62 miles on a 9 speed Raleigh Chopper

This week I had the new 25 tooth rear sprocket welded on so now I have 9 speeds but unfortunately no time for a shakedown ride.
Forecast was great for Saturday and Sunday but taking a dip on the Monday. Guess which day was the only one I could get out 😦 but ride, I did!!! And was accompanied by Tony Stephenson.
Early start and off we set, headed for Parkhead Cafe at top of Waskerly Way on C2C route. Up through Dunston and heading towards Swalwell when, guess what? ANOTHER puncture. Tony persuaded me to repair it as I had considered going back for my tourer.

Chopper puncture

Chopper puncture

Fix it I did and we were in our way, dropping down to start of derwent walk at Blaydon rugby club. Soon we were passing loads of cyclists coming towards us on their final day of their C2C’s full of vigour as they knew it would be the last day for them and it’s all downhill which meant it was all uphill for us. Soon we were passing the9 arch bridge and popped out in the village of Rowlands Gill where the track starts to get more rural (with fewer dog walkers – yaaay) .
Not far up the track a deer emerged onto the track, looked at us and turned to run up the track away from us, not panicking – it was god to see. I said to tony, pity we didn’t have a camera and as he went for his phone it darted off to the right, never to be sen again.
What happened shortly afterwards was a whole lot more serious. We were making our way up the track, Tony following behind and 2 cyclists, 2 abreast were cycling towards us, talking as they did. I had an uneasy feeling they weren’t watching where they were going so I edged closer and closer to the left of the track until I had nowhere left to go. The cyclist on my side, saw me at the last minute, panicked, steered left, locked the brakes and came off leaving me no option but to cycle straight over their back wheel. We stopped to assess the damage saying to one of them, I thought HE was going to look forward and see me only to realise mid sentence they were both girls. They were doing the C2C, SHE apologised saying it was all her fault (which it was) but as tony checked her bike, her friend gave her water to clean up the gravel rash she had sustained on her hand (and she wasn’t wearing gloves) I quickly checked my bike and luckily it was unscathed. I hope she finished her ride and also learned a lesson that you should look where you are cycling.
Off we went again and just before we go on the Waskerly way a group of riders doing their c2c stopped me to ask about the bike, so I chatted a while….

Cyclists admiring my Chopper

Cyclists admiring my Chopper

I kept telling Tony that we would be exposed to the winds once on the moors and sure enough we were, it was at least double what we’d encountered so far with a strong cross/headwind making progress slow. Eventually we made it to the cafe but conditions were such that we ended up inside as it was too cold to sit out. Everyone else had the same idea and seats were at a premium.
2 coffees and a pot of tea was the fuel I needed for the return journey which was going to be much easier. We did have quite a few cyclists coming inside commenting on the chopper parked outside. I think they question my sanity but they can’t deny my training determination!
Off we went, it was drizzling and with a tailwind this was going to be a case of holding on while the small front wheel jumped all over the loose gravel as we hurtled down. Down and down we went until we came back down to Blaydon where I suggested to Tony we head up the Tyne to Newburn just to add extra mileage, as per normal Tony was game.

Derwenthaugh Lake

Derwenthaugh Lake

Raligh Chopper and Tyne Bridges

Raligh Chopper and Tyne Bridges

Up to Newburn, cross the river then back down on north side to loop back over the Millennium bridge and home.

I won’t pretend my legs weren’t tired – my left knee in particular gave me gip for dys

The 9 speed worked a treat.
Total mileage 61.87 miles – you’ll have to take my word for it as the gps battery ran out !

I have now setup my sponsorship page at http://www.justgiving.com/c2conachopper – please spare some change – thank you

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About barneybear69

'middle aged' cyclist from North East aiming to do the LEJOG in August 2011
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