Monday, 3 September 2012
Home to Orleton - Saturday 1st September
As I write this I am tired. It is 8.15pm and I would like to go to bed to sleep.
The day started easy enough. It was quite odd leaving home just after 8.30am and riding out on the same old roads, but in the knowledge that I wasn’t coming home today, or for the next week. A nice cross tail wind pushed me on over the flat of the levels, and to the Mendips.
I had decided to take the Sustrans cycle route option, so part way up the first rise onto the Mendips I pulled off left onto the disued railway line now a cycle cum walking route the Strawberry Line. In reality it is mostley used for dog walking, and as it was Saturday morming there was a few of those to negitate my way past. After turning off the road there is a light rise up the valley and tehn a short tunnel. I concentrated on the pools of reflected light in the water and watched them closer. There are raised reflectors in the floor, just a single line of them, but you need a torch to light them up. I didn’t, it was dark, I hit them one after another. I couldn’t do that if I tried.
The surface of the path is generally good, no tarmac, but a hard consolidated surface with grit on top. Not at Congresbuey though, where you slide 400 yards on mud and puddles. I meet a family coming the other way here. Father at the front, guiding the young daughter on the bike. Mother behind with the trailer, full of young child. Why do they do that? He should have the trailer. I told her she should have a medal, I heard him ask what I had said, and a triumphant reply as she shouted “I should have a medal!”
After Yatton it was on the road, and I realised quite how heavy and slow the cycle track had been and for the same energy how much faster I was for the same effort. New roads now, and up the Gordano valley. This was odd. I knew the motorway was high up above me, I could hear it, but only quietly. Then it was there, above me, the elevated section on concrete legs, houses tucked close under. Quite surreal.
Onward, crossing the main road by the Gordano motorway services, but I was in control. Pressing that singel button, changing the lights red, and I was safely across, and onto a now redundant section of road and the hill down to Pill. The hill was a great descent, so much so that I missed the turn, and deciding not to go back up I tracked round to the River Avon and was rewarded by my mistake with a view of the Avonmouth bridge carrying the motorway over the river. I was going up there. Through some uninspiring housing estates and onto a path, a quick dodge of a runner and some dog walkers and there I was, going against the flow of the south bound traffic, riding a track which I have only seen I moped rider on. Ambition for the day ticked off.
The sustrans route continues through green areas to the back of housing, the GPS convinced that I was on the road, finally I restarted its tracking and it was back with me, Turning left to go over the motorway for the 5th and 6th time in the day I was on my way to Avonmouth and the industrial joy that I recall from 20+ years ago. The sutrans route through picks its way through, yes there are the back of buidlings and car parks, but the path is wide, and there is a river, only marred by some fly tipping, This was really quite nice. Picking up the road, I stayed on my cycle path and then back through reclaimed land around an incinerator. It was really quite pleasant.
In Severn Beach I was caught up by another cyclist, he was turning back to Bath. The only rider to catch me all day. That said I only caught two others, one who promptly turned off! I saw loads of cyclists going the other way though, mostly men, and loads of runners, mostly women. It seems to be a pattern.
Then it was onto the old Severn Bridge. I stopped half way across: my it bounces, and not just when a car/lorry goes past.
Chepstow, and the second cyclist to be caught climbing up from the river. My does it go up, steep and then seemingly forever. I must say after this it all is something of a blur. The hours ticked by quickly. I don’t get bored on my own, not on new roads. There is too much to do, mind that car, which way next, was that a place to stop to take a picture, how long is this hill, saying hello to cows, sheep, telling dogs to shut up.
Still Leominster came and went and it was 6 miles to go, no more turns on the sat nav, and as I came to the B&B Denise was outside realdy with camera and a sleeping dog. I was pleased it was over. The first half was flat traffic free but heavy going, the second hilly and with cars. Still at least the wind was with me.
Tomorrow is another day, and I am off to bed. Recovery is what I need.