Tuesday 3rd April
I had another slow puncture so the night before had taken the wheel off my trike and brought it inside to have a proper look at the tyre. There was a very small razor sharp thorn in it which felt as strong as metal, it would have gone through any tyre! It was so embedded I couldn’t pull it out in one piece but I managed to use the sand paper in the puncture repair kit to file down the bit that I couldn’t remove. I repaired the tube and set about pumping it back up with my mini pump, I was proud that I managed to get the tyre pretty hard and then unscrewed the pump and the valve core came out too, all the air I had worked hard to put in came out in seconds. This happened a further 5 times and I was ready to give up for the day.
I packed everything up and waited until one of the owners of the BnB (although in this place that meant an uncomfortable bed and no breakfast) was finally awake and found me a track pump. I was finally on the road albeit 45 minutes late.
It was raining again, but the rain today felt a lot warmer than yesterday and not painful so I felt very lucky and was happy to just be a bit wet. My route was a mix of main roads and small coastal roads – both quite hilly. When I reached a little village called St Bees I finally found an open post office as the bank holiday weekend has meant that I’ve carried my 1kg winter cycling boots for 4 days extra days! Although my toes are still sore my summer shoes aren’t aggravating them and I’ve got shoe covers for them, so there isn’t any point carrying my winter boots as well.
I cycled down into and up out of Whitehaven – the start of the Coast to Coast route. That would be a quick way to get to the East Coast rather than the 34 days it’s going to take me to cycle round Scotland!
A few more miles on and I met Ryan and Alan in Workington. Alan has Cerebral Palsy and sits on the back of a tandem piloted by Ryan. He needs help securing his feet on the the pedals with straps but once they are off he is definitely putting in the work! I’m glad I left my bags in the car that dropped them off or I wouldn’t have been able to keep up! Ryan runs a charity called Watchtree Wheelers which focuses on adapted bikes.
We cycled 6 miles up the road to a cafe for lunch, I had to get off my trike a couple of times to navigate some barriers on the Hadrian’s Cycle Way. The rain had got even harder so at my 35 miles mark I was happy to have a rest and dry off.
We had fish and chips for lunch with a lady called Nikki who was going to join us for a few miles. Ryan’s cousin Mark also turned up to cycle to Kirkbride with us. As luck would have it the rain had stopped by the time we were ready to go.
Hadrian’s Cycle Way stretches the length of the Hadrian’s Wall heritage site – 174 miles from Ravenglass on the West Coast to South Shields on the East Coast. Some of the miles castles were pointed out to me, these were built as fortresses every mile along the wall. I wasn’t too pleased when the Cycleway turned into gravel and we doubled back to find the parallel road and catch up with the others.
We then followed the muddy country lanes back to Kirkbride. Before we started Mark had told us he hadn’t cycled more than 5 miles before and he had just managed 20! Which of course deserved a celebratory drink, Mark needed to drive his car back from the starting point so the rest of us celebrated for him!
When we got back we cleaned my bike and I noticed a broken spoke nipple on my rear wheel. Luckily I am carrying spares and was in capable hands so this was fixed in no time.
Ryan, his wife Alison and their 10 month old little girl have welcomed me into their home for the night and we had a lovely dinner. The rain we can hear outside looks set to remain all day tomorrow!
Tomorrow morning I will pass through Carlisle and cross over into Scotland – my third country in 40 days – which will be such a milestone moment in my trip!