Below you will find the route alongside notes taken from my Strava for 16 days of cycling from Edinburgh in Scotland to Munich in Germany and back. Some basic analysis of my power output may also be found on a separate page. There is also the article published in Arrivée 159 (the magazine for Audax UK members).
The outbound route went down the West side of the UK before cutting across to Dover for a ferry to Dunkirk, then East to Liège, Belgium before travelling South into Germany, following the Rhine briefly before continuing South East to Munich. After heading to the nearby city of Straubing for a research conference, Molecular Polaritonics, the return consisted of a ride North and West out of Germany via Cologne and through The Netherlands to the Hook of Holland for a ferry to Harwich. Three days this time up the East side of the UK to Edinburgh completed the journey.
The entire route is viewable on Google Maps, split into the outbound and return parts. I have also compiled a timelapse showing the sections covered each day in succession (best viewed on a large monitor). Typical distances covered in one day were 200-250km, and I stayed at an airbnb most nights whilst travelling.
Ride NotesBear in mind the following were written in limited time on a mobile phone at the end of each day and remain largely unedited! Occasionally photographs, which were attached to the notes on my Strava, may be referenced. The local time and location were those recorded by my GPS bike computer (Garmin Edge 530) at the start of each ride.
Stage 1 - To Lancaster
04:48 on Friday, 2 September 2022 City of Edinburgh, Scotland
Wow that was a bit tough; don't underestimate how much more difficult even a moderate headwind can make things over this kind of distance. Mild setting out from Edinburgh but descending into mist in Lanarkshire things started to get very cold. Glad I bought a puffy jacket and decent gloves. The sun would eventually come out, but by that point the wind had also picked up. Not very strong, 10-15km/hr maybe, but enough to sap at the mind and the legs as I plugged away to Carilse. Lanes to Penrith were beautiful, albeit a bit of a challenge to enjoy - I swear it felt uphill from Carisle all the way! Turning into the Cumbrian hills couldn't have been more welcome. Shelter from the wind such that I didn't mind that things got a bit spikey. That paired well with a lucozade and fruit stop to give a decent second wind at this point and a rather pleasant run for the last couple of hours into Lancaster. In summary, fantastic weather and route, for cycling in the other direction! Not sure what to think about the coming days. Tomorrow is shorter and should be fine. But Sunday? Don't think about Sunday 😅.
Moving Time 11hr 3min, Distance 285km, Elevation 2665m
Stage 2 - To Crewe and a Wedding
05:21 on Saturday, 3 September 2022 Lancaster, England
When your airbnb host gets up at 4:30 to see you out of town, fixes your bike AND gives you trail mix to go 😂🙌. Couldn't have felt more different starting today, no freezing cold mist for starters. Unspoilt lanes into Cheshire were nice - small ponds and Willow trees - although most of the rest was just A to B type route to make sure I had enough time to feed and change (suit sent ahead in the post) before this afternoon's service. It was pointed out to me that the GPS tracker was only showing the current location, not previous points (thanks Richard) - that should now be fixed. I'll put the link in the comments so it's hopefully clickable on mobile. Follow @pipercycles on Instagram for updates as they happen :).
Moving Time 5hr 47min, Distance 147km, Elevation 847m
Stage 3 - Crewe to Hemel Hempstead
04:58 on Sunday, 4 September 2022 Cheshire East, England
Nostalgic trip though the West Midlands with Staffordshire and Oxfordshire on either side. Some tiredness waking up, but back on the bike quickly settled into things. Spirits high, especially after a seeing Tiago who had driven out with his mum before dawn to catch me 👍. Rain kept off and wind wasn't bad as I feared - it really does make a difference when you have two natural windbreaks on either side of the road. East England take note. Lull around Stratford when the wind got to me, but that was effectively dispelled by some Fox's jam and cream biscuits. Otherwise a good romp, if a slow one! Enjoyed going along some familiar route from UoB days and generally a lot of terrific lanes. Made it into Hempstead on time which is fine as I think another early start is required tomorrow. Found a bit of a grove today, really hope that continues. Would be interested to hear how the Tour of Britain lot got on.
