Take away Fish & Chips is a big tradition here in the UK and everybody has their preferred Fish & Chip Shop, but even so cycling a 150 mile round trip would generally be considered a little over the top! But that’s exactly what we did on Sunday with a journey that took us from Peterborough to Hunstanton and back.
For just under a year now I have been joining in with a group local in my village called Yaxley Riders, we have several regular rides that go out from the village each week and then there are additional rides that happen more infrequently. This is one of those infrequent rides, it happened successfully last year and I joined in for the repeat this year.
Well at least now I know that I can ride 150 miles in a day. I also know that I can ride around 130 of those miles at a decent whack; it was around 17 mph. Unfortunately it seems that I eventually reach a point where although I can keep going, my legs will kick back into ‘get me home’ mode. Big thanks to the guy who dropped back to keep me company at this point for the last 10 miles back to Peterborough, it’s always nicer to have someone to ride with.
As for the rest of the ride, well that bit was pretty awesome. We met up with some other groups of riders near Wisbech and then again near King’s Lynn, a big up for the Black Bear Cyclists for having a particularly smart kit, and at our peak must have numbered at least 35 riders. This led to a great cycling dynamic where there was always someone to ride alongside and you could move forward or drop back as the ride took you. Chat to someone new, get a bout of bike envy as you passed someone riding something particularly smart and so on.
Before arriving at Hunstanton we passed through a slightly hilly area and as always on the hills where I feel most at home, I pushed forward on the way up and practiced my best ‘tuck’ position on the way back down. Did pushing hard up the hillier bits leave me wanting at the end? Maybe, but then I wouldn’t ever do anything different, in my opinion hills are there to be conquered not spun up feebly!
Hunstanton provided a chance to rest up for a short while, restock on water or sticks of rock and to feast on the Fish & Chips that we came for. Fisher’s of Hunstanton was the chippy of choice and the sun came out for lunch so we sat around on the green. The fish and chips were well appreciated at this point in the day, but like many of the other riders I erred on the side of caution by not stuffing in all of the portion of chips; a belly full of that sort of food is not the best riding fuel.
We set off for home in better and warmer weather than we’d left Peterborough in. It had been cool and cloudy throughout the morning and the feel of the warm sun on our backs as we rode from Hunstanton out through Sandringham was welcome. There was some kind of classic car event on in the Sandringham area that day, something that we’d been mildly aware of earlier as we were passed by an unusually high number of MGs. So it seems that there were plenty of enthusiasts out on the roads of Norfolk that day and as costly as a high end bike may be, you can be sure that both the AC Cobra and Jaguar E type that passed on the other side at one point cost a fair bit more.
On arrival back into Peterborough I headed back home, noticing that I’d be just a mile or so below 150 as I rolled up my driveway. Sure at this point I was tired and my pace was below what I would have managed if fresh but by no sense of the imagination was I too tired to do a lap of Yaxley. So to push my distance figure up and over the 150 mark I headed off for my lap of honour; or at least that’s how I like to imagine it! And coming up the hill past the church I decided that a selfie on the fabled ‘white bench’ was in order.
So at the white bench where most Yaxley Riders rides head out from, I was finishing off my longest ride yet. Feeling leg weary but very pleased with my efforts, I clipped back into the pedals for one last time that day and coasted home.