Solo Cycling Adventure Day 2: Hawkshead to Hawes

I cannot take your eyes where mine have been, nor make them see what I have seen.

No number of pictures could capture just how wonderful my day has been. Believe me, I have tried. I stopped, stopped and stopped again to try to show in pictures just how beautiful the scenery has been. Some element is often lost in a photograph. Perhaps depth and scale, maybe colour intensity.

It is not just the scenery that has been fantastic. I also had a wonderful lunch with good family friends and more leg burning cycling to top it off.

Leaving Hawkshead

I wasn't sure how my legs would feel after Kirkstone Pass yesterday but they didn't grumble too much as I set off. My Tricross bicycle has never had a name before but in my head it now seems to be called Bikey.

Bikey and I only had a few miles to go before we reached the shore of Windermere and the ferry which would make our trip today a lot simpler. I paid the £1 fare and stood gazing at the quiet of Lake Windermere.

Once across the serious business started. At first undulating the terrain soon started to ramp up. It had clearly been raining heavily in the area and the roads were running rivers.

The roads I have chosen turn out to be tiny, winding singletrack lanes. Pretty scenes open up on either side and I see deer grazing quietly. The gradient ramps up. I am back to the grinding slowness of yesterday. I am on the Underbarrow climb and finally find myself flying down towards Kendal.

A combination of wet roads, gravel and the weight of the panniers make for a hairy descent. I hold and release the brakes; on, off, on off. The words of many a horse riding instructor over the years spring to mind 'sit tight'!

A Wonderful Lunch

I drop into Kendal and stop to get my bearings. An old boy, with a touring bike, comes over for a chat. Asking about my journey he seems impressed before telling me of the climb back out of Kendal.

Again, I am taking a back road; Old Sedburgh Road. Yes, the climb was brutal again but this time I have something to look forward to when I drop back down. My parents good friends, John and Clare, live just outside the centre of Sedburgh. When I invited myself to visit them Clare kindly offered me lunch.

It is wonderful to see them both and I am treated to an amazing, homemade lunch in their beautiful home. After lunch John and Claree show me the peaceful Quaker Meeting Room, just along the lane from their home.

As I am waved off on my way I have no doubt that this stop has perfected my day.

Relax And Enjoy

When out on the road bike I am always checking my average speed. In the back of my mind I wonder how fast I will be, on certain segments, compared to all riders before me. With the Strava app, not only can you do this but everyone else can take a look too.

On this ride speed is not an option. Dragging the weight of my luggage up the hills gives me chance to forget all this. I stop regularly, sometimes because I cannot carry on and at times because I just want to take it in. I am in no hurry. This is my holiday and I want to remember it well.

The scenery has changed from the soaring hills of the Lake District to the rolling ones of Yorkshire. Speeding and swollen rivers urgently rush towards their final destination. Footpaths, leading to destinations with intriguing names, lead off to my left and right.

I feel slightly emotional at how lucky I am to be here.

A Last Push To Hawes

For a few miles the terrain is kinder but for each swooping down there is a creeping up. I make the mistake of looking at the gradient for the rest of the ride and see I am about to start up one final, cruel, leg busting climb.

As I work my way up under a viaduct a fighter jet shoots past. It is gone from sight before I hear it. It's the only vehicle I have seen for ten minutes – how often can you say that?!

Now, my last big descent of the day. This time the road is wide, clear and dry. Bikey and I hit just shy of 45mph as I grin my way into Hawes.

Today I have climbed 4800ft over 45 miles. Tomorrow I have nearly 70 miles to cover  but am hoping for a littl less height. Tomorrow also holds the promise of a night at my best friends house. I can't wait!

One Last Thing…

I promised one of the locals in the pub in Hawes a mention in this blog. In case you are reading this; here is your mention, have a great evening.

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