Moving Time 11hr 1min, Distance 268km, Elevation 2500m
Stage 4 - To Dover or disaster!
04:59 on Monday, 5 September 2022 Dacorum, England
Allow me to begin by saying I'm never cycling across London again. Bright lights, noise, not an inch given several feet taken. One positive I introduced myself to a commuter after he'd raced past on the A5. We had a laugh - apparently in two years of taking the route I was the first other cyclist to attempt conversation! A good wheel to follow as he weaved in and out of traffic at high speeds. Seem to have a knack with getting green lights too. Apparently he ran the Facebook building in Leicester square, only I wasn't going there so after parting ways I was back on my own stop starting through the city. Before rush hour doesn't mean no traffic unfortunately. Ridiculous how long the urban sprawl continued. 60kms, 80? I just wanted a place to pee! Fortunately that was provided by a diversion, which attempted to put me on the motorway-like A2. No thanks - I turned around a rerouted (would be doing that a lot this ride). The next issue was that my front derailleur had been becoming increasingly difficult to shift. I'd done some fiddling before setting out, which appeared to have some effect, but I was still minded to try and get to a bike shop for a professional's opinion. Well that began a wild goose chase. Think it was the fourth or fifth I tried that would even take a look. Trevor at Cycles UK in Canterbury, thank you. Internal routing meant not much could be done in limited time but some TF2 spray seemed to loosen up and he'd 'seen worse'. Hopefully that'll do, I don't want to be stuck in the little ring in Belgium! All this was done under the pressure of a ferry departure looming... This or bad luck led to several routing errors, construction sites where a bike path should be, road closures, unsuitable surface etc. At one point I just gave up and started following the signs to Dover. Well that was a dual carriageway and progress was made. Regained my senses and worked out how I could rejoin the route originally plan. It all worked out in the end, on the ferry now just a short ride to the hotel on the other end. Not a physically demanding day maybe, but a damn hectic one. See you in Europe. Oh, and I'm never riding through London again.
Moving Time 7hr 30min, Distance 182km, Elevation 1121m
Stage 5 - Dunkirk to Liege
06:06 on Tuesday, 6 September 2022 Grande-Synthe, France
This was a great day out on the bike albeit a long one so I was a little pushed for time and after reaching the airbnb (contactless check-in) it had already gone 7pm and no time for notes only feed, shower and sleep. Here are a few recollections (I'm currently in Munich on Sunday morning). --- I was keen for my first riding on the continent and set off from the hotel in Dunkirk - which was budget but very convenient and bike friendly (single floor, huge rooms) - and headed East towards the border. There were a few traffic lights, but little hinderence so I found myself in Belgium before sunrise. There was little wind, and what was mostly in my favour or across, which was greatly appreciated after the last three days in the UK. The first 200km was pan flat and spent largely on bike paths - either small lanes on the main road marked by which lines (pictured) or concrete paths entirely separate from the carriageway. This was my first proper experience of continental cycle infrastructure and I was impressed. The concrete type typically were slabs with a small rut every few metres which gave a small jolt, so if I loved here I think I would avoid long sections on those but for one day I was content. The cool morning air gave way to unguarded sunlight and the mid-day heat. I found that a little tough, but kept drinking and making progress without any significant stops until at around 150kms I had run out of water. I elected to stop and ask a local for a refill rather than waste time in a shop, especially since I had so much food from a Aldi raid in Dover the day before (the Aldi hazelnut and strawberry softbakes were working really well - no energy lulls). That was fun, glad I did it once this trip - I managed to communicate water for my bottles and he kindly led me to his kitchen around the back and presented bottled water. I pointed to the tap and insisted that was fine. Maybe that was a mistake; if you're offered bottle water perhaps the stuff from the tap is untrustworthy, but I got away with it today at least! Back into the early afternoon heat and the grove which I had found today. There were now some cross and headwinds I recall so I had my earplugs in to suppress it. I remember stopping at one point before following a diversion off the cycle path. That worked out and gave me am opportunity to pop in an electrolyte tablet to brew and apply another layer of suncream. I was wrong in thinking the heat would peak shortly after midday as it just seemed to keep getting hotter! Soon I needed