Monday, 28 April 2014

Things Can Only Get Better

Today's report has been submitted by Ian (RN retired) who describes himself throughout as 'stand-in Captain' but from what I hear, 'fall-over Captain' might be more appropriate! - editor. Rumour has it that he has plans to buy a new bike.

Out of the two weather forecasts, light rain or sunny periods, the one which said light rain won but seven  riders turned up for the ride to the Hub. It was misty and raining but that did not dampen our spirits.

The seven of us set off in search of the Hub knowing that  our reward would be a bacon butty and a nice cup  of coffee.

The route was to take us down the coast to the Hub, through  the Fish Quay and up Borough Bank. There, as the stand in captain, I have to report an incident. One of the members decided that staying rubber side down was far too conventional and came to a halt and failed to remove their feet from both clips and thought lying on their side in a puddle of water was better than being upright.

This not being the first time this type incident has happened, the individual  managed to tuck in and no damage to bike or person was reported. After a short rest, onward to the Hub. One member needed to peel off at the Royal Quays so the rest of us pushed on to the Hub where we arrived wet but eager and in need of refreshment. Coffee and a bacon butty hit the spot, there was coverage of a cycle race being shown on some Internet channel, I have to  say the weather looked better there (where ever that was) than here.

Everyone now refreshed and ready to put our wet clothes back on and head for home, one member had a slow puncture in their back tyre which they put some air in to allow them to make it home. The group made it to Swan Hunters on the return leg when a member stopped again to put air into their rear tyre. At this point another member of the group pointed out that the front tyre was also flat. What were we to do? One machine down and both tyres with punctures. With the assistance of other members of the group the bike was turned upside down and the repair was attacked with gusto worthy of a formula one team during a pit stop.

(Stand in Captain's note : I have to offer mention in despatches to the two members of the team who formed the pit crew along with the member to facilitate the repair as it was the stand in Captain's steed which was in the pit).

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Cheaper By The Dozen

Twelve cyclists turned up on a sunny but blustery Sunday morning for the seventh consecutive training ride. The route took the group along Beresford Road, up the Avenue and along the old railway line towards Holywell Dene.

The short ride along to Monkseaton Drive was followed by the now familiar journey through Wellfield, Earsdon and Shiremoor before joining the Reivers Route to head southwards to the Royal Quays and Coble Dene. The Spanish Battery was the next objective but the climb up from the river had to be conquered first.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Go West

Six Backpedalers turned out on Friday morning and were rewarded with bright, clear, but slightly chilly conditions.
The group set off along the old railway line towards Monkseaton Drive then rode through South Wellfield and Shiremoor before joining the Reivers Route at Backworth. Once through Backworth the route travels along a section of the Killingworth Waggonway and then on to the Burradon Waggonway which eventually leads to Weetslade Country Park.

The Country Park is on the site of what was Weetslade Colliery and one of its features is a hill which had previously been the Weetslade Colliery spoil heap.
Leaving the country park and following the Reivers Route, the next section passes by Wideopen and Seaton Burn before heading due west towards Ponteland. An interesting feature of the journey is the road which passes through Prestwick Carr. Subsidence has turned the mile long road into a test of the bike's suspension and the rider's saddle.
Once completed, it is a short trip into Ponteland and Jan's Kitchen.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Bedlington and Back

Heavy rain came and went overnight so the day dawned fair for Seaton Sluice Backpedalers sixth consecutive Sunday training ride. A record turn out was expected and twelve riders made up the group which headed north from the Delaval Arms. A slight change in the usual route was required to avoid becoming entangled with the participants in Blyth Running Club's 10K event so the path alongside the road was preferred to the track through the dunes on the way to South Beach. From there it was on to Morpeth Road and the path alongside the River Blyth towards Bedlington.

The ride had been advertised as an opportunity to visit a new cafe. That was true but wasn't mentioned was it was also an opportunity to visit a new hill. Starting at Furnace Bridge a path leading through the Free Wood to Bedlington main street rises 115 feet over a distance of 1 mile, a gradient of 3%. In simple terms, it's a tough climb and it's a relief to reach the top.

A short ride into Bedlington took the group to our new found coffee stop.
 Our new venue had an unexpected bonus - a bacon sandwich comes with a free coffee. Coffee and a bacon sandwich for the bargain price of £2.20.