Monday, 26 October 2015

Sometimes not planning a route, turns out to be the best route.

It's been ages since I last rode with my good mate Lee. What with Lee working shifts and me never knowing where or what I am going to be up to and like everyone stuff just gets in the way from time to time.  Anyhoo Lee had given me a shout on Facebook Sunday night saying 'Hey I'm off tomorrow you up for a ride out?'. 'Sure' I replied as long as it's not an epic as I have been feeling really tired over the last week or so. In fact I hate to admit it but 2 days running I had hardly gotten out of bed. It wasn't the fact I was like sleepy tired, no more of a bone weary tired. After I had rode the 38 miles or so the other week when I went down to Tynemouth and back with my other friend John I just felt absolutely knackered and it must have lingered on. I am pretty stubborn and for me feeling like this is just not on, though I am learning sometimes I do need to give myself a break and rest and take it easy, other wise it takes even longer to get myself put right and this causes me to become even more anxious and frustrated.

Down the leafy trail


Anyhoo as I was saying I replied to Lee and we arranged to meet at around 10am as Lee had to wait for a parcel to be collected from his house. I awoke canny early so just pottered around getting some gear sorted and making sure I could find everything. Bit of a miracle this morning as nothing was missing and I laid my hands on everything I needed, so no cursing under my breath and having to wake Ern up to say 'Hoy where the hell have you put, so and so'. My dad has a habit of putting my gear in different places each week I am sure he does it just to keep me on my toes, either that or he gets a kick out of it. Of course I get my revenge by disorganising his neatly stacked cupboards and messing his tins of beans with either soup or spaghetti, or if I'm feeling particularly evil will throw the odd can of rice or in the mix.


Through the tunnel

C2C sign



I set off over Lee's house for around 9:30 am and Lee greeted me at his door inviting me in for a cuppa whilst we waited for the parcel dude to come and pick up the package Michelle, Lee's wife was sending back. The parcel guy came just before 10am and we were out and on our bikes not long after. Lee and I had had a brief conversation about where we were going to go. The first part of which was up the Farmers Trail and down into Beamish. Once in No Place (Yes it's a real name of a place) I don't know why but I led Lee in totally the wrong direction to what we had discussed. I guess I hadn't engaged my brain at that point and was on auto-Glenn. As we got down into Shield Row I said to Lee 'Errr this wasn't the way I was going to take you'. I then decided we would pop on to the C2C and head along to Beamish and the trail I had intended going on. As we rode along the C2C we got talking about how far did I think I could manage and in the end we just decided sod it lets have a ride down to the coast.

Lee looking annoyed as he had just had a call from a tele-sales muppet


The ride down to Sunderland isn't all that bad I mean you are dropping down towards the sea all the way. There is only a few minor climbs. It's a canny ride I like it because there aren't too many roads. As we got down near Washington I took a few snaps as I was riding and as we passed through a wooded area both Lee and I spotted this large pond. Lee said 'Hey it's the first time I have noticed that pond, do you fancy a look?'. As we got down to the pond we could see all sorts of small cute ducks.We got off our bikes and both started taking a few pictures. Just then a huge beautiful swan started swimming over. It came out of the water and mounted the bank side. At first I wasn't sure if it was protecting the smaller ducks as it just stood there. I remembered Lee had given me a cereal bar so got it out of my pocket and broke some small pieces off to give to the smaller birds. Just then this geet big swan came over and came right up to me. 'Whoaaaa!' I thought, but the bird was quite friendly and was looking at my hand. I broke a small piece of the bar off and extended my arm and the swan took the piece of cereal straight from my fingers. 'Hey this is cool' I thought so kept feeding the swan. Just then it's buddy came over who was slightly smaller, so there was me like Doctor Do-Little, cracking on to these two birds, telling them what good pretty birds they were and 'Owwww don't grab' as the big swan held on a little to tight to my thumb. I was actually gutted when the cereal bar was gone as the birds lost interest and went back on the pond. I proper enjoyed that and had a great laugh with le when I showed him one of the pictures I had taken of the swan going to take a bite from me.


My Fav photo of the day



Following our adventure with the birds it wasn't long before we were back on the route and before we knew it we were approaching the marina at  Sunderland. Here Lee and I popped into the Snow Goose cafe. After Lee and I counted I had enough money, 3 times we ordered 2 cups of tea and Lee had a Tuna Pitta Salad and I opted for a Corned beef and Cheese Toastie. So glad I had that little bit of cash in my backpack as wow was I in need of something to keep me going. Lately I have been eating like a horse I think it's the steroids I have been on whilst undergoing treatment, they just make me feel hungry. The Tea and sandwiches really hit the spot, 'pure nectar' as lee says.



From the Snow Goose we headed for South Shields, taking the coastal off road sort of cliff route. This is a lovely scenic route right next to the sea. Once at South Shields Lee suggested we head to Jarrow and call in at his mams for more refreshment. Lee led the way as I didn't have a clue and he took me on some routes I have never been on before. It was fun even though by now I was starting to feel real tired. Lee proper looked after me today, stopping regularly and just asking 'how are you feeling'.  Once at Lee's mam's we discovered that she wasn't in. Luckily Lee had a spare key so let us in and we then had another rather splendid cup of tea. We had only been sitting a while when Lee's mam came in and it was lovely getting to meet her. It was quite funny actually as she said to me 'I feel like I have already met and know you'. 'Oh how is that' I said. She then laughed looked at Lee and said 'Oh Lee has shown me some of your video's' lol.

Well time to hit the road again, we said 'goodbye' to lee's mam and we headed for Newcastle. It didn't take as long as what I thought actually, but I was really starting to feel myself tiring. Not only that it was starting to get pretty dark by the time we got into Newcastle down by the Sage. This is when I said to Lee 'I'm about knackered so think I will give Ern a shout and get picked up at Watergate Park'. Lee had a doctors appointment for 6:30pm anyhoo so he agreed it would be a good idea. So I rang Ern and arranged for a pick up.

The ride up towards Watergate Park was a killer for me. Going up the back of Lobbley hill, it's just one long horrible climb. We zig zagged through the housing estate which I thought made the climb twice as hard, but eventually got to the top and didn't have to wait too long for Ern to come to the rescue.

It was nice to be able to relax on the drive home and once Lee was dropped off at home I came in and said a quick 'Hello' to Baxter and then had the most relaxing hot shower 'Ahhhh heaven'.

Another great adventure, covering 45 miles, the highlight for me meeting two very friendly swans.

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