DAY 1 – After a morning of final checks and last minute adjustments to kit, we left my parents house at 11am with Colchester our final destination for the day. Not having ridden the bikes fully laden they were a little tricky to manage at first, especially getting moving, as the weight of the panniers affects the balance of bike and the steering at slow speeds. It didn’t take to long to adjust and we were soon on our way, passing through Kedington and Clare without incident.
We followed a route I had previously set out using Google Maps, and we turned onto quiet country lanes, avoiding the busier ‘A’ roads. The only problem with the quieter country lanes is they tend not to go around the hills, but rather straight up and over them. This may not seem much, especially in a relatively flat part of the country – but some of the hills, especially on the road between Sudbury and Bures, were as steep and difficult to climb as any I hope to encounter on this trip. I suppose the only saving grace is that the climbs didn’t last too long.
It was enjoyable to cycle along the rural country lanes, taking in the rolling hills and the amazing country houses as we passed. The time flew and we arrived in Colchester around 5pm having cycled about 60km. Not TdF pace for sure, but we were pleased to have t least made it.
We found the campsite and paid for a pitch (GBP19). I began to pitch the tent and the drizzle started. Soon, the drizzle turned to a full on downpour and everything got soaked. I learnt two things from this;
1. If it looks like it will rain, wait a while and pitch the tent when it stops.
2. Don’t pitch the tent under a tree, as when it stops raining, the water will drip onto the tent all night and ensure it is soaked in the morning.
# 1 didn’t occur to me until after I had finished setting up the tent and everything was soaked, then 5 minutes later the rain stopped and the sun came out.
#2 hadn’t occurred to me until an old guy chatting to Yami pointed it out. Then when my Dad arrived as it was getting dark, and the first thing he said went something along the lines of “I wouldn’t have pitched my tent under the tree. It’ll drip on you all night.” Oh well. Live and learn.
I mentioned my Dad arriving. Yep, he and Mum came out to see how our first day had passed. Well its only an hour away in the car! We all went out to dinner in Colchester, which was a really cool end to a long but enjoyable day. They also brought along a shorter handlebar stem for Yami’s bike, which had been giving her back some problems as it was slightly too long and too low, forcing her to stretch too much.
Thanks Mum and Dad!
- Route: Haverhill – Colchester
- Distance: 45km
- Time Riding: 6 hours