I wanted to get a trial run in before my trip to test out all the gear,and myself. Friday/Saturday provided the ideal chance to do that. On thursday night I packed up all the things I will be taking to Europe with me except for a few less clothes ,and weighed it all out.
Front left pannier 3.3 kg, front right 3.0 kg, back left 5.7 kg , back right 5.2kg, rack bag 3 kg, bar bag 2.5kg so all told the weight on bike was 22.7 kg!
Alwinton is 39 miles ( 62km )away and I set off in glorious sunshine. You notice a hell of a difference with all the weight on the bike, not weight wise but in handling , your very conscious on cornering.
I set off from Cramlington headed up to Morpeth, then dropped off onto the B” roads that take you up the quite way towards Rothbury. I will tell you this now ,Europe will have to go some to beat Northumberland on a sunny day as the views and scenery were fantastic. The descent into Rothbury was exciting to say the least, a 14% gradient taken at 40 mph (64km)!!. I stopped off in Rothbury to buy some award-winning sausages from the local butchers , and a Cornish pasty for lunch, sat by the river and had a nice 15 min rest. Got talking to a lovely lady who asked where I was off to and gave me a really nice short cut across a farm track. Sorry I did not get her name but gave her my website address so thank you Mrs !! I was just starting to feel tired when I got to Alwinton , tell you now I don’t have thighs, I have muscles on muscles!.
The camp site was at Clennel Hall and it was fantastic £10 per night, no mobile signal but sometimes that’s not a bad thing.I got there at 2.15 checked in to find I was the only person on the camping field . pitched the tent in 12 mins ,and 5 mins later I was off in the shower for a freshen up! 1 Shower later ,clean clothes I headed off the manor house to enjoy a pint of well deserved Guinness in the glorious sunshine, just sat and watched a Red kite circling high on currents on the hills surrounding the manor house.
Back to the tent to make tea on the Trangia- I love it, the gas conversion kit is superb.,controllable flame ingenious design, such a clever piece of kit, mind it was made and designed in Sweden !. my meal consisted of , 2 pork and Rosemary sausages, fresh mushrooms 3 pieces of chorizo ,1 med bowl of pasta and a tub of pasta sauce. It was bloody lovely . washed up and then headed over to the manor again for one more pint.
On leaving the manor , it gave me a chance to use my Petzl head torch as it was pitch dark and again another great buy, lit my way back to tent, then got myself sorted for the night. Now here is a fact, I fell asleep at 9.30 pm and woke at 7 am exactly so I had 9.5 hrs sleep, I normally get by on 7 hrs so all the cycling and fresh air , plus a couple of pint of the black stuff equals a great nights sleep.The Outwell self inflating 5 mm mattress is a dream to sleep on and the pillow makes all the difference .
Sat morning was raining, such a change from Friday, but I had two bowls of cereal , a cup of tea, and half a bar of fruit and nut! waited till 9.30 for it to clear up , packed up all my things and off I set.
The Journey back was great. some REALLY big hills along side Simonside and Tosson Hill, but I’m fit now and relished the challenge to get me and the bike up those hills without stopping, It’s a hard thing to do with all the equipment I was carrying, but the satisfaction of reaching the top is something else. Mind 40 mph down some hills 4 mph up those two.! but I did it.
Stopped off in Morpeth on way back to top up the drinks , and arrived back home at 3pm.
Everything worked great, nothing I would change equipment wise, and very happy to have the mileage with all the gear under my belt.
The Stats to Alwinton are : Distance 39.3 miles (62km), max speed 40mph, Ave 9.7 time, 4hrs 2 mins calories used 957.
Return Journey :37 miles (59km) max speed 43.5 mph ave 10.4 mph time 3hrs 32 mins cals 858 .
Total 77 miles( 123Kms)
Europe here I come .
Two things I love : JSMSB!