Hadrians Bike Ride – the start

A glorious day dawned and an early start for the Hadrians Bike ride team, the early morning sun brought a sweat on as we packed the bikes in the van and left Leeds at 7am for the two hour dash to Carlisle collecting Rod the Medic from Morrisons car park in Skipton on the way.


Of course Rod was late, it goes without saying for Rod is always late, or as he puts it, “I’m not late, you were too early” lets just say we agreed to meet at 7.30am, we got there at 7.40am and Rod arrived at 8am, yep, we got there too early but to be fair, he arrived on the same day that we’d agreed upon this time.


The fine weather was making a mockery of the forecast rain for even in Skipton it was getting very warm and it looked as though we were in for a scorcher as the lads passed around the factor 50 sun cream, this was an excellent time to make a pitch for the five Buffs that Dan had left with me and they were snapped up after I explained how they would prevent that phenomenon of the conehead look-a-likeys that a cycle helmet, a bald head and the sun can create, all five were snapped up instantly and the early birds waiting in Morrisons car park for the store to open were treated to the sight of seven strange old men trying to work out how to wear a Buff and look cool with it like the man on the Buff video does instead of looking like a strange old man with a hankie on his head. Andy in particular came in for a lot of stick but then that is the norm for Andy has the uncanny knack of looking out of place in whatever situation you place him in, “Andy” and “Style-Icon” are two words that you will never hear in the same sentence, believe me, you just won’t, well, not until cream coloured chinos come back into fashion anyway.


The pitch on the Buffs was well timed for no sooner had we left Morrisons car park than the clouds started to gather and within a few miles the rain was falling bringing back memories of last years C2C bike ride and the hurricane conditions that we rode through on the first day, it was around this time that Steve pointed out that the ridiculous “Miami Lounge Lizard Leisure Shorts” that he favours were the same pair that he wore ont he first day last year – Stevie Rain Pants will forever be his nom-de-plume.


Another Morrisons store called for us on our arrival in Carlisle as we gathered provisions for the two day bike ride, what can I say, we are nobody’s idea of athletes anymore, we are all 53 years old for gods sake, we can’t ride for 88 miles without cake and sugary drinks, so lots of money was spent in Morrisons Carlisle store until we were all happy that the van contained enough sustenance for the many, many cake and pop stops that day and the next, the lads heeded my warning that the map did not seem to have many villages scattered along the route so we carried every grain of sugar with us.


The Hadrians cycle route runs straight through The Sands Centre car park in Carlisle and so thats where we unloaded, took photos, I explained the route to a couple of them who maybe listened to me, and then waved them off in the rain before any of them had the time to realise that yes, I would not be riding with them.


The original plan had been for me to ride the route, the original plan also had at least ten to twelve of us involved, the original plan also had a mini-bus involved and four drivers to convey both the mini-bus and the bike van – the original plan was scrapped at 4pm on Friday evening as one of our drivers dropped out with the feeble excuse that it was also his wifes 50th birthday on the very same day, just don’t try that one next year Kev, she could easily have waited until you got back, or you could have just ignored the birthday, the bruises would easily be starting to fade by now.


So we cancelled the mini-bus and took a car and the van instead, and I had to drive the car, thats my excuse and a damn fine one it was, I didn’t regret my volunteering for driving duties one bit as the rain got heavier before they’d even left the car park and I had a nice warm, dry car to scramble back into and a short 8 mile drive to the first checkpoint in Brampton.


to be continued…


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