Arose early at the Innkeepers Lodge Kenton Bar, make a note of that name, its a mighty fine hotel/restaurant combo and all for £30 a head on a Saturday, I recommend it to the house – we partook of what I unreservedly count as the finest “continental breakfast” I have ever encountered, it almost matched the excellence of the carvery that we had stuffed ourselves with the night before, make sure you’ve got that name written down, thats the Innkeepers Lodge at Kenton Bar Newcastle, just off the A1, one day all inns will be like this…
It was decreed that on the Sunday I would be expected to ride some or all of the distance rather than being the fat lazy bas’tad that drives the car, well really, I can’t understand that sentiment at all after all I’d contributed to the cause handsomely on the Saturday with my five miles, not all of it downhill either, just most of it (hey, I look at the map you know, its not my fault that I get back in the van with a hill just around the next corner)
So we arrived back at Hexham where we had stopped the previous night and I made sure their tyres were all pumped up and I replaced the saddle on my reserve bike because Andy wanted to use his own saddle on my bike, his saddle being the only thing left of his own bike and before they knew what had happened I was waving them off into the distance and they were waving back and when they turned around again I was gone and they were left wondering how on earth I’d wangled another session without having to ride – they are all so gullible sometimes I tell you.
This Sunday session followed the River Tyne all the way down to its estuary in Tynemouth, a distance of 35 miles or so and Arthur and I had arranged to meet them again in Corbridge just 8 miles down the road where it was intended that I would swap with our Ned and finish off the ride on his bike.
Corbridge is an excellent little village, very ancient and very picturesque without being Disney-like and Arthur and I partook of a walk around the village to marvel at its architecture and stop a while in front of its ancient church and fortified vicars tower where said vicar would hide from the Scots on their marauding visits several centuries after they had figured how to clamber Hadrians Wall, the village of Corbridge was sacked on many an occasion by kilt clad clans with blue faces all yelling “Freeeee-dom” and asking if Mel Gibson had passed through earlier.
So long did we spend perusing the history of Corbridge (note to self, return visit there one day please) that when we got back to the car & van I noticed a voicemail on my phone – it was from Rod the Medic saying something like “Where are you, you idle bas’tad, we waited at the van for twenty minutes but we’re continuing on now, you bloody skiver…” he has such a lovely bedside manner you know ladies.
We finally met up with them in Newburn, which if you look on a map you might think “the skiving bugger, its almost in Newcastle” and yes, I will admit, I did intend to mount a bike a little further out from the city, but hey, these things happen ok ?
So we stopped for lunch (I’d had a hard day so far) and then up onto our Neds bike I was shoved and we set off for Newcastle, the Quayside, Tynemouth and all the glory – imagine someone sitting at home watching the Tour de France for two weeks then getting the Eurostar to Paris and riding the last mile along the Champs Elysees to claim first place – thats roughly the equivalent of what I did, I’m the organiser, I can do these things see.
The riverside path through Newcastle is a delight to ride on, downhill (well rivers don’t flow uphill do they) and well paved but as you approach the city centre its also shared with fishermen, lots of them. This isn’t necessarily a problem for the path is broad and the fishermen all tend to stick to leaning on the fence at the rivers side, so as long as the cyclists stick to the part of the path that away from the rivers edge then all is fine, and it was fine…
…until some dateless old codger of a fisherman decided that he didn’t want to stand at the rivers edge but instead sit on a bench on the cycling part of the path, even this would have been ok if he’d just remained in his seat, but Steve Rainy Pants, Andy the Bike Butcher and myself having passed, he decided at the very same moment that Rod the Medic passed by to stand up and walk across the path.
I didn’t see the collision but I’m told it was spectacular, I’m told that the dateless old codger of a fisherman (or “doylem” as Rod the Medic referred to him, he has such a lovely bedside manner too ladies) went right underneath Rod the Medic’s bike while Rod the Medics bike performed several parabolic arcs through the air and Rod the Medic took to flying for a short while, only landing on the concrete path when he decided that he needed to lose some skin off his knees and hands.
In our two Coast to Coast bike rides it was the only time that anyone had crashed, oh wait, no actually Rod the Medic fell off last year too and grazed his palm but that was after he had crossed the finish line and he was trying to light a celebratory cigarette while still peddling.
And so on to Tynemouth where I took the chequered flag, arms raised in jubilation looking suitably exhausted in an impression of “I’ve cycled the whole way, no honestly”, no time for photos in Tynemouth, no time to spend a little time strolling its High Street, there was a carnival on and the place was packed but we no time, no time at all – the Football World Cup Final was on that evening and they all wanted to get back in time to watch it.
All in all another excellent weekend chaps, congratulations to those who did the full distance (I think that was everyone except me), hope you all enjoyed it – next year its Coast and Castles, Berwick to Tynemouth with maybe a little longer to spend at the end.