Cycle Day One

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today was it!  Starting out on our cycling adventure.  Brian felt like Bilbo Baggins setting out into the great unknown.  This moving into places never seen or experienced without anyone to guide is a great feeling!

Setting out this morning took a lot longer than anticipated.  There was still a lot of tuning up on the bikes to be done - especially the tires and the brakes.  Packing up the bags was another chore.  Things had ‘expanded’ since out last attempt.  It had also contained several statements of:  ‘we still have _____, but it’s fit!”.  Well, it did fit, but with some convincing. 

First gear malfunction and we haven’t even gone anywhere!  When putting the first pannier onto the bike one of the main supports which hold the bag to the base of the rack snapped!  Already…I couldn’t believe it!  Hoping that this is just a manufacturing default and not a glimpse into what’s to come.  Fortunately for us Jim was there to rig up a creative solution using some rope he had (Jim’s known as a bit of a pack rat :) ). 

So then we were off!  Starting the bike was quite difficult with the weight and I found I was very wobbly (not good considering the traffic).  Eventually I found a rhythm that seemed to work.  Biking on the opposite side of the road was not as bad as I had though.  Right hand turns are a bit scary, and sometimes when I see cars coming I thing that they’re heading in my lane , but overall OK.  The drivers are courteous for the most part.  After driving with Jim for a few days we’ve seen that drivers have no qualms about driving out into oncoming traffic to get around.  Most of the time it’s due to the narrow streets and crazy parking situation.  Certainly a bike does not take up nearly as much room as a parked car, so everyone goes around easily.  If there is no space, they just slow down until they can overtake us. 

We managed to find our way out of town without too many wrong turns and frustrated outburst at one another J.  Heading out of Glossop there was one long drawn out hill.  This was to be a perfect precursor to the rest of the day…

The route we decided to take was to the PEAK DISTRICT National Park in Derbyshire.  I didn’t think it would be too bad.  I mean, what kind of ‘peaks’ could there possibly be in England?  Coming from the Canadian Rockies it takes a lot to impress when it comes to ‘peaks’ (mind you, I’ve never biked them before…)

So for a satisfying first day we cycled to the Peak District.  To get there, we first needed to cycle up SNAKE PASS: a snaky, windy road which has a continuous incline for about 4km - argh!  I guess we won’t be ’breaking it in slowly’.  Many rests and walk breaks finally made it to the top where the Penine Way crosses the road.  It’s hard to believe that we managed this each towing around 50lbs of gear on our bikes and no prior training.  Mind you, we are going to hurt in the morning!  Coming down was great and I could finally enjoy the scenery - about 16km of coasting in all and topping out around 50km/hr.  This helped make up for the incredible time it took for us to go up (3 hrs including breaks to go 4km = 1.25km/hr - hahaha!  We are both looking forward to bed and a day of exploring (and butt healing) tomorrow.  Total cycle km:  52.5km.  Despite the pathetic pushing of bikes and complaining, we’re still pleased with ourselves for a first day.  Found a sweet little campground in a farmers field next to some sheep to bleat us to sleep…

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aminaspin on

Well Done!!!
Was wondering how you would do on your first cycle day, and have to admit was a little worried about the two of you cycling up the long winding hilly roads to the Peak District. We're following you and every day Jim and I ask each other 'wonder how the children are doing, and where they are now'. You have to laugh, you have been renamed 'the children' sorry! lol
Glad everything is going well. xxxxx Jim & Anne-Marie

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