “go on to Perth” as if it were a trip to the Boulanger. Our German friend Stefan did look quite taken aback by this but most probably at the prospect of riding with Henri! He was busy studying his Sustrans Map. The other three were a family from Yorkshire who had been camping and cycling around Holland.
You get fast tracked off the boat when on a bike. Even the ten German motorcycles had to wait for us (off to The Isle of Man). It’s daunting cycling down the ramp. We all passed through customs and then followed the signs out of the port. Everyone said their farewell – Henri bumped into me twice – good luck Stefan! We popped in to have a quick look at Hull.
Now for the reason this day did not work as well as it could. The wind was 45 kph headwind – for us. it was going to blow Stephan and Henri to Newcastle and in fact, they are probably there by now. For us it was unbelievable. It took us two hours to get to and over the Humber Bridge, which was 20km. Just as well it wasn’t raining. We were glad of the panniers to hold us down. If we had worn the ponchos, I think we may have been lifted off the bridge like a couple of whirling dervishes.
Neither of us have ever ridden in winds this strong for such a long ride. Portugal was pretty bad but this was gusting too.
We found a small country garden store with a cafe and as is typical these days with stores of this kind in the UK, it was all about the cafe and other rubbish rather than actual plants. There were ten types of cake, all home made. We had a huge wedge of coffee and walnut cake and two flat whites. Totally brilliant and at £8, the best and the cheapest in the whole trip. We met a couple of ladies in their 70s, who were doing the trans Penine Way, some 260km in three days and with gradients up to 19%. They had very little with them. We noticed that most of the cycling clubs in the area were made up mostly of veterans.
We stopped at the 40km mark for soup in a pub in Brigg. We had already passed by 36 pubs by then and through many very pretty villages. In the whole day, we saw not one new build, no flats going up, in fact, absolutely no construction anywhere at all. It did all however, smell of manure. It is a fallacy that Lincolnshire is flat. We had a 15% hill ( downhill thankfully) and climbed almost 600m.
The ride was tough, very tough. The winds were relentless and at times we were struggling to keep at 10kph. Going along stretches of long roads with hedges, if there was a gap in the hedge, we braced ourselves. We literally were blown off the road at one point and that’s with panniers.
We stopped for afternoon coffee in a village called Normanby By Spital and there were many other gorgeous names of places too.
Drivers were courteous on all the country roads – it wasn’t Belgium. However, the small stretches of main roads were a nightmare and we remember how empty France is. You can stand at a crossing while 40 cars pass. This wouldn’t happen where e have been cycling.
The highlight of the day was seeing this tiny little furry thing on the cycle path. We now know it’s a Field Vole. It was about 3-4 cm in length and I nearly rode over it. It was completely unperturbed by this and carried on eating weeds while I photographed and took a video.
It was a very long day and we were very sore and very tired by the time we arrived in Lincoln at gone 6, having set off at 9.30. It’s a Marston’s Pub with accommodation on the Canal in parkland. A little way out of Lincoln but there wasn’t going to be climbing up England’s steepest Street after 85km. Bit of a local draw for its food – it was heaving with people having two roast dinners, two beers for £20! We got to our room and had a bath. By the time we reached the restaurant they had sold out of roast dinners but that was fine as we had steak and ale pie, a beer and a glass of wine for £20 instead – total.
This place is excellent for those visiting Lincoln. Finally, after 8.5 weeks of travelling by bike, we get a king size bed in an air conditioned room with a good bathroom, sound proofing and all for £50 a night with breakfast an extra £5 each. Cannot fault it. The accommodation won’t be the same tomorrow night but we may get a cooked meal if we are lucky – Dad?