Hunstanton to London in a day

19 Jul

I took a few days to visit a friend in Hunstanton, Norfolk.  I took the train from Kings Cross London to Kings Lynn and from there I cycled the 16 miles to Hunstanton.  After a couple of days it was time to make my return journey, I hadn’t put much planning into it so I decided to follow the National Cycle Network Route 11 to Cambridge and from there I knew the route back to London.

A couple of miles from Hunstanton I joined NCN Route 1 which took me past Sandringham palace along some quiet country lanes and towards Kings Lynn.  Somehow on my arrival on the outskirts of the town I managed to miss a turning on the cycle route and ended up far from the route I intended to follow.  With what I thought to be 114 miles to go before arriving at my destination I was a little frustrated but after consulting my phone I was back on route and following the Great Ouse river out of town.

 

On the outskirts of Kings Lynn

From Hunstanton Route 1 and Route 11 follow the same route before splitting, I would be following Route 11 to Cambridge.  After a few miles of great countryside I passed through a couple of little villages including Watlington and onto the town of Downham.  From here the route embarked on what seemed like an endless straight flat road named Hundred Foot Bank, with a headwind it was hard going and with the flat landscape the scenery was unchanging and the ride started to take its toll.  I was only 40 miles into the trip and still had 95 miles remaining.

 

I managed to keep up my moving average speed of 13 mph throughout the day

Finally I got to Ely, the route took me right up to the Cathedral which was  a great sight after the relentlessly flat landscape I had travelled through, I stopped to take a quick photo and I was on my way again, keen to get to the other side of town I followed the blue NCN signs, but as I left the town I started to recognise the route, somehow I had entered the town centre and managed to follow a  route out towards the way I had come in.  After a second try I successfully managed to find my way to the correct side of town and I was following the river.

The route along the river became traffic free and tarmaced which was great for my Tifosi with only 25mm tyres, after passing over a couple of cattle grids I passed some cows along the route, all was well until I quietly crept passed the final three, as I was side by side with the final standing cow I realised there was large bull with a ring in his nose laying down on my right, I tried to accelerate but the bike only seemed to wobble more, I brushed past the standing cow and for a moment thought of stopping to take a photo but with many miles ahead and a large bull behind I decided to press on.  Further on the tarmac ended and I was on a gravel path which slowed my progress, worryingly I passed a sign saying “Tractors only”, luckily the path didn’t become that rough and I was able to ride the whole route.

Not the type of sign you want to see when your tyres are only 25mm wide

After 60 miles my right knee started to hurt, but according to my calculations Cambridge must be close by now, upon approaching a sign I was made aware there was another 21 miles between me and Cambridge.

Twenty Six miles later I was on the outskirts of Cambridge and in familiar territory, I decided to stop at a village shop I have used before.  It was my first real stop of the day, the bar bag filled with cake and snickers bars had kept me going until now with only the occasional photo stop required.

Almost at Cambridge

Riding along familiar territory gave me a release of energy but with only 15 miles until my destination my legs gave in, I had cycled 125 miles, mainly along flat roads but with two panniers and a bar bag weighed down with cake.  Luckily the last part of my route was a 5 mile gentle descent which I spent free wheeling in the rain.  I eventually arrived at Buckhurst Hill completing my longest ride to date of 135 miles, the bike was covered with mud and I wasn’t any cleaner, my legs had decided they no longer wanted to work so I dragged the bike inside and settled down for a well earned rest.

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One Response to “Hunstanton to London in a day”

  1. musekidd August 13, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    What a great adventure. I’m sure writing it all down was just impossible, but the juicy bits are great. I love the cows sleeping by the path and in front of the chair sculpture(?)… also the signs for the route posted just below the sign for tractors only is Fabulous. That’s a must print out for the Sustrans office! Keep on pedalin’ and bloggin’ my brother… keep on.

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