another water stop, this time at a wonderfully air-conditioned supermarket where I picked up some pears, pepsi and waffles which would turn out to be a huge hit today and tomorrow after I had restocked at Liege. I felt the need to press on, since despite the rate of progress time seem to be passing rather quickly. It was also now steadily uphill to Liege, although really quite pleasant gradients that could be done in the big-ring (I changed down at the front only a handful on times the entire ride). One last stop was made at decathlon. That was impromptu - I had a rear puncture early on (when taking the photo of the yellow arch) which sealed but at a lower pressure. I was convinced I would have to put a tube in, at least at the airbnb, especially after attempts to re-pressurise at the earlier supermarket stop led to more leakage and a return to the same pressure. It would turn out to hold the entire day and in fact the entire way to Munich; due to lack of time in the evening never got replaced at the airbnb! We'll see if it can last the way back too. Finally dropping down into Munich I stopped for too long at the supermarket and located the airbnb. The cobbles were uncomfortable after a day in the saddle. I'd had a blast, but was left feeling a little wiped out and understanding how late finishes could make this trip challenging - the turnaround time to shop, feed, wash and charge would cut into time I felt could be spent sleeping. Fortunately this would never be too serious I always got a good number if hours, but certainly felt the pressure to get sorted and to bed. Next up Germany! Original notes below --- Fab day on the bike. Mostly on bike paths, Belgium was awesome, little time to shop eat wash sleep. Likely will be repairing a puncture on the roadside tomorrow 😅
Moving Time 10hr 51min, Distance 285km, Elevation 1331m
Stage 6 - Up the Rhine without a paddle!
06:01 on Wednesday, 7 September 2022 Liège, Belgium
Long story short: Lost 2 hours after joining the Rhine due to a path closure and re-routing catastrophe. Rest of ride splendid. What a ride of two halves. Setting out from Liege I was certain this was going to be a day to make good progress, finish early, and catch up on sleep. And all signs were good: the early climbing was gentle; the Vennbahn cycle route everything it was billeted to be and into North Germany. Well surfaced, fast roads. I don't normally have much to say about descents, but the one to Roetgen was the longest and best I've ever done. Climbing back up didn't take too long either. Before I knew it I had 150km under my belt, hadn't stopped once yet, and was set for a record finish. After all, the rest was all flat. I joined the Rhine at Remagen and things almost immediately took a turn. Onto the bike path OK but then suddenly it just ended? There was a short tributary my route had gone over but the bridge was still under construction, or reconstruction. I remembered the main road crossed it slightly further in. That would be a detour, but seemed a safe bet, so I back-tracked and went for that. But upon reaching the road the signs said no bikes allowed on that section. Humph. I got out the phone and decided I'd just have to go with what even Google maps suggested. But following that I had to walk across train tracks, and then was led onto private property, which turned out to be a gated dead-end! So I back-tracked again. I eventually found a way, but along a gravel path that quickly became mud. I ran out of water at some point too, so stopped at Aldi to replenish and collect myself. I checked my Garmin. Somehow I'd done all of 8km in the last hour and a half! Worse, that was only 3km from my original route! I was pretty hot and bothered but couldn't do anything other than press on, perhaps a little too aggressively - there's really no point burying yourself to try to make up for lost time, but I hadn't learnt that lesson yet. I thought I was in the clear, but more trouble at Korbenz. And more gravel. Only 30minutes lost this time. The views were nice and some beautiful and varied architecture, so I did take a few photos but felt hurried given the time loss. After that I finally found a decent cycle path along the Rhine, and back to the other half of the ride - fun, progress, cycling! It was exactly what I wanted all along - think Tay Riverside walk in Dundee but a wider, faster surface and it goes on for 10s of kms. I also found company, Marc who was on a training ride after work, zipped past me. I caught the wheel and benefited greatly given a headwind had picked up for the closing sections. After 6 or 7km he let me ride alongside and we had a good chat. Tipped me off about a good path to my final destination, which I found after he turned off, so I could complete the rest without any more hitches. I've just checked tomorrow's route. It's shorter and looks free of any path/gravel business. I'm hopeful it'll be the day I finish early and without route errors!
