Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The Easternmost Point!
Well, ten days in and as you can see I - or at least my shadow - have made it to the easternmost point of the British mainland. Hurrah for things like that. So... here's how the last few days panned out.
Day 8's ride started at the Town Hall in High Wycombe, where Lloydy Junior and I were joined by Human Sat Nav, Chris:
His polka-dot 'King of the Hills' jersey should have been a warning that this wasn't going to be the easiest of rides... but the fact that Chris has a robo-bike with his own home-made sat-nav holder bolted to the front of it...
... meant that at least the mileage was lower than I was expecting. When I first looked at it the route from High Wycombe to Cambridge came in at 88 miles... one of the longest on the whole trip. But Chris had programmed his sat nav well and had plotted a route that came in at around 70 miles. Here's the way we went...
And here's how uppity-downity it was... you can see where we hit the fens:
I'm not sure where Chris or LLJnr disappeared to here...
This is what they looked like:
Here's Chris and I just before we crossed into the city of Cambridge:
And here we are with LLJnr at the day's finishing line, the Corn Exchange:
I was back there at the start of Day 9 to meet my next Human Sat Nav, Emma:
Her excellent navigating meant we went from Cambridge to Ipswich without having to deal with the horrible main roads:
As you'd expect in that part of the world there wasn't much uppity-downity in this 60 mile ride:
And here we are at the end of the ride, outside the Regent Theatre:
I had arranged a Human Sat Nav for Day 10 but while they replied to some e-mails a while ago, they haven't replied to any of my recent text messages or voice-mails... so I was getting worried that I was going to have to make the ride from Ipswich to Lowestoft alone. This was particularly worrying as my actual sat nav has been going haywire... for example, here's what it thinks I did in the middle of the ride to Cambridge:
You can see why I didn't want to trust the machine to guide me and I definitely didn't want to trust myself because I knew I'd only end up taking the A12 and that would be horrible. Luckily for me the theatre was full so I had 1300 people in front of me and I figured there had to be at least one cyclist with the right local knowledge in amongst them.
There was. His name's Dave. Here he is outside the Regent at the start of Day 10:
If I look happy, it's partly because I was relieved to have found someone as capable as Dave but also because I'd had a very good breakfast. This is why I like B&Bs and guesthouses more than hotels. You don't get a bowl of fruit like this - with figs picked from the garden - at many hotels do you?
We took a great route through the Suffolk countryside:
And I think the relatively flat landscape, a nice tailwind and some improvement in my fitness meant we averaged around 15.5mph for the 50 mile ride:
I've been getting a few messages from people on Twitter asking me what time I'm going to arrive at places and what route I'm taking and so on. The answer is always that I don't know. I'm letting my Human Sat Navs choose the routes and I really can't predict how long any given ride is going to take - especially when I don't know where we're going. But Gemma here saw that I'd mentioned we were leaving Ipswich at around 10.30 and took a good guess as to when we'd arrive at the easternmost point - Lowestoft Ness - so Dave and I actually had a welcoming party to greet us:
It also means there was someone there who was happy to take on the role of official photographer... so big thanks to Gemma for taking this picture of Dave and I at the finishing line:
So there we have it... the first coast to coast is complete... I've gone from Lizard Point:
to Lowestoft Ness...
... and now I start the long haul up to Ardnamurchan...
... and then Dunnet Head...
I'm looking forward to it...