This weekend all began on a car trip where somebody suggested inviting Hippy to come on the weekend on a longbarrow – just for fun. It was also made quite clear that there were to be least 3 pub stops over the course of the weekend and a decent overnight stop. I think it was the beer offer that clinched it.
Jane had plans to do the more gentle TA run to the viper for lunch on the Saturday with Els.They both jumped in at the deep end and went for the longer option.
The event started from Roydon Mill about 7 miles north of me so we had a brief ride to the start so that Hippy could master the gears and learn handling of the mount. The exact opposite of his road bike in many ways.
So with two stokers who had never ridden either a tandem or a trike before we set off into the rain. It should be noted that my crew only had one good leg, Hippy had been doing some insane Gym work and had delicate hamstrings and I had had a close encounter with a city pedestrian who thinks red means go which left me with a severely bruised right side.
En-route we found a disabled tandem by the roadside. ‘Do you have a spare tyre’ the lad asks.
‘Of course’ I say
Looks of disbelief.
‘Well do you want it or not ?’
Lad is overjoyed as it’s a long walk to lunch from there.
We made good progress and the gloom lifted as we passed through the Wimpole estate to the pub In Arrington for lunch.Stew and dumplings followed by Jam Roly poly and custard gave the stop a decidedly suet theme.The beer wasn’t bad either.
A series of songs completed the repast and the race was on to get as close to Bedford and our hotel as soon as possible before dark.
On a long descent the front tyre blows like a pistol shot
The Peleton look around to see who is in trouble – longbarrow just carries on until it slows.
No noticeable change in handling.
Hippy is impressed that we stay upright – one of the advantages of the extra wheel.
A two inch split in the sidewall – totally trashed.
The lad with my tyre comes by – feeling guilty. He is such a skinny chap I tell him to carry on as the support van is on its way with a spare tyre.
We regroup at Blunham (another Pub).
The next leg is cycle route 51 – an old railway bed that will deliver us straight to the hotel by the river.
The blue signs are above head height so hard to illuminate.
And the trail twists and turns through a series of ninety degree bends around houses and snakes its way past a gravel works.
Progress is slow.
On the outskirts of Bedford it is better lit and we arrive at the Park Inn for the night.
Jane is concerned about her brakes – severely worn down by lots of use the wet abrasive paste gathered from the lanes.
Hippy and I make it to the local Halfords just before closing and come away with a new tyre and some brake pads.
A swift fettling session with a cool beer to aid me renders the ladies tandem roadworthy once more.
The rooms are good.
The shower is good.
The food is good.
Beers are limited so after dinner the chaps wandered into town to find something better.
We strike it lucky as the Swan Hotel opposite is hosting a Camera beer festival.
With 11 tokens each and a special glass it turns into a late night.
A splendid end to a damp day of trundling.
The following day dawns dry and bright.
It’s a buffet breakfast which sets us up for the trip to the lunch stop in the Woodman in Nuthampstead.
As we have a lunch slot booked there at 12:30 we leave straight after breakfast into glorious sunshine.
A stark contrast from the murk of the previous day.
We aren’t caught by the rest of the riders so join a solitary gent by the War memorial in Ashwell to observe two minutes silence.
The event is always held on Remembrance Sunday.
The noise from a football match behind us spoils the solemnity somewhat.
We make it to lunch in plenty of time.
Another good lunch and time to swap my new tyre for the one i borrowed for the last 50 miles.
We decide to leave first to make best use of the daylight and arrive safely back at the start id daylight – just.
A good time was had by all.
Hippy may or may not come out to play seriously on a few short time trials
And Jane & Els have a few firsts to chase next year after a bit more practice.
We shall have to see how it all works out.
One thing is certain – we will all be back next year on the crest CC tandem weekend.