Thursday, 8 May 2014

Mid Week Ride, with Pals

Geocaching,,, Thompa doesn't like his photo taken lol
  A quick txt around when I got in from work on Wednesday and John, Lee and David (Thompa) where all up for a ride out. A day or so earlier I had been chatting to Lee about Geocaching, something I had never heard of until a few weeks ago when I had called up to see my friend (and cameraman) Ade. When I had arrived at Ade's house as per the norm on a Friday evening around 7:30pm, his wife Amanda made me a lovely cuppa (bit disappointed no KitKat this week,come on Amanda get your act together, didn't even get a Nutella and Jam sandwich) anyhoo Ade was on messing around with his iPad trying to remember this app he had come across and was interested in getting, but had forgotten what it was. So the whole evening was spent chatting whilst Ade kept saying "bloody hell I've been through every category of the apps and can't remember where,what or which one it was". then all of a sudden as we were talking "Ahh Haa I know what it was" and he proceeded to purchase the app, install it and go on to tell me all about what it was about.
I found the geocaching very interesting, thinking "mmmm could incorporate that in a bike riding adventure".

So after mentioning this to Lee he proceed to find a geocaching website, download some map co-ordinates to his Garmin and get us some clues, so that when we went out we could go on a kind of treasure seeking outing.

John was on walking down our bank as I approached home, he had left his bike at ours so that Ern could have a quick look over it and try to find this click that was annoying him each time he went out. As I have explained in an earlier blog we all think John has some ocd tendencies, good job he doesn't have a leg like mine as it is always squeaking or farting when it doesn't fit. I then gave Thompa a ring and told him to meet us at the junction up the now famous  Farmer Trail and text Lee to say "we are ready come to my house". Once Lee was here we set off to meet Thompa. The more I ride the Farmers Trail the easier it gets and I quite enjoy it now.

Our first geocache was to be near No Place with the clue "The robin has flown to the pole". now I thought it was going to be right beside the Beamish Mary pub, as it used to be called  The Robin. But this wasn't the case according to Lee's co-ordinates,so we rode down through the back streets of No Place and across the bust Chester Road, taking a trail which leads to Shield Row. Lee was in front with John and came to a stop at this telegraph pole. "It should be around here" he said as he got off his bike. He then went to pick up a bag to which "Thompa said "that looks like a dog bag full of shit" "Ewwwwww!!!", Lee quickly dropped this checking his gloves for any signs of Poo!. We all spent the next 10 to 15 minutes looking all over for this geocache thingy. We looked up the pole and down the pole, behind the pole, around by the pole and even up by the fence. We then checked on the other side of the trail and then after much searching all agreed we are either crap at this treasure hunting thing or someone has nicked whatever was here, so carried on our way.

John and Lee were out in front again and Thompa and I decided to stop, as i wanted to get some pics of some lovely horses. They looked like Shire horses. if my pics don't come out I intend going back soon with my big camera and taking at least 5000 shots so I can have one good one. After this John and Lee were no where to be found. I knew the general direction we had agreed on so just led Thompa that way. Soon a fter lee rand to say "We are at the entrance to Tanfield Railway", "Oh we are almost there" I replied.
Beautiful Horses


 Now if you read my blog you will know we had a bit of a run in with this bloke I can only describe as a cock the other week. He stated there was no cycling on this section and yes he is indeed correct, however as he was such a disrespectful man I choose to disregard his advice. And in our defence there are NO NO Cycling signs at the start of this route.  We have since discovered some near the Causey Arch bridge. So a simple remedy if anyone else has a problem and wants to whine is get off our bikes and push them over this section, along over the railway line, down the little path and then your back on to a road so no one can complain. To be honest he is the first person to actually complain and not just complain but be aggressive in doing so. I don't mind apologising and getting off my bike and pushing and never riding a section again, but not when someone is totally disrespectful, especially when i said "Hi" and then goes on to say my disability is utter crap.Anyhoo moving on.

We ride a little further up towards the Tanfield Railway Path, yes you can ride on this section, This brings us out near Sunnyside. It's a nice downward ride towards Watergate bends, across the road at the Pedestrian crossing and before weknow it we are into Watergate Park. it's rather nice in here, with a little water fall and a biggish, pond, where there are some big white swans just chilling on the water.

After Watergate it's an easy ride down to the Toon, coming out at the Dunston Staithes and along the quayside on the Gateshead side. Our next Geocache is along towards the Sage, Baltic and the Millennium Bridge. The next clue is  rough a I can't remember exactly something like, "sit on the sculpture and it will be in the corner". 

At the Sculpture
After searching for maybe a minute Lee finds the cache, he is well excited this is right up his street. Lee opens the container it contains a log book and some coins, a ring and a plastic what looks like board piece. The instructions are to leave something disc shaped. Now as it happened we had nothing disc shaped. 

Image courtesy of John


  Then Lee said to John "hey why don't we leave the dvd of the 3 Amigo's I burnt you". John has the dvd in his backpack, it is a video Lee made of when we went back packing. John isn't impressed with this, Lee says "I'll burn you another one". Now all we need is a pen to fill in the log book. I shout over and ask a passing lady, however she doesn't have a pen on here."Lets head down to the Baltic I'll but one" I say. I have £3 on me. So we put the cache back and head along to the Baltic. Once in the shop inside I have a good look around, only one variety of pen, which comes in 2 colours black or yellow. I say to lee, "these pens look a bit naff, they won't last 5 minutes". You see they were ones you click to extend the nib and very plastic'y, plus they were like £1.50 each. Sod that plan B, head back to the cache site and wait for someone to come along with a pen. As we ride back over I notice there is a hotel, just down the road. it's Jury's Inn. "No harm in asking there" I think, so I park up and limp in. A gentleman appears after a while from behind the desk and I ask him politely, "could I either borrow or buy a pen". To which he replies "there you go, just keep it" as he hands me a biro. Cool, this is to now be our Geocaching pen and I have it in my pack lol.

