Friday 18th May
I was a little apprehensive when I went to bed last night and I had questions whizzing around my head; would my legs be ok after such a long rest? Am I mentally strong enough to continue? Have I healed enough to start again?
I had packed everything and set my clothes out on the bed so I was up and out of my room within 15 minutes of waking up. I had breakfast in the hotel and loaded everything on my trike and was on my way. I wound my way through the streets to the river where the Millennium Bridge crosses and I was on top of the world. The sun was shining and I felt so comfortable, I had missed cycling more than I had realised! I had tears running down my face – happy tears, after only cycling 2 miles all the doubts disappeared and I knew that I could do this!
It’s very fitting that this is the first stretch that Danny and I cycled on our first ever cycle tour from Newcastle to Edinburgh. So I knew to be patient with the first 8 miles of cycle paths and as I navigated the barriers and bollards I remembered having to get off the tandem for the majority of them!
I reached the pedestrian tunnel that goes underneath the River Tyne to find that it was closed. Oh no, what a pain especially when I had the opportunity to cross the river closer to Newcastle. I thought I had to figure out the ferry closer to the river mouth or cycle back towards Newcastle until I was highlighted to the fact that there was a shuttle bus service across the road bridge, I waited about half an hour and sure enough it turned up.
The bus had a trailer for bikes and at first the driver was very reluctant to entertain the idea of strapping my trike to it. I convinced him it would be fine, took my luggage off and we both strapped it to the trailer. I made it safely to the other side! It’s lucky I didn’t have a set distance to do as it took over an hour just to cross the river!
I followed the route round South Shields and finally hit the coast again! I have missed the sight of the sea! My route stuck very close to the sea for the rest of the day, I cycled through Sunderland and stopped for lunch in Seaton.
Just as I ordered I received a text from a local Breeze cyclist and it turned out that they were in a cafe a couple of doors down. Jacki and Audrey came and joined me for a cup of tea and we spent ages chatting. I let them both do a little circle on my trike and we had a photo in front of Tommy, a statue of a First World War Soldier.
They both headed north to recce a ride and I continued on my way. Meeting Jacki and Audrey, who have been following my journey, made me feel really special, I really am back on the road and getting back into the rhythm.
I cycled along the Durham stretch of coastline and through Hartlepool. I decided to stop in Seaton Carew for the night having only cycled 45 miles. It’s beautiful sandy beach, numerous fish and chips shops and ice cream shops were hard to pass by. I had a lot more in my legs when I finished but I must have been tired because when I found some accommodation in a local pub I fell asleep for an hour!
To celebrate being back alongside the seaside I had fish (Lemon Sole) and chips for dinner!
Tomorrow morning I’ve got the transporter bridge to look forward to in Middlesbrough. I plan to finish tomorrow evening in Robin Hoods bay at a campsite, I am thoroughly looking forward to another day on my trike! I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I am doing, cycling gives me an incredible sense of independence and freedom! I am so lucky!