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Cycle Touring for Beginners

Pedalling North Day One, Friday 21st August 2015 – Peterborough to Newark – 55 miles* 

The plan was that I would head off to Newark as soon as I got home from work on the Friday, so the first day of the trip really began with the preparations the night before. Lola was cleaned, lubed (no sniggering, that’s what it’s called when you re–oil, or rather, re-lubricate the chain to keep it running smoothly), I checked her tyre pressures and fitted the bracket for the handlebar touring. With Lola good to go the next step was to get all of my travelling kit tardis like in to the belly of the bag! With everything laid out on the bed this seemed like an impossible task. Ok, so I’d be wearing some of the items, but I also knew there were some items that just wouldn’t fit such as my ordinary shoes, so had allowed myself a small drawstring bag for the overspill.

 Even so I am impressed with what I actually managed to cram in to the 5ltr capacity: 

One pair of skinny jeans 
One short sleeved shirt 
One casual camisole 
Three pairs of pants 
Two bras 
Pj shorts & vest 
Spare cycling shorts and sleeveless jersey  
Shower gel 

Small tub of moisturiser 
Small tub of coconut oil 
Contact lens solution 
Mascara & eyeliner (essential for non-cycling occasions, honest) 
External lithium battery charger for gadgets 
Charging plug and lead for phone 
External battery and charging plug for bike light 



That left the shoes, arm and leg warmers, shower-proof jacket, overshoes third bidon and a bit of food to go in the back pack, or the pockets of the jersey I’d be wearing to cycle in. The rest of my ride snacks were stashed in a small top tube bag for ease of access on the go - Phew! I could now relax and get myself a good night’s sleep 

Now I do enjoy my job, but I couldn’t wait for Friday’s working day to be over so I could get underway and it seems things were going in my favour as a major IT problem affecting all systems meant everyone was able to shuffle off a little early. Seizing this serendipitous opportunity, I bid my colleagues farewell and practically skipped out of the door in my excitement. The extra time allowed me to ensure I really had got my stuff in order and once I was satisfied, I loaded my course up in to the Garmin and I was off! 

As much as I wanted to make good time in getting to my friends’ house in Newark, I also wanted to enjoy the journey; this was after all the start of my first ever cycling adventure in the truest sense of the word! It was a gloriously sunny afternoon with a slight tail wind and thanks to a cycling friend for their assistance on this part of my route planning, I was rolling along beautifully quiet country roads and through quaint little picture box villages. It was a very pleasurable ride with no shortage of stunning views to draw my eye as I passed by. Around about half way, I stopped briefly to check in with a few people on my whereabouts and progress and established it was probably a good idea for me to send them the route I was travelling. I really ought to have done that before I’d set off, but never mind, lesson learned for next time! I’d slightly underestimated just how warm it was and would continue to be as I rode in to the early evening and had only filled one of my bidons with fluids for the ride.  I wasn’t too concerned about this though and stuck to drinking little and often stretching out the contents for as long as possible, vowing to stop at the next pub as soon I had no more than a mouthful left.  

The friendly staff at The Five Bells in Claypole happily refilled my bidon for me, complete with ice when I stopped by looking parched, even if their clientele were mildly amused by my attire.  Freshly hydrated and with not much further to go I pressed on to my destination. Wheeling in to Newark I assessed the road in front of me. Now I’d been warned about the hill that my friends’ house was located at the top of, possibly the last thing I wanted to be doing at the end of a long ride, but I ground my way up it and was rewarded with a very warm welcome from Mr & Mrs A who dutifully fed me up on as much paella as I could manage, and for a small girl, I have a BIG appetite so this was actually quite a lot! Feeling well and truly satiated by the delicious meal my host and I spent the rest of the evening catching up over a glass or two of vino before deciding that it really was time to get some rest for the journey ahead of me the next day. 

It’s safe to say I slept very soundly that night and was very much looking forward to the next part of my 'pedal north!' 

*later discovered to be 63miles after a helpful auto-recalculatiion