By Richard Mathews
A previous report described preparation for this ride.
If you have not ridden the C2C, you do not know what you are missing. Having just completed the ride on my Brompton, I can honestly say it was one of the best cycle journeys I have made. My son James accompanied me on his Trice that proved a challenge in itsself!
We booked with Holiday Lakeland, to do the journey in 5 days. Holiday Lakeland transported our luggage, and had made all the hotel arrangements. Having stayed at The Swan in Thornthwaite on Sunday night, where we received a comprehensive briefing, on Monday morning we and 14 other intrepid C2C’eers were transported by coach to Whitehaven to dip our wheels in the Irish Sea and start our adventure. The journey is usually done West to East to take advantage of the prevailing wind. So we left Whitehaven with a stiff wind in our faces! The wind stayed easterly all week, which proved useful as if you found the wind behind you, it invariably meant that you had got your navigation wrong. We were lead out of Whitehaven by a veteran of the C2C, who seemed somewhat concerned when he saw our mounts, suggesting we should stick to the roads.
There have been many articles written about the C2C, you can even buy the video, so I will concentrate on how the bikes faired on a journey, for which most people choose a mountain bike.
We avoided the two roughest sections, choosing the alternative routes. James had only two problems with the Trice, having a lightly laden back wheel proved a problem on some of the loose surfaced hill sections. I tried to help by loading his single pannier with as much of my gear as possible! Secondly, the barriers erected on the tracks to keep motorcycles etc off, meant we had to lift the Trice over. I began to feel like his “Passe Partout” opening gates and helping lift over barriers whenever required.
I have owned my Brompton for three years and it never ceases to amaze me. I had no problems during the entire journey, the hair-raising descents on the forest paths were exhilarating, and, as long as I picked my line carefully and watched out for potholes, the Brompton coped with it all. I am ashamed to say I did not even notice the broken rear spoke until cleaning the bike on our return. The spoke, having broken at the nipple, had neatly wrapped itself around an adjacent spoke, but still the wheel stayed true. As I mentioned in my preamble, I have double chain rings, dropping on to the lower one to climb Winlatter Pass in the Lake District. I did not put it back on the big ring for over 100 miles, until 8 miles west of Consett, after which it is a 33 mile downhill cruise into Sunderland. I seem to have got accustomed to the riding position, the stubby bar ends help. Before leaving I contacted Steve Parry and purchased one of his brackets which allowed me to fit my Carradice bar bag to the front block. This proved very useful, if for nothing else, it made carrying and reading the map easy. Coupled with the Kwiklift fitted with a saddlebag, I had ideal stowage for everything I needed with space to spare when required.
I have been trying to think of a sensible reason for using a Brompton on this trip but I can not think of one, I just love my Brompton (I even slept with on the last night!), I seem to use it for everything else so why not? Mind you, by the time I get James’s Trice in the car I don’t have room for anything else.
Congratulations to Sustrans for the Route, it is excellent. I have already sent off for more maps to plan next year’s trip. Will it be Scotland or Devon?
Finally, thanks to Holiday Lakeland, for a well organised holiday and to my fellow C2Ceer’s, Vic, for being my assistant Passe Partout! The Queen of the Mountains, Hissing Sid, Chris for showing us all how it should all be done and to everyone else for their companionship. Lastly, to the guy on the Yellow Cannondale, How’s your Grandmother’s egg sucking?
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Copyright (C)1999 Richard Mathews
Last updated: 22 August 1999