Moving Time 10hr 53min, Distance 271km, Elevation 1842m
Stage 7 - Across the Rhine to Schwäbisch Hall
06:10 on Thursday, 8 September 2022 Bingen am Rhein, Germany
Pleasant ride through rural Germany and an unbeatable summit finish for the best route yet. This was exactly the ride I needed after yesterday. First substantial rain of the day saw me setting out in my 'wet' kit. That only lasted an hour or so giving way to my kind of morning - warm with cloud cover, not scorching under clear skies. Following well kept roads and equally maintained bike paths I passed through one colourful German village after another. A great snapshot of school routines, bakery queues and farming. Before I knew it I was crossing the Rhine at Heidelberg, which was beautifully laid out along the river and, most importantly, easy to cycle through. From here the riding seemed to keep improving, firstly from town to town, and then back to between villages. More open, even better road surface, less traffic. And the first decent tailwind sections of the tour - glorious! Especially since my legs didn't have much to give after 6 days of it. The final climb up to Mainhardt was the cherry on top, including some of the best roads I've even been on; highly recommend that if anyone is ever in the area. I'd completely forgotten I'd started the day wet (also a puncture which happened somewhere in the first 60km). I rolled into Schwäbisch Hall at around 4:30pm, my earliest finish yet - enough time for a proper cooked meal! Bring on Munich :).
Moving Time 8hr 30min, Distance 218km, Elevation 1485m
Stage 8 - München ist erreicht
06:07 on Friday, 9 September 2022 Schwäbisch Hall, Germany
Another great day of riding through Germany to complete the outbound leg. Body felt pretty tired getting up, but it was just a matter of warming up. And I needed to, because it was a chilly start. First 60km or so being uphill helped, and then the sun. I was soon back onto the roads I'd enjoyed so much yesterday - open, fast surface, traffic free. I'd love to spend a week or two here to figure out some killer loops. An overdue comment on cycle infrastructure. They have it, we don't. Maintained and signposted cycle paths that actually join up places rather than dump you on a trunk road after 800m. Makes you actually want to use them. I think over 100km of this ride was on designated paths. Of that only at one point did the surface deteriorate - about 200m of fine sand (pictured) that saved me going up and down the slipways of a highway. The early climbing was gentle yet rewarding. I saw a house up on a hill off the road, wow that looks high. Next thing I know I'm turning off the road to go up there (pictured)! I was feeling better than I had any right to after 7 days in a row, steady and slow, but importantly still wanting to ride the bike. The kms ticked by, it became flat, nothing like making progress. Eventually time for a stop at a discount supermarket with 160 done, a little over 60 remaining. Apple turnover and lemonade. I'd discovered these cranberry bars the day before, sweet but with added tang, and along with a bag of dried bananas and sweets they'd sustained me so far. Couldn't find any more unfortunately. Onto the afternoon, which I look forward too as you start to get other road cyclists out having taken a early Friday leave from work. I found the first German I'd met who didn't speak English, well I'm not sure what he spoke, but it didn't matter. We did a few turns and then the internationally recognised fist bump before our Garmins sent us different ways. I'd started seeing the 'tree' totem poles you find in the South. Included is a picture of the favourite one I passed today - tiny little houses on each level. All that remained was the ride into Munich suburbs and then 10km through the city itself to finish the job. Hot food tonight, and better, cooked for me by Tjerk Bürger. Looking forward to the rest day!
