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Friday, 24 October 2008

Journey to the Far East 17 - 20 Oct 2008

On the Friday I left Heanor just before 8 and set out for Norwich. The first part of my journey took me through Nottingham and all the rush hour traffic, which was not very pleasant. The other side of Nottingham, there were pavements alongside the A52 to ride on (part of Route 15) but these ran out after Bottesford, and I took my chances on the main road. From Grantham to Bourne and Market Deeping, the route consisted of quieter, undulating roads; much nicer to travel over. Finally for this day, my route took me across the Fens to Wisbech: very flat. The wind had been behind me all day and the weather was dry and sunny. 88 miles. That evening I dined in the Wisbech Weatherspoons, the Wheatsheaf, where I had sausages and mash, and three pints. Noisy, cheap and cheerful! My B & B was only £22.50, where I slept well and had a good breakfast the next morning. The first pic is of Wisbech church, actually taken the next morning.

On the Saturday I left Wisbech soon after 8 and passed along busy but flat roads to Outwell, (apparently an earlier tramway through this village was the inspiration for some of the Rev Awdry’s ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ stories) and Downham Market where things got quieter again. This little town has a charming black and white clock-tower in its center (pic). On the entry to the town I crossed the River great Ouse (pic) which I am sure was flowing upstream! I do hope that it is tidal at this point; otherwise I have no explanation. Over the next few miles, I had to climb a little and I found it necessary to stop frequently to check the map. I had a cup of tea and a pleasant chat with some of the employees at a pub in Oxborough. I stuck my head inside the grounds of Oxburgh Hall to take a photo, then made made my way to the main B-road which goes to Watton and Norwich. This was another flattish road, except over the last few miles before Norwich, some of which were rather hilly. Then through the city center (pic of cathedral in the not-so-very-perpendicular style!) and to my brother’s house. 63 miles.

I stayed in Norwich until Monday and that afternoon I cycled to the railway station. After a dry day up to that point, the skies opened and I got drenched. The train left on time but continually lost time on its way to Nottingham, so that we arrived there 20 minutes late and I missed my connexion to Langley Mill. I cycled home in the dark and cold.


Trexrider said...

Many thanks for this article, It gives hope and inspiration to those of us who, for whatever reason, cannot do it or ride it. I enjoyed the read.

Ash said...

Inspired by this and other blog entries describing long distance rides, I have decided to set myself a target of trying to do one myself.
My aim is Derby to Reading via Oxford and I have seen that there is a Sustrans map giving at least the Derby to Oxford stretch. But is this practical with an ordinary hybrid bike or does one need one of these drop handled Chris Hoy racing machines? Also, how about an entry on *Tips for the long distance cyclist * Essential kit etc

Clyde said...

Ash, a hybrid bike with road tyres and mudguards is fine. The 'traffic-free' stretches of Sustrans routes are usually well-surfaced, even if they not always tarmacked. The muddiest bit of the NCN that I have come across recently was on the route you want to do (Route 5) near Banbury. That wasn't too clever but it didn't last very long, and it certainly wouldn't have been worth changing tyres for!