The Spine of England cycle tour
Will Weston, long-time regular TA reader, and owner of a Scorpion trike, shares a two wheeled recumbent tour he took on his website. This fellow knows a thing or two about overland journeys, and you may find his accounting of this trip interesting.
From Will’s opening remarks of this journey:
Day 1 – Haltwhistle to Appleby-in-Westmorland – 57 miles
When pondering what to do for our next holiday, Mrs W came up with an interesting and very generous idea. ‘Why don’t you find a route you want to ride, and Junior and I will drive along in the [camper] van as your support vehicle, meeting you for lunch and each evening.’ So I found a topographical map of the UK with all the long distance Sustrans trails overlaid on it – Route 68, or the ‘Pennine Cycleway’ jumped out as being an ideal length and also, given the terrain, a good route to ride supported rather when hauling panniers. Ideal for the Metabike.
The initial cycle-route was tarmac paved and a pleasure to ride along. However after a few miles the surface changed to cinder track – OK – and then to crude hogging and then ran mostly in tree lined cuttings. The surface required a a good deal of concentration meaning I could not look at the view, and then in the cuttings there was nothing to see but trees anyway. Luckily my GPS Map told me I was about to come alongside the A689 which also went to my next waypoint of Alston. Normally I’d avoid A roads, but it seemed a better option so I hopped off onto it. In fact it was quiet, and for anyone wishing to ride this route who wants to see the gorgeous Northern Pennines rather than tree lined cuttings I would recommend it. It runs all the way from Haltwhistle to Alston.
The route then continued on the road and took me towards the infamous Hartside. I had memories of climbing over this 1900’ hill from two years previously as it also features on the C2C route. Last time we had approached it from the West and into a headwind blowing at a bracing Force 7 (I did see one lad blown over backwards – akin to a wheelie going to far – by the wind last time…). Ironically I found myself facing a headwind again despite now approaching from the East! However, not only was it only very modest, I experienced the benefit of riding recumbent and it had very little impact on me at all. Hartside, I’ve now come to learn, is an easier prospect from the East. It is a longer, more gentle and more consistent gradient. Nevertheless getting to the top felt good.
Read more HERE.