The storm has gone and I’m on the road again, I was not expecting a day off yesterday, but the storm was really terrible, a friend even pointed me to this article showing, apparently, a waterfall was blown backward by the wind.
Never mind the waterfall, I would have been blown about no end with my large displacement vehicle. Better stay put and do some forward planning. Two maps for today and tomorrow, three days in Warwickshire and then four maps to get to Southampton, right? Wrooooong!! This morning I was told I have to be in Southampton one day before and with all the social organised in Warwickshire looks like I’ll have to load the bike on a train and skip a day of cycling.
I felt bad about it for a while but then I realised that time with friends is worth more than religious adherence to a plan. This is why I think that time spent planning is time wasted.
Today was a very relaxing day and indeed one in which I got to do a few new things. I stopped to a road side joint for breakfast (not strictly speaking new) and had a chat with the guy about the decline of British coal industry and the fact that the two “Eton boys” don’t know their …. from their elbow, not sure I caught what was the first word.
Aside from politics and bacon buns the guy had something more in the hat for me, he pointed me to the one of Derbyshire cycle trails which run just the other side of the deadly A515 I was currently on. I checked it out and it was not paved but the gravel was compact enough for an easy ride. Thanked the guy and got onto it. The path went all the way to Ashbourne and was built on what was a railway track linking a limestone quarry to the train mainline in Ashbourne. On it I met a few dog walker, a few cyclists and a lot of pheasants, all of them were pretty puzzled at seeing me filming with my GoPro on the extension pole.
At the end of the trail there was Ashbourne and here I did some food shopping as well as pumping up the tyres of the bike in the trail-end national park hut.
Next stop was Burton on Trent, I was thinking that would make a great place to stop for lunch and, given that Derbyshire is pretty 3G poor, book the hostel for tonight. In the end I did both those things as well as buying a cradle for the fuel canister to fit to the bike and got my one pair of trousers fixed by a Mongolian taylor.
He looked like he was in charge, lives in Birmingham and commutes to Burton to work. Has only been in the UK for a year but his english was quite good. His colleague from Mumbai on the other hand, did not speak english and kept asking question about my trip via our Mongolian friend. He was quite nice and even wanted to be photographed with me and the bike. I gave him a card with the website address and he might be reading this post at some point in the future, when his english improves.
Lunch had, pants fixed I was off to the last bit of the journey to the YHA National Forest. Coming out of Burton I hit the school run and in the queue I found a Scottish car, how did I know? Well, they opened the window and started flying a Saltire and beeping the horn. It was fun. I took a couple of wrong turns but I made it to the hostel in good time and after a shower, some bike maintenance it’s back to the warm embrace of the broadband connection.