Moving Time 9hr 13min, Distance 226km, Elevation 1785m
Stage 9 - Transitional stage to Straubing
07:39 on Sunday, 11 September 2022 Bogenhausen, Germany
Munich was the big name destination, but the conference itself is in Straubing, so this morning I set out for a short ride from one to the other. I wasn't sure how the body would respond to a day off (I'd spent most of yesterday snoozing whilst catching up on every single stage of la vuelta 😅), but getting back on the bike felt right - bodes well for the return. Thanks to the hospitality of Tjerk Bürger I had a full complement of bars and electrolytes, so I didn't need to stop at all, bar for a pinch flat a short ways out from Straubing because tubes really are worse than tubeless. A very kind man and his child popped over the street with a 'compressor' i.e. a track pump, much appreciated since after toiling a way with the hand pump for 5mins I go to take off the pump and... whizz there goes the valve core! So no *voluntary* stops. OK, one for social media near the end (@pipercycles). And, what's this, a tailwind? Nice to have one ride this trip with an average above 25kph, even after 1kmph was squandered searching for food in Straubing (supermarkets don't open on Sundays here). But nothing comes for free, and in return I got rain. Rather a lot of it. First and last 20mins of this ride were dry, and I think there were a couple of sunny spells in between, but the rest? A wash-out. Only a shame because I'd spent a hour or two cleaning and lubing the bike yesterday. Other than that, it just made me pedal faster. I'm currently sitting in a hotel room drinking hot cocoa from a bowl, because I forgot to ask for a mug (hotel restaurant closed on Sundays...), and rather enjoying it. Thanks to those who have been following up till now; expect the rides to resume on Thursday when the return journey starts. Until then, 🍫☕👌.
Moving Time 5hr 29min, Distance 161km, Elevation 553m
Stage 10 - Tough long one against the wind and the rain
04:44 on Thursday, 15 September 2022 Straubing, Germany
That was character building! I set off early and in earnest after what looked like a favourable change of forecast overnight. Nope, torrential rain started 20 minutes in. And I mean torrential: full on, belting down, road rivers, can't see 5m. The worst of it only lasted 15 minutes or so, but would unfortunately be a portent for things to come. So too would an early road closure, although an alternate route was successfully implemented in good order, even in the dark and rain. Spirits picked up a bit when the sun rose and the rain let off, and I settled into the first 200km of this ride being flat with a niggling headwind only denting the average speed, not the enjoyment. That being said there were about 4 hours of on and off rain in there, which got a tad annoying. Glad it was still warm, although I'm no closer to answering the age old question. Which is worse - wet or cold? Then came a big diversion. Turned out they'd taken up about 20km of surface along a road I'd planned to travel. Of course, I didn't know that, but after going down adjacent lanes and coming back to the main road a number of times only to find it still unrideable, I realised a more significant route change was needed. That worked, and I think only 30minutes or so was lost in total. The real fun began in the last 50 or 60km. What a drag! Seemed to be incline after incline, and the wind didn't help - brutal going up and then no chance to gain speed on the plateaus. Garmin's estimate of 1400m for the route quickly went out the window. Really had to put my mind to get over the last couple of brows, which at least were rewarding. To put things in perspective, I noticed my average power was only a few % down from the 500km ride I did with Richard back in June. That may or may not sound significant, but that ride was ridden fully fresh, without much rain and left me dead in the water for days. In this case I have to get back in the bike in 10 hours! We'd made it, but at what cost?
