Eroica Britannia

We have just got back from spending the weekend at the Eroica Britannia held near Buxton in Derbyshire. The three-day event is a celebration of classic bicycles, pre 1987, and all things retro-cycling.

Tandem preparationWe went up to the event on Friday and as it is only about 1.5 – 2 hour drive from home we were there by mid-morning. We chose not to camp at the festival site as we thought this was rather expensive and so were on a quite site up the road a bit (much cheaper). When we first booked a few months ago my husband said it would be 3 miles to the festival site. As the event approached the 3 became 4 miles but in the eventuality it turned out to be 5+ miles with a couple of steep hills to contend with on the way!

Friday was also Day 7 of our ‘7 Days of Cycling’ challenge so we needed to get a ride in.  We had taken our tandem as well as our classic bikes and used this to pedal down to the festival and back in order to register for the Sunday Classic Bike ride. This proved to be quite a tough ride! The photo shows my husband preparing the tandem. We spent a couple of hours having a quick look round before pedalling back. We just got back before it rained.

It rained off and on all night and much of Saturday morning but cleared by late morning so off we went again on the tandem to enjoy the festival. It was a cool day though I soon warmed up on the hilly route down to the festival site. The steep hills on this route were beginning to worry me that I might not manage the classic ride we had signed up for. There were three to choose from: 100 miles, 60 miles and 30 miles. We had registered for the 30 mile ride but even so I was anticipating continuous steep hill climbs and I’m not over fond of hills. Once we were at the festival there was much to see, stalls with bike bits, whole bikes, craft stalls, best in show competitions for bikes, fancy dress etc. and a fun-fair to name but a few. There were so many bikes around and so much going on that I completely forgot to take any photos, I even missed the penny farthings. We returned to the motorhome in the late afternoon and had no sooner got the tandem on its bike rack when it began to rain again.

At the start of the Classic ride

At the start of the Classic ride

Once more it rained intermittently overnight. We had an early start in the morning as we needed to cycle up hill and down dale yet again to get to the event ready for a 9.30 ride start (the longer routes started even earlier). I was having cold feet and finding the route to the festival really tough! Once we were underway however I found the ride, while not easy, not as tough as I had feared, but it was definitely a challenge. I’m pleased to say I wasn’t the only one by a long way that got off and walked up some of the steeper hills, even some of the men got off and walked before I did. There was also far more of the ride on gravelly tracks than we had expected (we knew there would be some) and this makes for some challenging conditions as the tyres slide away from you over the stones. A fair bit of walking was done on these bits too.

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

Half way round there was an extremely well organised lunch stop, complete with an excellent brass band to entertain us and a free packed lunch with loads of water, beer, iced coffee, fruit drinks or whatever you fancied to choose from to drink. At the finish we were greeted with our names announced over loudspeakers to clapping from the spectators and yet more bottles of water to rehydrate us. We got our ‘Road Books’ stamped up, (having collected stamps at the start and the lunch stop) and were also rewarded with a free beer. As I don’t usually drink beer I gave mine to my son on our return home.

This was a very well organised event with a very friendly atmosphere. We did our good turns along the way by lending an Allen Key to one chap to fix his wobbly saddle and a bicycle pump to another chap who needed to mend a puncture and I’m sure many others did similar good turns. It was not an overly warm day and although most people dressed up in era style clothing the effect was slightly lost due to the need to wrap up warm, but there were some in ‘fancy dress’ or tweeds and brogues and ladies in 1920’s style dresses braving the cool weather. We, of course, still had our taxing 5+ miles back to our motorhome to contend with. The rain had managed to stay away during the ride but once more returned just as we were putting the bikes back on the bike rack. We were cold and tired and welcomed a restful evening with the heater on!

This was the first time we have done this event and we thoroughly enjoyed it although we are not at this stage sure if we will do it again. Even my husband found it quite challenging, having to use his angina ‘puffer’ rather more frequently than usual, but it is great to be able to say we did it. Next weekend we are off again on another cycling adventure. This time to the York Rally, a much less taxing event we understand. I’ll let you know how we get on.

 

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7 Day Challenge Day 6

Yes, I know this isn’t a normal day for me to post and I am not posting a ‘small stone’ today, I just wanted to update you with Day 6 of the Cycling UK 7 Days of Cycling Challenge.

Setting off alone Day 6

Setting Off Alone Day 6

We are off tomorrow for the weekend at the Eroica Britannia classic bike festival and I will be off-line until our return on Monday. This doesn’t mean we will miss out on our Day 7 ride as we will be riding on our tandem (yes we’re taking that as well as our classic bikes!) from the campsite to the festival and back, probably about 8 miles in all, and we’ll do it again on Saturday. We will then have to do it yet again on Sunday with the classic bikes in order get to the start of our 30 mile ride over the Derbyshire hills and dales; I just won’t be able to report it until next week!

 

Chain Ring Tattoo

Chain Ring Tattoo

Day 6 (today) was simply a chance to spin the pedals round briefly and not miss out a challenge day. Our excuse is that we had a busy day and were short of time. We needed to go to the grocers, pack for the weekend and load up the motorhome. Hubby’s ride was only down to the local Pharmacy and back to pick up his prescription while I went out later on my own, just a jolly round a short local loop. Somehow I seem to have acquired a ‘tattoo’ on the short trip (probably while checking the stats on my bike computer on my return). I did about 3.5 miles, that’s all. We’ll be making up for it with longer rides over the weekend at The Eroica Britannia Festival.

