Yesterday morning I went out for what I hoped would be a gorgeous ride. The weather has been absolutely fab in the last few days – nice cool breeze and bright sunshine. Enough sunshine, in fact, to get my new bibbed cycling shorts out, even though the temperatures haven’t really been over 10 degrees. I set off after a lie-in which I then realised had been a big mistake. It was one of those lie-ins that leaves you with a slightly clanging headache because it was a little bit too long. To make matters worse I had just pumped up my tyres to within an inch of their lives. As a result, I felt every tiny little bump reverberate through my skull for most of the ride. Made me feel a little bit sick but I managed to ignore it once I got out into the countryside and started enjoying the views.
I was getting into a rhythm and knew I had time pressures to get back to Newcastle for 1 because I was meant to be meeting a friend. But as I was nearing Dissington Hall (my favourite lunch spot) I found a man clad in the usual amounts of lycra for a serious cyclist, plus a massive backpack with roll mat attached, taking pictures of horses over a wall. It made me chuckle quite a bit as I went past; its not every day you see an equine cyclist. Anyway, I pulled up into Dissington just round the corner and was munching away on my banana when the horse guy pulled in behind me and asked very politely if I knew the way back to the coast to coast route. He was lost. We chatted for a bit while I tried to load the cycling networks app on my iphone but the internet was too slow. I knew he was on a cycling route but it definitely wasn’t the well known coast to coast one. Conscious of the time limit I was under I vaguely pointed him in the direction of Hexham and told him to look for the coast to coast route when he got there. He then set off, and after a few seconds I realised I had been about as helpful as a wonky signpost so I sprinted off to catch up with him.
We had a lovely chat as I cycled with him to point him in the right direction. His name was Marc, he was a travelling cycle-writer for a Spanish magazine and had done loads of interesting rides in the Lakes, Scotland and one whole year cycling round Australia! It was nice to have some company because I’m starting to get bored of going for lots of long rides by myself. The weather helps but nothing beats having a bit of company on the road.
In the end I was very late getting back to Newcastle but it was well worth it!