Lee completing log, with our acquired pen

Inviting next finder to watch the 3 Amigo's dvd
Back at the cache site we uncover the tub again and Lee completes the log, urging anyone who finds our gift to replace it with something and watch his dvd. This geocaching is quite fun and it has certainly given me some ideas to do with when I do some fund raising on another project we have in mind.

Another of John's pics, of me taking a pic
I now feel a bit hungry so crack open the first of my Fruit Loaf, chicken and Nutella sandwiches, WoW it is lush, funny no one wants toi try any, ah well all the more for me I guess. Lee suggests we head back a different way. How about along the Derwent Walk and up Clockburn Lonnen, say what? I have never heard of it. Lee tells us all it is a canny climb, off road from Swallwell up to Sunnyside. Ok then off we go.

Purely Belter Chicken and Nutella Sandwich
We go over the Millennium Bridge, Ooh I forgot to say I had a bit play on the steps earlier leading along to the Baltic, they are canny steep. I am happy with my effort as a few weeks back I kind of chickened out of riding them thinking "wow these are steeper than I thought". Now over the other side of the Quayside on the Newcastle side. I'm having a bit of a socket issue, this time with my regular riding socket. I've lost so much weight off my stump that my socket is rubbing me bad. So at this point I can feel I'm starting to blister. For me now it's a slog home, not because I'm tired, no these dam sore areas are depressing. The lads are all way in front. I often think I'm just not fit as I can't keep up. I have to go at my own Pace, which is a kind of "just get there in the end sort of pace" lol. The boys are good though and always wait for me to catch up. We head towards Scotswood and cross Scotswood Bridge. From here its a nice short ride until we are on the the route marked as Route 14 if my memory serves me right. Before long we are past the Swalwell visitor centre and about 1/2 a mile along the Derwent Walk we come to the trail for the Clockburn Lonnen. Lee advises take a short break, "this is a granny gear climb". We all set off, "ahh this isn't so bad" I think,as we ride up the trail. Then just as we turn  corner, bloody hell the trail shoots upwards. Ok panic, gears dropping frantically, "awww crap" I'm now at the bottom of my gears". It's time to focus. For me a great deal of my focus is based around my mam and how proud she would have been of me. If she could see me now and how far I have come. My thoughts are on my mam "I'm doing this for you", head down I don't look at how far I have to go, it's just a case of grind until I get to the top, stopping is not an option, unless I fall off or lose traction. As I reach the top of this section Lee is waiting. He says "have you just rode up all of that", "whey aye" I reply I can tell he is impressed and this makes me feel good. A small rest at this juncture and then we are off again, Lee commenting, this bit is even harder. Again it's head down for me and just one pedal stroke after another,this is really hard yet for some reason I'm really enjoying the challenge. I'm not out of breath and funnily enough my thighs, or mainly my left thigh isn't burning with the build up of lactic acid. I ride all the way to the top, not stopping or getting off. Again Lee is waiting, after I stop he extends his hand and says "I want to shake your hand", apparently there are a lot of people who can't make it up Clockburn Lonnen and he is well impressed. Thanks Lee, your words inspire me to do and complete new challenges. I think we all doubt our abilities I wanted to get to the top for my mam and of course to show Lee that I could.

We ride into Sunnyside and take the same route back along to Tanfield Railway. When we get along to the railway lee takes us on yet another route I haven't been on and I find this most enjoyable. We end upo down near Copy Lane i think it's called and a bit of a steep bank to get up. Eventually we are back at the car park at the Causey Arch and from here it's straight forward going back home, though John and Thompa did head a slightly different route, Lee and myself deciding to explore another way past the factories at Tanfield. We catch up with John who is on his way up towards the C2C. Thompa has gone straight on I guess up Shield Row bank. (He txt me to say he was home soaking wet, because of the down pour and going in a lovely hot bath)

A short ride along the C2C coming off at Heatherway, a little climb and we are back out at Iceland Car Park. From here it's an easy ride through Mordor's Front Street and onto Wear Road. John is knackered. Lee and I say "See ya" and whizz down our bank,we go down the back streets. Lee is very lucky at a junction slamming his brakes on as a car doesn't slow down and just comes straight across the junction coming from his right. WoW that was lucky. Just goes to show you have to have your wits about you at all times, a brilliant day out could have so easily gone wrong. Down outside mine, Lee shakes my hand again and tells me how impressed he was. We have a few more banks, hills and climbs planned and to knock off our list. For now that's another one for me. I'm so proud as when I think back to when I first started riding i couldn't even get up towards Craghead and the Punch Bowl Junction.

I managed to catch this photo when I was fiddling with my camera trying to get the auto-timer on lol

An accidental Selfie lol


  1. Thought you were joking about chicken and nutella. Jeez. Put the c:geo app on your phone. Battery will be dead before you find your first cache mind.

  2. Great mate, quality selfie, lol, need to do more geocaching, ooo and to get tompa smiling on a shot,psml, only kidding mate....

  3. Nicked a couple of your shots John, hope you didn't mind.

    No I wasn't kidding David those sandwiches were epic and kept me going Mmmmm mmmmm!