A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘c2c’

coast 2 coast

Posted by Alan on June 27, 2011


The hills are alive...

 So yes, I completed the coast 2 coast run, bar about 2 metres on the route where I pushed to let a van past! It was pretty epic adventure of which I will get round to writing more of, but for now the “essential” statistics:

c2c stats
odom moving time average mph day mileage day moving day km Journey
Day 0 6.48 00:49:03 7.9 6.48 00:49:03 10.37 Whitehaven – Tarn Flatts
Day 1 53 06:36:00 8 46.52 05:46:57 74.43 Tarn Flatts – Whitehaven – Keswick – Skiddaw
Day 2 101 12:19:00 8.2 48 05:43:00 76.80 Skiddaw – Hartside – Alston
Day 3 133 16:16:00 8.2 32 03:57:00 51.20 Alston – Nenthad – Rookthorpe – Edmundbyers
Day 4 182 21:30:00 8.5 49 05:14:00 78.40 Edmundbyers – Derwent Water – Shotley Bridge – Tynemouth – Newcastle via Jarrow
Add on phone distances
Day 0 4.38 Flat – station, Liverpool St – Euston
Day 5 14.55 Newcastle YHA – Newcastle Stn, Alnmouth Stn – Alnwick, Alnwich – Alnmouth, Kings Cross Stn – Liverpool St Stn, Stn – Flat
Total mileage
Total km 321.49

200 miles in a week – just to make sure, I did 2.5 miles on Friday 24th as well! That’ll do nicely… what next?


Posted in 2011 c2c, Cycling | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Circling the East Midlands

Posted by Alan on May 23, 2011

This weekend I headed out of London into the East Midlands for some c2c training with one of my c2c tour mates. Having trekked up to Euston earlier in the week to book tickets I later discovered that I could have done that from home – East Coast (the nationalised one) will allow you to reserve a bike space, even if you aren’t using their services! Never mind, c2c tickets had to be booked anyway and it was really easy online!

Bike on train

Secured on the train

Reservations on some routes are essential – on this train there were just 2 cycle spaces for a 5 carriage train. Guestimating at around 65 seats per car,  that means 1 bicycle for every 162.5 people. So, I guess this bicycling lark better hadn’t take off then… There was even an electronic reservation sign, just like in the passenger solution.

Electronic reservation on East Midlands Trains


Our route took us through Northamptonshire, Rutland and Leicestershire. Starting at Kettering station, we went east round past Corby, north towards Oakham before curling back west towards Market Harborough, finally returning to Kettering some 42 miles (68.4km) later. There are a lot of pretty villages to pass through away from the main roads, which was nice.

Out in the country - a church and ornate wall

Out in the country

The run did prove that I am not ready for c2c yet. The hills were certainly a struggle and I was flagging a bit by mile 26 where we stopped to take on some water in a nice pub.  The maximum distance on c2c isn’t much further – but it is much more hilly. On the other hand, as we’ll set off in the morning we’re bound to stop for lunch somewhere halfway – by 35 miles in I think I had run of energy and after the sugar of a can of coke I was able to amble home, which should help matters. Any new bike will also be much lighter and in better fettle which could help.

So, a lot of exercise required in the next 4 weeks then! Adding on the transfers between Liverpool St and St Pancras and the short trip to my local station, I finished on 50.8 miles (81.2km) for the day.

Posted in Cycling, Travelling around | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

PROPER CYCLISTS – Help required

Posted by Alan on May 4, 2011

Falcon - mountain bike

'The Falcon', back when it still had off road tyres

I’ve needed a new bike for a long time. Probably for years. I got this bike when I was around 15 or 16 and still doing a paper-round, because my Peugeot Racer wasn’t really designed to carry a full sack of Sunday papers. It’s gradually transformed from a mountain bike (never used off road) into a weird hybrid, with the addition of mudguards, rack, pannier, pound shop horn, a proper bell and finally road tyres. The government’s ‘cycle to work’ has just opened so it’s time to move on to something more in tune with the riding I actually do – some utility transport riding, some ‘pleasure/health’ related (i.e. losing the moobs and moving to a normal BMI) and I guess some a bit of both. It’s 11 miles-ish to work which I could probably do in around 1 hour, around the same time it takes going via the tube ironically!

So… this is where I need some advice.  The main provider is Halfords, but they partner with Action Bikes, Cycle Republic, Leisure Lake and Condor Cycles and can order things in. Theoretically, I can buy up to 1K of cycle equipment through the scheme, however our cycle ‘storage’ is a garage containing a heap of bikes so I’m not really looking for something at the top end of what is allowed.

So what I am looking for in a bike?

  • Probably a hybrid – something with ‘road’ tyres but not for racing.
  • Mudguards and chain guard – I don’t want to dress specially for riding
  • A rack for panniers – because this is how I bring home the bread
  • Some gears
  • Some brakes – hub nice due to low maintenance but don’t care too much, I’m getting there with maintenance
  • Sprung seat
  • Kickstand nice, but not essential – see picture above!

From my early searches the best I can find are this Raleigh from Halfords, a Trek from Action and this Globe Daily from Condor. Or maybe this Pashley Paramount.

The plan is to have the new bike ready and worn in slightly for the summer solstice by which time I will be tackling the c2c across the top of England so I will need to be comfortable in the new saddle. Any recommendations before the 14th of May would be great! – I’ll need to buy the bike really quite soon as cycle to work closes again at the end of the month!

Posted in Cycling | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

To the edge and back

Posted by Alan on April 18, 2011

Lunch atop of the edge

Lunch atop of the edge

This post has sadly loitered in my drafts for far too long… A couple of weeks ago I headed out with the guys I am doing the c2c with in June for a test run from Manchester down to Alderley Edge – a fairly steep incline, with Mr Potter kindly lending me his Revolution tourer for the trip.

Looking towards Manchester

Looking towards Manchester (behind us!)

Apart from the stop start nature of the inner Manchester roads (so *many* traffic lights) we had a fairly good run out, though we did prove that I am not really for the hills of the Lake District. Picking up some food in the posh end of Alderley Edge (fantastic pork pie from the butchers, mmm) we then took to narrow lanes and were due to head to the Middlewood Way, a cycle trail heading from Macclesfield to Marple. Sadly for me, a mechanical issue on the tourer kicked in just before we went ‘off road’ and I was forced to take the train home.

Home on the train

Home on the train

Sad times. But, it has spurred me on into planning some more hilly expeditions ready for the c2c trip!

If you live in the Manchester/Cheshire area, it’s worth going up to the Edge to to check out the view – Manchester’s Beetham Tower is visible even on really hazy days…

Posted in Cycling, Travelling around | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »