Friday, 12 October 2012

Day 12 Goes to the Norfolk Broads

Thursday 11th October - Day 12            Daily Mileage 485 – Total  3585

“Hola, ?como estas Jeannie?”

“Are you mad? Its half past bloody three in the morning!”

“Muy bien, gracias”

Well that’s what was going on in my head when I woke up, in reality I just sat up, switched off my mobile phones alarm, looked at the clock which read 3.31am and snuck into the bathroom.

Missing my toothbrush and getting toothpaste all over the sink wasn’t in the plan.

“See you later, love you” I whispered in Jeannie’s ear very quietly, then I gave her a kiss.

“Take it steady and ride carefully, love you too” came the  sleepy response.

“I will, bye”


 I walked round the bed and out into the hall.

“Love you Ben, love you Lilie Rose, see you later” I whispered through both of their open bedroom doors as I walked past.

The hardest part of any ride was over, saying good bye to the people I love most in the world.

Downstairs I started to kit up, LD pants & vest which Phil had kindly brought back from the IBA Conference in America for me. The kit is great, really well designed and brilliant for going to the loo in due to a small square pocket on the front of the pants (may be too much information that but it works amazingly well so I thought I’d mention it).

On with the free Furygan long sleeve stretch T-shirt that came with my leather jacket from Rochdale All Bikes. Next on, my short sleeve Horizons Unlimited “They told me to get lost – so I did” T-shirt. Oxford thermal socks followed by ex-Army black Gortex socks which is a brilliant combination being both warm and 100% dry without being too bulky.

Then it’s on with the Gerbing heated jacket, Dianese Gortex trousers, heated  jacket always tucked into the trousers as it warms my lower back very nicely thank you. On with the Hein Gerick high touring boots, Yamaha neck tube, Dainese Gortex Jacket, ear plugs, Multi-Tech helmet and finally Seal Skinz cycling gloves. That’s me ready for the off! 

First stop ASDA for fuel at the “pay at the pump” so I don’t have to get off  Mr T. £1.35.9p a litre. (I never get the .01p change mind! Strange that don’t you think?). 

Lincoln – The reason for the early start was the thought of riding into the centre of Lincoln to get the photo of the Gold Post Box right near the Cathedral filled me with dread. I’ve ridden through Lincoln during the day before and it can be an absolute nightmare due to the narrow twisty streets with hundreds of parked cars, not to mention the millions of tourist.

Still riding over the M62 all I could think of was “Hola, ?como estas?, Muy bien, ?y tu?, Estupendo” “bloody Spanish lessons who needs them?”

The M62 was its usual average speed limit monitored 50 mph boring self. “When will they ever finish those damned road works?” There must be more gantries, fixed speed cameras, average speed cameras and now “normal” video surveillance speed cameras along the M62 than on any other stretch of road in the country. That includes the roads I rode on in London last week too. All I can say is George Orwell was right, even if he got his dates a little out! “Big Brother” is watching us.

Thank the Lord for the serenity of the A1, my favourite strip of black stuff in the whole of the UK. Purely because I know it like the back of my hand. I even know when the red, white and amber strips that light my way are going to come to an abrupt end just before the 50mph “Accident Calming Zone” kicks in at Elkesley. Now when is someone going to repair that  bloody “damaged barrier” and shift the 500 meter stretch of 50mph restriction signs that have been there for nearly two years? The other question I have regarding the A1 is, “Why does it have so many bloody names?” The A1, the A1(M), the Doncaster Bye-Pass and my favourite the Great North Road, come on how many names does a road need? “Por favour” “Disculpe, no le etendi” no me neither! 

Riding past all the parked cars in the central side streets of Lincoln at 5.35am I knew I’d made the right decision to leave at 4.00am

Pulling into the cobbled square Mr T’s new rear shock absorber had its work cut out but did a mighty fine job of keeping me safe. I spotted the Gold Post Box straight away and parked up at the side ready for the photo. Behind me the arches leading to the Cathedral where well lit but below them lay an eerie mist. As I got my camera out I saw a movement behind me in Mr T’s mirror. Through the mist I could just see a hooded figure coming towards me. 6.00am in a morning in the centre of Lincoln on dark misty morning in October, I was about to be murdered  by a hooded assailant with no face…………………

The hooded figure came closer and closer, black jeans, torn dirty trainers, grey hoody with hands tucked firmly in the hoody pocket.,no doubt concealing the murder weapon.

