Thursday, 18 September 2014

First Few Days (Testing, Testing)

Location: Clippesby, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR29, UK
Our first multi-day adventure with all of our kit; figuring out what works, what doesn’t and if we like this kind of thing.

So on Sunday we set out from Sheffield, on the train, across to Lincoln.  We decided to hop on the train because we would have been just covering the same ground as the micro trip in July.  It’s always quite nerve racking using trains around Sheffield because on so many of the lines they only really allow two bikes, which means that if anybody else had decided to take a trip on their bike at the time to Lincoln, or any stop on the way, then our holiday would be off to a bad start.  Fortunately, the line started at Sheffield and we were the only folks with bikes so we headed east.

Once we arrived, we disembarked, got fully laden and had a bit of a fight with the tiny lifts at the station which only just fit one bike and rider at a time, but with the loaded bikes probably weighing in at over 30kg carrying them up the stairs and back down was not really an option.  Making our way out the station we headed to our first campsite in Fishtoft, just outside of Boston.  We found ourselves on some very picturesque back roads with no traffic so we could cycle side-by-side and just talk away the miles.  The roads were good quality and almost spirit level flat and we made pretty easy work of the 30+ miles to the campsite; all in all a great start to the first day.  We even managed to get the paraffin stove to roar away, I feel it wasn’t amazing and it took a long time to actually heat water but Sophie is determined and adamant that in Central and Southern America that we will be able to find plenty of fuel for it and any gas powered alternatives won’t be viable.

The night brought heavy rain and restless sleep, while the morning was spent battling with a wet, soggy tent and preparing for the day.  The Monday was the first time we’ve woke up in the tent, cycled, then set up camp again.  It was a full 60 mile day and I wasn’t sure how shattered we’d be after a full day cycling on heavy, very heavy bikes.  The cycling started off fairly dull; just mile after mile of main road with Monday morning traffic and rain just beating down as we just ground it out towards Kings Lynn.  After refuelling and buying some food for the next couple of meals we planned the route to Deepdale Backpackers, and pretty much by chance found a CTC route (Route 1) than followed a similar route to what we were planning, but with the added advantage of passing through Sandringham.  We joined the route and from the get go I was complaining about why I hate this kind of marked out route.  It takes you all the way round the houses to get to the same places.  It covers more miles but hinders any proper speed by making you cross roads or navigate tight turns and gates.  But then, it pointed us back onto the road, turned us right up a country lane and we yet again were cycling next to each other without the issue of cars.  Cycling this way is such a nice way to travel.  You get to see more because there are the two of you looking around and spotting things (like the crazy amount of dead frogs on the roads in Sandringham grounds), you have company to chat too and the miles just disappear and everything just seems easier especially now that the sun was shining.

Wednesday morning we set off in dreary mist along what we thought was the coast road towards Cromer and round to Great Yarmouth.   I say ‘thought was the coast road’ because we only managed the odd fleeting glimpse of the sea and despite being a fairly small road it was busy with traffic and presented us with rather undulating terrain.  Whenever we have talked to people about our holiday they have always commented about the flatness of Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.  Maybe it’s the routes we are choosing but the roads are not that flat.  Don’t get me wrong; Sheffield is a very hilly place and I love a good climb, and the hills over the last few days have not been a scratch on the Peak District.  But it interesting how people often comment on the gradient of an area, but only have experience of it by car, where unless a hill is something major it presents no obstacle or even real feature to a driver, but the even slightest incline on a loaded touring bike is noticeable to the rider, and those comments about how flat and easy it will be echo in my ear as I’m spinning away up the hills.  So after a hilly morning of seeing next to no coast line in the rain we have some warming noodles in a car park in Cromer.   The final leg before our rest day was a fast (flat) 30miles to Clippersby Hall in glorious sunshine.

All in all the first days have been a major success.  The heavy bikes have been difficult at times but we’ve managed to get them where we need them to be.  The camping has been a little uncomfortable but I’m sure our bodies will adapt to it.  We have about week of cycling still to do but so far all’s well.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Mrs P, we are looking at getting a photos section for the blog so that people can enjoy more of the photographs that we take.