The weekend had finally arrived.
The final riders (for all 3 days) would be John Bell, Jed Woodhouse, Carl Rutter, Ian Hall and myself and we will be joined for all of day 2 by Ian Poppleton and Richard Nutt – the last 2 would be arriving by train and leaving after our departure and therefore finishing after we finished day 1.
I’d arranged an 8 o’clock rendezvous in Tescos car park in Whitehaven (which hadn’t gone down well with Mr Bell). I got dropped off by Mrs B where we met up with Simon who had been a late withdrawal to our trip but wanted to come and see us off and snigger at the pending weather forecast. It was the day of the Whitehaven festival so things were busy as we arrived and there seemed to be loads of cyclists, in amongst them turned out to be 50 ladies from the Penrith/Carlisle area who were doing the ride for https://www.facebook.com/HospiceatHomeCarlisleandNorthLakeland – please like their page on Facebook.
One of the guys who was also doing the ride asked if he could have a go on the Chopper which I said was OK. He cycled 10 metres in the car park and shouted back “it’s got no brakes”, my reply was “it has 1974 brakes mate” 🙂 I must say the (lack of efficient) brakes and the descents were something which were causing me some concern which did come to the fore on day 2 😦
By 8-30 the rest of our squad had joined us and soon we were heading for the obligatory photos as we ‘dipped our wheels’.
And off we set (8-50) through some of the backstreets of Whitehaven and we were soon on the steady climb up toward Cleator Moor on the old railway track. At the end we popped out onto one of the very quiet (except for cyclists) country roads and headed along towards Lamplugh, before skirting Loweswater. All the time passing or being passed by the hospice girls and other groups of C2C’ers. The forecast had been for heavy rain showers but by the end of today we would count ourselves lucky.
Our next landmark would be Lorton which is the start of Whinlatter Pass – the main climb on day one. I started off well climbing in my lowest possible gear (which isn’t low enough). The first part of the climb is the worst and I’d managed most of it until disaster struck 😦 I suddenly lost all drive and on further inspection the weld of the lowest gear had given way so I was suddenly down to 6 harder gears. But I wasn’t going to let it stop me and it soon became known as the wind chime as it pinged off the spokes on every rotation.
Cresting Whinlatter it was then down a very fast road descent down into Braithwaite
then Portinscale until we stopped for lunch at the Lakeland Peddlar in Keswick.
Then the rain really started but at least we were warm and dry inside. Lunch consumed we were soon on our way up the track towards Threlkeld which was in a right state muddy but with large exposed stone, not ideal for a Chopper. Thru Threlkeld and Jed and I didn’t do the detour to Mungrisdale but he boys did. We headed on to arrive in Greystoke which is a quaint little village with an unusual cafe: http://www.greystokecyclecafe.co.uk/workshops.htm so in we popped for ‘Aga latte’ – very nice.
Another group of cyclists came in and they were looking for shortcuts !!! Then it was the final push to Penrith where we came to our stay for the night and what a very pleasant surprise http://wayfarershostel.com/ – it’s only been open for 4 months and everything is right 🙂 Met by Simon who let is hose our bikes down (which was needed) then showed us to the basement which was the bike store and drying room with fully fitted bike workshops – great!!!
Upstairs I agreed to share a room with with the 2 late starters who wouldn’t arrive until we’d gone out for food at the recommended Agricultural Hotel – very good food and a few alcoholic beverages before we then went off to a couple of more watering holes and then retiring for the night.
A successful / pleasant day all round 🙂
The route/stats for day 1 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/333103527