Cycling Challenge

Day 4 Scenary

Day 4 Scenery

A challenge to pedal
seven days in a row.
One to five done,
just two more to go!

Day 5 Selfie

Day 5 Selfie

Yesterday we did about 8 miles, today only 7. Distance is not important it is all about getting out on the bike and we have a mega ride coming up at the weekend.

Oblivious

Drizzle
falls steadily.
Birds line up along the fence
waiting for the feeders
to be filled. Oblivious.
Bedraggled.

Dazzled

Reading
out in the garden,
bright sunlight dazzling
the creamy-white pages of my book.
I step inside,
blinded.

Haul Out

I have previously mentioned here that we are selling our boat. Having owned various boats over the years we are now hanging up our oilskins to go roaming in our motorhome instead. In March I wrote about our final trip when we sailed round from our long-term home port to the marina where our yacht broker is situated. (You can refresh yourselves about it here.) At the time they were not able to haul the boat out of the water and onto the hard-standing so we knew we would have to go down again before too long to finish up cleaning and clearing out the boat.

‘Red Dawn IV’ has at last been taken out of the water and we are going down tomorrow for several days to sort it all out, although we may still need to go down from time to time  to check it over and keep it spotless.

While we are away I may or may not have a great deal of access to the Internet. There is WiFi at the marina but it can be unreliable so if I do not post anything over the next week don’t be surprised. If I can I will, but no promises. Normal service should resume next week!

In the meantime, if you are interested to find out all about our boat we have set up a little website to assist with the selling where there are plenty of photos. Check out https://reddawniv.wordpress.com.

Delay

There’ll be no more gardening today,
heavy rainfall is causing delay.
Though it’s good for the soil
it’s not good for toil.
So frustrating! What more can I say.

_________________________________________________________

I have been spending a lot of time in the garden lately, clearing weeds and planting out bedding plants for summer colour, and I haven’t finished yet, I still have plants waiting to go in. I took the day off yesterday so I could have a rest, rain was forecast and also I had a commitment in the afternoon. It didn’t rain. I had hoped to continue my planting today – but now it rains!

Golden

Golden buttercups,
shining like miniature suns;
bright spots in my lawn.

Near Miss

What is it with cars and country lanes!

We have been having a spell of glorious weather lately and have made the best that we can of it by going out as often as time allows on our bikes. Yesterday was no exception and we did a bit over 20 miles on our tandem, ambling along enjoying the scenery and the sunshine, much of it down lanes that were new to us or which we have only used once or twice before.

When out on the bikes we do try to avoid the main roads as much as possible, only using them as linking sections to a variety of country lanes. These lanes are generally quiet, scenic and a safe place to ride, being relatively free of any traffic. Mostly these lanes are little more than wide enough for one car and you do occasionally meet vehicles coming towards you or maybe catching up behind. Often it is almost impossible for those behind to overtake and so they have to creep along patiently behind us until we find a gateway or wider stretch where we can pull over. Most such drivers are extremely considerate and we always make a point of thanking them. Similarly many of those coming towards us do wait where the road is slightly wider if possible when they see us, or they at least slow down so that we can safely pass in a controlled manner. Again we always thank them.

Sadly to say, however, not everyone is so considerate. There seems to be a percentage of drivers who consider that country lanes are their own personal speedways, after all no-one else uses them do they? They are quite and empty aren’t they? Let’s face it this is their own short cut through to avoid traffic on the main road so why should they have to drive slowly and carefully? We met one such yesterday, coming towards us in a 4×4 with nowhere for us to pull off. Did he slow down? Not a chance! He came hurtling towards us regardless, so we had to jerk to a sudden halt and ram ourselves into the narrow stretch of grass verge while he hurtled past a hairbreadth away from us, without so much as a glance in our direction. We were lucky not to have been knocked off.

This set me to thinking. Whilst out on the ride we also passed first two people riding horses,  then a group consisting of mum and dad with two small children being led on ponies and later another group of about six horse riders. I dread to think what might have happened had said 4×4 driver hurtled round a bend and encountered any of these! The lead horse of the larger group actually shied and nearly stumbled onto his knees at the sight of us. Had we been a hurtling 4×4 it could have been fatal, the car might even have ploughed into the following horses, which were actually filling the width of the road as they came towards us (though they did move over and single up as we passed).

I’m sure none of you would be so inconsiderate, but just in case…. think about it and please always take considerable care when driving down narrow, twisting country lanes, you never know what obstacle might be round the next bend, after all other people are just as likely to consider the lane to be a quiet traffic free zone and themselves not be paying full attention or expecting speeding vehicles.

Incidentally large tractors and other farm vehicles also totally fill the width of the road in narrow lanes, but I have never felt unsafe when encountering a tractor. They are working vehicles and their drivers seem to be well aware of the risks they pose, they do not travel at excessive speeds and are high enough up that they can see far enough ahead to react accordingly. Being large they can also be seen in plenty of time thus allowing bike riders, pedestrians or horse riders to wait at a convenient gateway or other passing spot.

Country lanes are not the place for driving at top speed. The only problem in country lanes are speeding car drivers!

Returning

A few days away
and cherry blossom gone,
but look — cherries form.

Returning
I refill
the bird feeders.
Rare visitor flies in.
Jackdaw.

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