September 1, 2011, by Andrew Burden

The VC’s blog: JoGLE Day 6: Berwick-on-Tweed to Gateshead

Great cycling conditions, but not a great day for me.

We started with a photo call for the local paper, outside Berwick’s Sue Ryder shop, with the Mayor, George (who organised the Club Probus contribution) and Doreen, the shop manager. They have shown us splendid hospitality.

We then set off to pick up the Northumberland coastal route. Chris R and Alan cracked on. Remarkably, everyone else (the other nine JoGLE riders and David R and Emma, who were still with us) managed to stay more or less together for most of the day. Steve had to break free after 30 miles or so, because Jenny his partner was bringing his twin sons to see him in Gateshead.

25 miles out of Berwick I came off my bike (not shunted by Chris, who has had his third shunt free day). I was checking on those behind and drifted too close to Kate. In trying to avoid a collision, I fell off. It looked as though the only damage was a lacerated elbow and badly lacerated knee (which may put an end to any hopes of a modelling contract).

Karen was on hand to administer first aid and we were soon on our way again.

We caught up with Andy, Neville, David W, David R and Emma in Bamburgh and ate in a café overlooking one of England’s most iconic castles. Over sandwiches a visitor from Newcastle asked us what we were doing and promptly made a contribution. We have had several instances of such spontaneous generosity.

At Bamburgh, the support team dealt with Nick’s seventh puncture and a tyre change. Since he is on exactly the same bike as me and I have not had one, I think he must be going for some kind of JoGLE record which he has not told us about.

The ride down the coast to Alnmouth was delightful and in fine conditions. Alnmouth itself was as photogenic as ever. Having stopped and cooled off, my knee ballooned. It was difficult to put any weight on it and I almost called in the van, with a view to pressing on to Gateshead and getting treatment. I strapped it up, took some anti-inflammatories and we pressed on.

Since I was riding much more slowly, the group around me were terrifically patient and attentive, especially Andy, Karen and Chris J. We were later joined by Nick, who had been looking after Kate (achilles tendon problems) and David W and Neville. They managed us well, striking a balance between pulling us along and giving us time.

A great benefit of riding with experienced cyclists like Andy, Chris J and David W is the speed with which they deal with punctures and running repairs (a real bonus when riding with Nick). Their general oversight, map reading on the run and way marking is excellent. But, for all that, once we got in to greater Newcastle, we had problems picking our way through: partly because Sustrans Route 1 winds through endless housing estates, partly because the signage was poor.

The final 20 miles of what actually became a 90 mile day was horrible. I found it physically uncomfortable and temperatures dived as the wind chill became penetrating. We eventually got to our hotel at 7 o’clock.

I had excellent medical advice from David W, Karen and Simon and settled for an evening of ice-packs and anti-inflammatory gel. Although I have a lot of fluid on the knee, those that know better than me were confident there is no ligament damage. That was a big relief.
There is more evidence of aches, pains and strains across the team, but riders are coping well and remain cheerful and focused. Everyone is looking forward to being at Sutton Bonington on Saturday.

All in all, not the best of days. But these things happen on a ride like this. On the upside, we had the opportunity to admire the beauty of the Northumbrian Coast and its towns and villages at a pace which allowed us to enjoy them. And we have another big leg behind us. Today’s 90 miles take our total distance covered to 466 miles.

Tomorrow is a short day, just 65 miles to Thirsk and the weather forecast is good.
David Greenaway
August 31st 2011

Posted in Lifecycle Update