…and so I drove the car and Arthur drove the van to Brampton and we found a free car park and went for a walk around the town, its very pleasant, a very nice, very typical Cumbrian market town with an old market place and clock tower and the sort of High Street that doesn’t have too many well-known High Street stores in it and plenty of local shops selling local stuff for local people.
And it was raining, and then it rained quite hard.
And we waited and we waited for them and they seemed to be taking an awful long time for what was just eight miles on a bike and when two hours later they appeared we learned that actually, it might have been eight miles on the main road for us but the twisting, meandering bike route measured twelve miles in total – oh, and Howard had got lost too – and they were wet.
We retired to a pit stop in the car park and while the famous five feasted on cake and pop and Rod the Medic grew very annoyed and rather anxious over the fact that someone had bought sixteen cans of Pepsi Max rather than the straight sugar-loaded traditional Pepsi, not to put too fine a point on it as a medic he was outraged that on the one day of the year that we lardy-boys could gorge on sugar laden drinks we had opted for the slimline version.
And while he ranted and raved about a sugar fix I removed the front wheel on Andy’s bike and fitted an new tyre and inner tube on it – it was supposed to be a quick pit stop, it normally takes a few minutes no more, but this was Andy’s bike, the non-standard bike that he found in a skip somewhere and although the duff tyre that I took off the wheel was a 26″ tyre and the new tyre was a 26″ tyre, when the new 26″ tyre went onto the old 26″ wheel it didn’t fit properly and when we inflated the bloody thing it went flat again immediately.
We wasted an hour on that bloody wheel, taking it off and on and back off and back on again in the rain until we were all ready to send him to the bike shop to buy a whole new bike but eventually all was ready and we waved them off again this time with Arthur riding and Howard “biscuit knees” doing the van duties.
I did get to ride on this next session, I did about five miles in the rain and heat, it was turning into a weird day weather-wise, a fine misty rain but very warm too, at times it felt like you were trying to ride your bike in the steam room at a gym, a pleasant but yet unpleasant experience – it was on this second session that we encountered Hadrians Wall for the first time at Birdoswald Roman Fort, its not as tall as it once was is all I’ll say, or maybe the ancient Scots were just very small or very easily confused by the fact that it had no gates to walk through, either way we sat on it and took a photograph…
Take a bow (l-r) Ned the semi-professional cyclist for whom this was all a mere trifle
Andy who managed to break two entire bikes en-route
Stevie Rain-Pants and his pants of heavy rain
Rod the Medic, smoking his way across country with the aid of several packs of Rothmans, and yes ladies, he IS a real doctor*
*we’ve never seen the evidence though
…to be continued