It seemed like a good idea to plan a 60 mile round trip taking in some of the more demanding sections of the Reivers Route on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year so far - and to some people's surprise, that's exactly how it turned out.
Thirteen Backpedalers turned up for the twelfth training ride and set off towards Backworth and Killingworth to join the Reivers Route heading towards Ponteland. The now obligatory visit to the summit in Weetslade Country Park was included in the itinerary.
The route to Ponteland was familiar to most of the riders but beyond that was unknown territory. It passes through Darras Hall along the line of an old railway which ran to Belsay Colliery and then emerges on the west side of Ponteland. A short (but interesting) section then leads to a country lane which heads towards Stamfordham.
It was here that the group arrived at what turned out to be the highlight of the day - a new coffee stop.
Raggy Heirlooms is right next to the Reivers Route and caters for cyclists in need of a coffee and bacon sandwich.
From here the route follows country roads through Dissington and Meldon (roads which had more ruts and potholes than the roughest section of Reivers) and then arrives at Heddon-on-the-Wall. An exciting steep descent took the group down to Route 72 midway between Wylam and Newburn. From there it was eastwards (via the Cycle Hub of course) to the Royal Quays then back on to Reivers to rejoin the outward route back to the Delaval Arms.
No Backpedalers training ride could be complete without someone failing to keep the rubber side down. The day's nomination for the Wall of Shame was a spectacular effort which took place in Percy Main when one rider attempted to ride through a hedge and came off second best. The resultant triple salco with pike was impressive and blood was shed which always gains extra points.
Sixty miles completed and things are looking good for the weekend.