Moving Time 12hr 5min, Distance 308km, Elevation 2100m
Stage 11 - Frankfurt bypass to Altenkirchen
05:50 on Friday, 16 September 2022 Wertheim, Germany
I'm really enjoying the variety of cross continental travel. Each day brings new roads, terrain and challenges. Today's starting roads were remarkably busy at 6am, but also all downhill. I welcomed the respite after yesterday's efforts and the simplicity of the first half of this ride, which was pan flat. Good progress was made before the winds picked up and I even caught a wheel for a while on an otherwise very exposed stretch: thank you fellow cyclist and apologies I did not get a chance to say so in-person (I recall being in the middle of scoffing a chocolate croissant provisioned by the previous airbnb when I noticed you had changed lanes to turn off!). The second half brought the climbing, but I was more prepared this time. Tap tap tap, summit, social media stop, feed, fizzy and freewheel to the next one (later climbs took notably more taps). I was getting there very fast, but I was getting there. Apart from a couple of times when the gusts picked up, the wind was largely ignored. Plus it had the benefit that the clouds which seem to be rapidly forming overhead were blown beyond me before breaking. Pleasantly warm when the sun was out, pleasantly cool when it wasn't. The only pain in this ride came near the end as I approached an unavoidable storm. I reached for the trusty gillet in the rear pocket, only to find it wasn't there! Drat. Must have fallen out after restocking at that Edeka. Still, I had a spare in a raincoat, and was glad I bothered to stop to put that and the overshoes on as the final hour was wet and windy. Tomorrow we finish Germany and enter at the last into the Netherlands. Which can only mean it's going to get flatter. And hopefully not windier!
Moving Time 9hr 48min, Distance 237km, Elevation 1819m
Stage 12 - Descent to Cologne and into the Netherlands
06:07 on Saturday, 17 September 2022 Altenkirchen (Westerwald), Germany
On paper an easy day, quite literally downhill. But wind and rain exist! Wet and cold start, 6-7°C compared to 16-17°C setting out from the hotel a couple of days ago. Stopped on the climb out of town to stopped to rummage through my bags for the thick gloves. A 2 minute delay that probably saved me hours of discomfort - it wouldn't be until 10am that the sun was out in sufficient intensity to heat and dry. The day would be marked by quite frequent summer-storm like rainfall, quite violent at times, but usually short. After the main descent to the river came Cologne which, quite frankly, was forgettable. At least I wasn't feeling it. Maybe it was the time of day, or the weather, or my legs, but the bike paths were rubbish; only slightly better condition than the road surface, and the place appeared rather soulless. I could tell I wasn't firing on all cylinders, probably tiredness from yesterday, and these chocolate biscuit things I found in a Netto the day before really weren't working. I stopped for 5 by the side of the road to take off the wet kit (the early showers had stopped), put my head on and start on a grab bag of vegan gummies. That sorted me out and the next sections went by easily, if a little slow with the building headwind. A dodgy diversion and gravel section was also completed without any punctures. On the wide open roads North I was hoping to find a club ride, or another individual to work with, but unfortunately no such luck. Saw plenty going the other way though! Only 80km left on the ticker when I stopped for an apple turnover and sweetie restock. It was excellently well timed with a burst of torrential rain. Then a short detour to a bike shop to purchase cleats - my right one had been all but destroyed from the last two weeks and was starting to pop out whilst riding. Blimey Shimano cleats are expensive in the wild! And not even my favourite colour (blue). I decided it was worth it; having a detaching cleat gets old very quickly. A bit like a couple of days ago, it was the final kms that took the longest. I entered into the Netherlands and the wind hit me in full force. Fantastic roads to cycle though! And to be honest half the time I was more concerned about the unequal distribution of colours in the pack of gummy bears I'd brought at the last stop (why so many yellows and oranges? They're the worst ones!). But that's the kind of thing you need to distract you when the going gets a little tough.
