Gloucester to Bristol and the day I spoke to soon | Cycling John O’Groats to Lands End

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I got up to a beautiful sunny day.

Hotel reception had no idea whether I’d paid or not, but seemed happy to take it on trust that I had.

It seemed about par for the course as far as this hotel is concerned.

Weirdly protective over potted plants too.

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I set off following the NCN route along the Gloucester to Sharpness canal. It was good at first, but after about 5 miles the surface began to deteriorate.

10 minutes later I was on little more than a bumpy dirt track. An all too familiar spoke scenario was looming, I could feel it in my bones.

I resolved to get off the canal as soon as possible, but I was in the middle of nowhere.

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Lovely, but definitely the middle of nowhere.

When I eventually found Tarmac I gave the back wheel some close scrutiny.

It was warped. Damn.

I was 28 miles from Bristol, so switched to the A38 for the fastest and smoothest route in. I had a good bike shop recommendation so it was time to focus.

I was a day and a half ahead of schedule, and I figured I could leave it with them for a couple of days.

Odd how 80 miles could pass so easily yesterday, yet less than 40 be so difficult by comparison today.

It must have been the hills.

I arrived in Bristol and headed straight for the excellent Mud Dock where they confirmed there was nothing fundamentally broken, and tensioned my spokes up while I had a fantastic burger for lunch.

It was the earliest finish after the shortest day cycling so far.

I was still knackered though.

Bike computer stats:

Ride time: 3h 50m
Distance: 38.99 miles
Ave speed: 10.1 mph
Max speed: 26.9 mph

Continue reading …

Index

Preparation

Kitted out and ready to ride

Things you would rather not know about the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness

20 miles with a bloke called Tim, and a slight change of plan

Day 1 – John O’Groats to Inverness

Day 2 – Ness to Nevis and my nemesis rears its head

Day 3 – Fort William to Tarbert with only one brake

Day 4 – Tarbert to Ayr and the battle of Arran

Day 5 – Ayr to Dumfries and tasting defeat in the Forest of Galloway

Day 6 – Dumfries to Windermere and thoughts on cycling earworms

Day 7 – Windermere to Liverpool and the birds-eye of the storm

Day 8 – Liverpool to Shrewsbury and the ferry across the Mersey

Day 9 – Shrewsbury to Gloucester with sun, showers and an injured Armadillo

Day 10 – Gloucester to Bristol and the day I spoke to soon

Day 11 – Bristol to Bath, a day of disused railway lines

Day 12 – Bath to Tiverton and the breakfast hostage

Day 13 – Tiverton to Lostwithiel and fatigue causes forgetfulness

Day 14 – Lostwithiel to Penzance, and the mining trail

Day 15 – Penzance to Lands End (and back again)

Learning to walk again

Ideas for cycling end to end, with the benefit of hindsight

Kit List

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