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 summary of the bicycle tour. The individual days were:
- from Newcastle into the Cheviot Hills
- from the Cheviot Hills to the North Pennines
- from the North Pennines to the Yorkshire Dales
- from the Yorkshire Dales to the west coast
- touching the South Pennines
- Peak District
- Derby- und Leicester-Shire
When I was planning the trip, I had a few concerns: would it be possible to take my bike on the train; I will have irresolvable technical glitches; what if I can’t find any (cheap) accommodation that day. Even though I knew that this would all be solvable, I always felt a little uneasy when I thought about the trip. But in the end none of these problems came up, as usual my worries were much bigger than reality. The mishap I had to solve along the way was totally unexpected and therefore not part of my worries. In the situation, however, I was able to remain very calm (apart from a few seconds).
What I found beautiful were the many animals along the way. Lots of small birds, wild geese, curlews (they look so funny with the very long beak, it made my smile bigger every time), different birds of prey, different species of crows, rabbits, deer. Cycling is still much faster than hiking, so I probably missed many things along the way. I was surprised that the lambs in the north of England had already been born, also because I felt the weather was still very wintry.
Next time I would do a few things differently. The end of March is still too early for England, it’s just too cold and wet. With nowhere to just sit down, the tour wasn’t as relaxing as it could have been. I would also plan shorter daily routes. 10 years ago I cycled along rivers in Germany and managed 160 km a day. On Sundays I ride 100 km between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and I’m still not physically exhausted after that. With this knowledge I had planned with 140 km a day. But now I’m a bit older and the terrain was much more hilly. Next time I would plan with 100 km a day. Then you don’t have to cycle from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but with more breaks could still be at the accommodation by 6 p.m. And next time I would look a little more for bike paths along disused railway lines.
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