Rampton to Rochester
Route: Rampton to Rochester
Days on the bike: 6
Total distance travelled: 517 km / 321 miles
After a warriors portion of porridge, blueberries and protein powder (thanks John) I was on my way for what should have been a short day to Derby. The headwind had different ideas though, so I spent my time battling away and not making much progress. I am quickly realising that headwind can be a cyclists worst nightmare.
Had a great night with my old mate Marco and Emily, great food and a good catch up. After a coma like sleep I found a lovely note and a very appreciated packed lunch of pasta and energy bars…. Legends.
The next day was the most beautiful so far. Once I passed Nottingham it was all rolling hills and lush farm land, reminiscent of my beloved Yorkshire Dales.
That night I would be staying with my first Warmshowers host in a village near Corby. I had such a nice welcoming and spent the evening eating traditional Iranian food and chatting about the world. My hosts were well travelled and we shared the same views about many things.
Route finding has been OK. I look for the quietest roads on the map and use GPS intermittently to confirm I am where I think I am, whenever I’m near a big town I use GPS to navigate through the maze of streets. So far everything is working well.
The next day I was met by my host Dave, 15 miles from his home near Cambridge so we could cycle together. 72 years old, fitter than me and a proper adventurer. Loved spending the night hearing his crazy stories like rebuilding a bridge for 3 days in the middle of nowhere so he could continue on bicycle.
I said I was a bike numpty and it’s been proved… When I got to Dave’s house he very kindly offered to give my bike a once over. Immediately he noticed the back wheel was loose, apparently I didn’t tighten the quick release ha ha. I was also riding on very low pressure tyres, oops.
Before leaving in the morning I checked the weather forecast and with the promise of hailstones I set off in anticipation. At 1 o’clock just like the forecaster said, golf balls started falling from the sky. There’s something strangely satisfying about the noise of hail smashing into a helmet but after a while it gets annoying.
Today was also the day I made a bad route choice. I followed a tasty looking track that turned into an OK grass path that turned into bog. I was too stubborn to turn back and dragged me and my bike through the mud. I lost my shoe a few times but I found the road again, eventually. I’m OK but my bike still hasn’t forgiven me.
A real plus point to cycling is that you see and hear everything. Deer, Hare, squirrel and loads of birds. For other people in stealth mode this can be a bad thing, so if you’re caught short then make sure you’re well hidden…. That goes for the lady in red I caught pooping in the bushes somewhere near Blackmore.
Another cosy evening spent with a keen cycling tourer and loads of good tips… Definitely going to buy a whistle to confuse the packs of rapid dogs.
I really am being spoilt by my hosts… Comfortable beds, amazing food and great knowledge. What more could you ask for?!
The next day was practically a rest day. A short 25 miles to Rochester with a ferry crossing over the Thames at Tilbury.