Moving Time 9hr 3min, Distance 219km, Elevation 740m
Stage 13 - Very wet ride across the Netherlands
06:30 on Sunday, 18 September 2022 Land van Cuijk, Netherlands
I think this may well be a new wettest ride, certainly top three. Things got pretty biblical around Rotterdam, and would only persist through to Hook of Holland. The last 10km was almost hilarious. How long did it take. 35, 40 minutes? I saw a couple cycling the other direction having come off a ferry, one with a huge grin. That made me smile. Damn them for having such an outrageous tailwind! I'm currently going between takeaway restaurants trying to warm up with boarding for the overnight ferry still several hours away. How I still enjoyed this ride. Rural Holland was serene on a Sunday morning, not a soul about. The cycle paths certainly didn't disappoint, truly the best so far. Entire roads for cyclists. I expect over 90% of this ride was on dedicated paths, and almost all of that smooth asphalt. Made for the simplest routing yet - after the rural parts it felt like pretty much 130km on a single path to my destination. The amount of diversity by the roadside was brilliant. Productive farm land, sheep, cattle, goats and pigs as well as waterways with ducks, geese and willow trees. Never felt urban, despite the proximity to cities throughout. Funny sight the first city I passed by, not sure if they were going to church or a wedding but men in suits with young boys in smart shorts and parents with bike prams and young ladies in business dresses. All out in the rain! Again, made me smile. Nutrition was on point, and suffice to say I didn't need to stop for water. Feet were soaked and felt cold, but I could feel them! Didn't need to leave the big ring today, although some sections required some aggressive cross chaining. Really no complaints about The Netherlands, I just hope I can return when it's sunny.
Moving Time 6hr 56min, Distance 159km, Elevation 184m
Stage 14 - Dissecting East England
06:51 on Monday, 19 September 2022 Tendring, England
This is it. What all the audax and training was for. A 290km headwind TT through East England. I'm only kidding, but at some point the day before (possibly whilst hiding from the rain and dreaming of hot showers) I'd decided this was going to be a no thrills, head down kind of ride. And remarkably, it was realised: 10hr 52min riding, 9min stopped or a little under 1 minute per hour. I kind of wanted to see how far things could be pushed in this regard, and I think this is pretty close to the limit - unless I brought additional bidons to avoid the water stop and then also drank less to avoid the nature break. I'd had better scenery, roads and terrain but today was all about just riding the bike. Something worked, found the groove, loved it. Tomorrow I can go back to being a tourist 😆.
Moving Time 10hr 53min, Distance 289km, Elevation 921m
Stage 15 - The North and to Newcastle
06:00 on Tuesday, 20 September 2022 North Lincolnshire, England
Fair weather and pleasant cycling into North England. Surprised by how much I'm enjoying the English stint of the return leg. Quite possibly a result of kinder weather - I even saw the sun today - or familiarity, or progress towards Edinburgh. It certainly isn't the road surfaces. Or the traffic. No those are quite worse than the continental equivalents! Busy main roads to Selby at the start were particularly bad. Just glad I got them done before rush hour. Off them and into rural Yorkshire. Enjoyed this, the riding all the way to near Newcastle. Mix of wide lanes and quiet main roads. Undulations, but gentle ones which seemed to always give as much as they took. Would definitely be up for more riding in this area, with the complement of donkeys, horse drawn carriages and breweries as a backdrop. Cool enough not to need a water stop, so I rode all the way to the end (rather, Aldi for shopping) in one go, with a few stops for photos and social media shenanigans. Seemed to have chosen a back entrance into Newcastle. Eh would not recommend it. Dusty broken surfaces, raised curbs and lots of glass. And everything smelt of weed. I'll find a better alternative for next time. Early finish so enough time for a decent meal and recovery ahead of the last leg tomorrow. Edinburgh!
Moving Time 8hr 59min, Distance 233km, Elevation 1323m
Stage 16 - To Edinburgh and the end
05:29 on Wednesday, 21 September 2022 Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Been feeling very comfortable on the bike the past few days, body seems to have settled into the routine and ride pacing and nutrition is all dialled in. Started early to avoid any traffic leaving Newcastle. Chilly again with some mist, kept the padded gillet on for a few hours. Welcomed the sun coming up and the absence of any cloud cover initially. The route was really just a matter of getting on to the A967 and then following that road (and then it's A68 branch) all the way to Edinburgh. Not the most idyllic route, and noisy traffic at first, but you can't deny its simplicity. Gradual gradients in the first half. After the border at Coldstream there were two slightly more significant climbs, but still pleasant and rewarding. I made a joke about repeatedly checking the distance remaining to Edinburgh, but in reality I barely looked at all; rather the kms flew by as I enjoyed the last little bit of what had been a great adventure. Would I do another tour? Certainly - the only question is where!