I traveled to Northumberland (in the north of England, almost on the Scottish border) for an event at the end of March. The week after the event I took leave to explore a little more of England. This is the sixth (and final) day of the bicycle tour.
The sleep last night wasn’t great. In the evening the other guests prevented me from falling asleep (the doors to the rooms closed so loudly and the walls were so thin that I knew exactly when someone came back into the room). In the morning there was street noise in front of the house and at some point the first guests in my hallway went to breakfast. But between all this I always found sleep, I wasn’t so desperate to look for the ear plugs. The breakfast in the hotel was great and so I went back on my bicycle at 9 a.m. well strengthened.
After leaving the city the route went along bike paths, following bike route 6. First it ran along a filled canal, later along an empty canal and finally for a short stretch along the Trent & Mersey Canal. Then the bicycle path switched to a disused railway line. The entire route had relatively flat asphalt, so I made good progress. There was drizzle again and again, but it was so light tht in between I dried off.
At some point the route on the railway line came to an end and continued along small roads. There was only a dirt road between Shepshed and Loughborough and it wasn’t in a good condition after the rain of the last few weeks and days. And so I and the bike got really muddy again. In the residential area after that I didn’t see anyone pottering in the front yard, otherwise I would have asked for some water to wash off at least the worst of the mud. This is where I had to look at the map for the first (and only time) on the way, otherwise the signage was great. The next 15 km weren’t particularly interesting, just a bike path along big roads.
Only in Leicester did the route become more interesting again when the cycle path turned towards the river. Unfortunately, a drizzle slowly set in. I had a light lunch under the trees, then made my way to the train station to see if there was a way to shorten the route. I was lucky and was able to buy a bike space and ticket. And so I was able to relax and meet up with a friend for lunch.
The train ride was easy. The only thing that I noticed was that the bike (or luggage) must have gained weight. Carrying it up and down the bridges was much more strenuous than on the outward journey. Maybe it was just because I put a lot of energy into my legs but not into my arms over the last week.
After saving 70 km by taking the train, I still had 40 km to go for the last stretch home. It was still dry when I got off the train, but as soon as I left the station area it started to rain. I was expecting one short shower and since it wasn’t too cold I decided against the rain jacket. But the rain was heavier than expected and once that was clear, the rain jacket made no sense anymore because my shirt could hardly absorb any more water. Because of this, and by overtaking the standing rush hour traffic, my mood improved significantly. The route began again on an old railway line. Most of this was paved and fine to drive, but the non-paved portion was again quite muddy. At the end of the route, and when it finally stopped raining, I used some of my water to clear the chain of mud again.
The last bit went along well-known paths. What I remembered as a big climb from previous rides was just a small hill today. The training of the mountains was clearly visible here. When I was at the top, I saw the next rain cloud coming and so, after being half dry in between, I got wet again. I was home a little after 6 p.m.
Since the weather wasn’t particularly good and the landscape wasn’t so different from home, no photos were taken on the last day.
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