No Kenn today as he was suffering with his tum, poor thing. After church, I headed for Mark’s house where we had left the bikes, helmets, gloves etc overnight as there wasn’t room in the car with our new bed frame (surplus to requirements at Mark’s place). After a quick cuppa, Mark helped load my Spesh into the back of the car, without taking the wheels off – always a bonus – and off I drove to Lenwade. At Mark’s I also took the precaution of swapping out the saddlebag thing with all the puncture repair stuff in and the spare innertube too.
I parked in the small road by the cafe that we stopped at yesterday, got the bike out of the car with a little difficulty and got going. I quickly rode down the road and then turned left on to the Marriotts Way and over a bridge. The bridge was undergoing repairs and had a big sign up saying “no horses”. There was some sort of rubber matting down and traffic cones all over the place. The bike felt very odd when I rode over the bridge, so much so that I stopped on the other side expecting a flat tyre but it was just the surface of the matting that made for a wobby back wheel. It really did feel just like riding on a flat though.
Onwards towards Whitwell which leads to the Themelthorpe Loop. Just at the beginning of the loop, which nearly doubles back to where it began, all bar about 2km, there is a gate across at the moment warning of badger earthworks and there are diversion signs in operation while the council sort things out. I for one, am hoping that the ‘sorting’ doesn’t mean a cull of the badgers. I followed the diversion and found myself on the Themelthorpe Loop, just a little further along. Up quite a few earthen & sleeper steps. Mountain Bikes are a lot heavier than Road Bikes, I am not sure if my back was very impressed at lugging Mr Spesh up those. I carried on cycling to the next road crossing and found that I was at the top of the curve and decided to carry on to Reepham. It had begun to spit quite hard with rain by then. The BBC website had lied to me about the ‘no rain’ day. Ho hum. I had my windproof zip up cycling jacket and my lovely new baselayer so I figured that a bit of dampness wouldn’t kill me.
Rounding the curve, I headed towards Reepham and found myself cycling past Reepham Station and looking for Cycle Path No. 1 signs for the link path back to Whitwell Station. The rain was a bit harder now and I decided that Aylsham can wait for a little longer to arrive at by bike. The Cycle Path No. 1 signs, predictably had vanished, so I headed down the road a bit and then checked my phone gps map and could see that I was heading in the correct direction so carried on. I soon started seeing Whitwell Station signs, which was cheering which then led to a nice downhill and the Marriotts Way sign in big letters. I got back on to the Marriotts at the same place as I had got off it for the detour earlier.
Now, it was really raining with proper rain. I headed back PDQ to Lenwade. I had to wait for a horse and rider to come by, the lady seemed in no hurry even though I was sitting, waiting and getting very wet. She could have broken in to a trot but chose to carry on with an exeptionally sedate walk past me. I nearly got taken out by 2 kids on MTBs who were belting along, hell for leather totally oblivious to anyone coming towards them. They would have caught up with sedate lady on her horse, I hope that they noticed her. The first one who hurtled past had me leaping for the bush. The second one dashed past but I had some grass to ride on that time. Total knobs who give cyclists a bad name.
Soon the wobbly rubber clad bridge was soon in sight, I was very glad to see it. I went over it very slowly as it was a tad slippery by now. Passing the car park I noticed that the very full car park I had noticed on the way out had only one lonely little car in it now. I turned right on to the road and was back at my car within a couple of minutes. Very damp by now and getting cold.
Naturally when I unlocked the car doors with the auto-doofer button the boot decided not to work. I opened the drivers door and tried the boot again. I shut the door and locked again and then re-opened. After 2 or 3 goes of this, the boot decided to open for me. I turned the bike over and took the front wheel out. My back was hurting a lot, probably due to hoiking Mr Spesh up those steps earlier. The back wheel refused to come out despite wobbling it, swearing at it and getting fed up with the sudden downpour, making sure that I was getting totally soaked. Finally it deigned to release itself and I put the wheel in the car. Lifting the bike into the car was a doddle now it was de-wheeled, so to speak. Mr Spesh is very light without half a ton of rubber attached to it.
Home from there was a nice drive, I did keep steaming up though. Thankfully Kenn had sorted out the rear wiper and demister the other day so I could see where I had been and the numpty BMW driver up my jacksy all the way up the country roads to home. A cup of tea had never tasted quite so good and dry clothes were just bliss.
At the very next sensible opportunity, I am going to finish the Marriotts Way and Might even venture along the Bure Valley Way too.
Today’s Ride: 12.65 miles
Max Speed: 18.49 mph
Ave Speed: 11.22 mph
Oct Distance: 133.93
Total Distance: 1085.22