Robert Page tells us of how they got on:
Well 13 of us set off from Whitehaven on the Wednesday morning and we all rode into Sunderland together on the Friday afternoon.
We had great weather for almost all of the trip with just an hours rain on the Thursday afternoon and again about an hours rain as we all cycled into Sunderland on Friday.
The trip was a great success, and the support crew were fantastic in providing the weary riders with Bacon buttys hot tea and coffee at the morning stop, with pasta and tomato sauce served up for lunch again with lots of hot tea and coffee.
The first day was a very nice ride from Whitehaven (after dipping our wheels in the Irish Sea) onto Keswick and then Graystoke for the first nights stop. Lots of disused railway lines and quiet country roads that were a pleasure to ride along. We had some great trail riding down from the highest point of the day the Whinlatter Pass into Keswick. The sleeping arrangements on Wednesday night were interesting, we stayed in a bunk house in Greaystoke with 8 in one room (in bunk beds) 5 in another (again in bunk beds) and 2 sharing a nice double bed..... but we cant say who !
Needless to say we were up early for day 2.
Day two brought about some big hills with a long and hard ride up Hartside fell and other hills I don't even want to remember, some of the downhill bits were very fast and we had one or two burnt out brakes by the end of the day. We also reached the highest point of the ride on day 2 Black Hill at 609 mts, crossing the border from Cumbria into Northumberland. The over night stop was in Allenheads at the Allenheads Inn, the beer was good...... very very good!
Day three was the final slog...48 downhill miles all the way to the finish.... Not!
We set off straight up another long hill into some very picturesque country side, disused pits and tumbledown farms but it was like riding along the top of the world and was really very nice. A long climb brought about another long decent which, was a good breather. Then the last proper hill of the ride out of Rockhope. Now has anyone ever skied down the black slope 'Face de Bellevarde' in Val d'Isère, I was once asked do we ski down it or jump off it!... Well it was like riding a bike up it...but without the snow!
We once again stopped at the top for our bacon sarni and a brew. Then we were on the Waskerly way another old railway line that runs down into Consett a really good long down hill section, then on into Stanley followed by Beamish for our lunch of pasta and you guessed it tomato sauce!
So the last section was now upon us a nice steady 15 miles down into Sunderland, we all rode the last section together, into Sunderland as one big group. Onto the Quayside and along the prom, before all riding down the beach and into the sea to dip our wheels in the North Sea.
136 miles of great fun and smiles from all involved, well it should of been 136 miles ! some of us went a little wrong on day 3 and did an additional 6 miles or so, just before the mega hill out of Rockhope... oops. Then we decided as we were staying in Newcastle not Sunderland to ride to the hotel on the quayside in Newcastle.... hmmm this was a little longer than it looked on the map.... with a ferry boat crossing and many miles of cycle path still to go, so all in some of us will of cycled approx 70 miles on the last day, but it was worth it.
The organisation was great and everything just dropped into place, big thanks must go to Angela Frank who sorted out our accommodation along the route, Paul and Rob the 2 chefs in a van, to Plumbs for sponsoring our expenses for the trip and all the guys who took part in this event, it really did go like clockwork and we all had a great time whilst raising some cash for a great cause.
Thanks once again to every one who has sponsored us either on line or one of the many sheets knocking around work, when we have the total amount I will let you all know just how much cash we have raised!