80 miles (Total 232 miles which is 373 kilometres as from now we will be working in km – sorry Mr Farrage but that is just how it is).
Today was the last day we cycled as a four We arose early, breakfasted in some style in the dining room at Westminster College (converted back from music venue from last night) and then got delayed as Bernie sheared off a tyre valve when pumping up her tyre. Such muscles after only a few days!
We got going after a few more bike bits were attended to and cycled through Cambridge. We passed Mills & Reeve at about 9am when some thoughts occurred to me about how lucky we were and how the lawyers there were toiling away. However hours just 24 hours earlier Sarah had been praising an M & R lawyer who I will not name in case he reads this!
We ambled through Cherry Hinton towards Fulbourn after Chris had his first puncture of the day. He changed the tube and we were soon on our way. Chris was to suffer really bad luck with other 3 punctures later – none of which seemed related or caused by anything specific. Anyway having finally got rid of the urban areas we got to the relative calm of the countryside and Chris’ bike developed a rattle. It took Bernie Sherlock Lock to diagnose the problem after all the men failed to do so, and it was soon mended. However all these stops took quite a long time so it was good we started early or at least not late!
The countryside around Cambridge has the reputation for being flat but our route to the South East of the city took us up to 400 feet, with regular up and downs. So it was not boring cycling but was not easy either. I had the trailer which seemed to have had rocks secreted in the bag overnight or at least on each climb. But we gradually knocked off the miles and stopped for coffee at a cafe near HMP High Point. Bernie was tempted to head off for an impromptu inspection of the medical facilities but we talked her out of it (I am not sure that irony works well in a blog).
More beautiful countryside followed (although I am not sure the residents of High Point would quite see it that way) and then twang – one of Chris’ spokes broke. The spokes we had brought were, of course, the wrong size so I tweaked the wheel as best I could but he needed a bike shop to get the wheel sorted. We were out 10 miles from Sudbury so we headed there and we treated brilliantly by a Bike Shop in Cross Street (sorry cannot recall name) but anyone who needs a bike shop in Sudbury should check them out first!
We lunched by the river whilst the bike shop weaved their magic and Chris came back reassured that the front wheel was fixed and there was no reason why he should get any more punctures in his back wheel (2 so far today). There was of course no “reason” but 2 miles out of Sudbury it happened again. He retained remarkably good humour, and he changed the tyre whilst I watched a sparrow hawk going through his paces in a nearby field.
The more minor roads and we were at Manningtree Station which was our final stop as a foursome. Anthony arrived in the car from nearby Ipswich where he is on placement with BT for the sumer. He brought Bernie’s trailer and we lost Kate to London and Chris to Ipswich. He is planning to cycle back to Bewdley for which we wish him a good, puncture free ride.
Bernie and I ambled through the town of Manningtree (delightful) and then the 12 miles along the estuary to Harwich. Morrisons for provisions and the old town for Fish and Chips (having circumnavigated the town twice looking for somewhere to eat. Harwich doesn’t come top of the list for culinary venues but the fish and chip restaurant (they do other things too) was excellent. As the sun set over the estuary we got our tired legs going again for the last mile to the ferry port as the light was fading. We clocked 80 miles as we entered the port, 2400 feet of climbing and with great memories of fantastic countryside, lots of laughs with my siblings but now a new phase starts as we are on our own (and I am typing this on the boat).
Tomorrow is, of course, another day.