Updated: Aug 22, 2021
I'm going to call today a transition day. It was another highly enjoyable mix of solo and duo riding starting in Northampton and finishing in Cambridge. It was also a mix of new friends and family. I started my day having breakfast with Rachel and finished it with dinner with my younger daughter Caroline and her boyfriend Harry. In between I had a very pleasant couple of hours riding with Roger, another subscriber to my video channel.
My reward at start and finish of the day
One of the things that has struck me most in this first week has been the huge differences in the cycling infrastructure around the UK. I started this morning just south of the town of Northampton on segregated and well signed roads. These soon gave way to quiet country roads but earlier this week I had to make my way across Nottingham where cycling infrastructure is almost completely restricted to coloured paint. It's something I've mentioned before, but I think there is a dilemma for cyclists here. If we don't use the infrastructure provided, no matter how crappy, we are accused of wasting money or taking up road space and leaving empty cycle lanes. On the other hand some of those cycling lanes are so terrible no one would want to ride them. Personally I make a point of using them whenever they are present on trips like this because I don’t care so much about speed. But I can equally understand others not bothering when the cycle route consists of nothing more than a shared pedestrian path. After 30km of solo riding I met with Roger at a lakeside cafe in Harrold. He turned out to be a quietly spoken highly modest man who had to be coaxed into sharing his cycling exploits. He told me he'd been on holiday this week cycling in the Peak District and that we had missed each other by minutes in one location. Then he casually revealed he had ridden to the Peak district to start his holiday. He had set himself the ambition of riding 500 miles this week as it is his 60th birthday tomorrow. So in fact he had already ridden further than me and supporting me was just a bonus. Like others on this trip, they are achieving more than me but have not chosen to shout about it on YouTube. We spent a couple of hours together riding and chatting, eventually parting company near Wimploe Hall, a huge country estate now owned by the National Trust. We were able to ride through the grounds together which gave us a spectacular view of the house. Once I was solo again I made quick work of the final 18km to Cambridge. Now this is a city that has built a lot of cycling infrastructure and you can ride traffic free almost the whole way into the centre from any direction. Not coincidentally, the lanes were busy in every direction at 2pm on a Friday afternoon. If you build it, they will come. The reward for today's effort was meeting up with my younger daughter. I'm hoping to persuade her over dinner to ride with me for a bit tomorrow.