The only thing that flashed through my head was ……

“Hola, Buenas dias. Como te llamas?” Bloody Spanish………… aaaahhhhgggg!

And obviously “I wonder if he’ll take me photo with the Gold Post Box?”.

Sadly he pulled down his hood some 50 meters away and sparked up shattering the illusion but hey it was fun while it lasted. Hood back up he passed me buy without  even a sideways glance. Still I’m alive to tell the tale so “all’s well that ends well” as they say.

1 Exchequergate Lincoln - Sophie Wells
Gold medal Equestrian: Mixed Individual Championship Test - Grade IV

Belton with Browston – “Great Yarmouth to you and me!” Pictures taken, murder averted,  I was on my way through some of the most stunning countryside England has to offer. It’s a bit flat and boring in places but that’s made up for by the twists and turns  that lead over to the East coast through the Norfolk Broads. It’s 127 miles from Lincoln to Great Yarmouth and takes about two and a half hours. Riding down the A17 towards Kings Lynn was nice and steady due to the build-up of morning works traffic but once I was passed Kings Lynn and onto the A47 the roads cleared and the fun began. Heading towards Norfolk I decided to stop off at one of the many roundabout services that line the  route. After a quick text to Jeannie to confirm I was Ok and just 50 miles short of Gold Post Box number two, I tucked into my “Double Bacon & Egg Burger” yuk,  but the coffee was nice!
Being told to “Turn left then navigate off road” got me all exited but it was very short lived as the Gold Post Box was there at the side of the village hall. 9.20am and with two Gold Post Boxes done I had just one more left to photograph before heading home for a late lunch.

Station Road South Belton - Jessica-Jane Applegate
Gold Medal Swimming: Women’s 200m Freestyle, S14

Doddington – What a brilliant name for a village, Doddington. Reminded me of Ken Dodd-ington. “Simple thing’s” I know. The ride over from Belton with Browston to Doddington is stunning. The roads clear, twisting and turning and lined with some of the most amazing roads signs I’ve ever seen.  I don’t know if you’ve ever realised but I just love weird and wonderful road signs. From the two motorcyclist nearly running into the back of a truck in Spain to the wild boar crossing the road sign in Croatia they make me laugh. Lincoln can boast some of the very best.

Cars with the front ends hanging over the canal sides, “Think don’t sink” signs and my favourite. This

Love it! 

Now that’s just plain cheating! Still the three police motorcyclists that rode past me on the other side all nodded as they passed. Must have been down to the fact that I was about the only other biker on the roads that morning and they were all in a good mood riding together.

Having watched the temperature gauge drop from 17 degrees as I pulled out of the garage, plummet down to 9 degrees then dive even further to 5 degrees as I headed over towards King Lynn it wasn't surprising there weren't any other bikers out.  I was so pleased to be turning my heated jacket off as the temperature rose to a very comfortable 15 degrees in Doddington.

What a beautiful little place Doddington is. The streets are lined in places with ornate trees and one house in particular caught my eye as I rode past. So much so that I stopped and took a picture The Round House is a small thatched property and looks picture box perfect.

How perfect is this house? 

New Street Doddington - Johnnie Peacock
Gold medal Athletics: Mens 100m

So with all three photos taken there was just the small matter of the 163 mile ride home. However me being me and it still only being 11.30am I thought I’d head due north into the true Norfolk Broads and enjoy some of their banked and bouncy back roads pushing the return trip up to 184 miles in the process. “Who’s counting?”.
Arriving home at 2.35pm I can truly say that yesterday’s ride  has  to be one of the most enjoyable day out I’ve had so far on my #GoldBoxJourney. Purely down to the fact that I took my time, stopped when I wanted to. Enjoyed some fantastic views and more importantly rode on some of the most technically challenging roads that I’ve ridden on in some.

Day Twelve - 3 Gold Post Boxes

With 78 Gold Post Boxes now visited I have a further 30 to visit in the remaining 10 days of my 22 day allocation, “Bring on the good times”. Next stop………. Penzance!

Can you see the potential "Murderer"?
"He's behind You"!!!

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