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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

To cycle or walk?

I am in a quandary. Over the last two weeks I have been on the bike several times, and I am finding  it is less aggravating for my knee than walking. The trouble is my heart is truly more in walking than cycling. Walking can be paced more comfortably and there is more time to absorb the attractions of the environment, although cycling can be good for observing wildlife because you approach more silently. Cycling can be desperately hard work with those lung bursting ascents - I hate the idea of  pushing and will fight almost to explosion point to get to the top without. Wind is more debilitating on a bike, and you always seem to be riding into it even when you have turned for home on a circular route.

Next week I hope to go off with the caravan to climb Marilyns and I  intend to take the bike. I may try a short cycle camping trip after that to see how it goes. I have found I can get all my backpacking gear into two rear paniers quite easily, so what on earth those people I see toiling north up our nearby A6 towards John 'o Groats laden with paniers back and front and other assorted baggage are carrying I often wonder.

My cycle route yesterday took me north following the  River Lyvennet, a tributary of the Eden, which I had never heard of before. Driving up to Shap, cycling on the route, and returning home via the M6 was all eerily free of traffic to say it was bank holiday Monday.

The area bounded by Tebay, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and the M6 is worthy of further exploration on the bike. The Lyvennet valley is partly limestone country, but with many houses built of red sandstone (I think), providing  a characteristic landscape meriting a return trip.

On the way home I came across Pete (my walking friend on Thursdays) and his wife Liz's car parked in Orton. I thought they were in the chocolate shop café but couldn't find them, then I discovered the newly opened Silver Yard Café which they had "discovered", and there they were. There is always competition between us to sample anything new that opens first, so they won this time, and I had my second brew and cake of the day as consolation. The café is well recommended.

Crosby Ravensworth church

At Crosby Ravensworth

Maulds Meaburn


At Morland. A great discovery - 9.5 out of 10.
 Beware! Closed Tuesdays

Zoom to Blencathra (Saddleback)

Murton Pike

The Howgills taken from road north of Orton (NY 629 099) on my way home


Anonymous said...

You might guess: for me it would be walk, every time. Both for the reasons you give and because people drive like lunatics on country lanes.
In my teens I was a keen cyclist, but although I'm still occasionally persuaded to venture out on my bike with the family, it's only reluctantly that I do so.

Sir Hugh said...

Beatingthebounds - I agree about the cars, and if I were to camp/cycle I would have to choose a route predominantly on the most minor roads possible.

John said...

Walk...although I do enjoy cycling! Having dodgy knees certainly encourages me to cycle more, but an uncomfortable derriere is something of a fly in the ointmenet.

Perhaps a more comfortable saddle might make my rides more pleasant....but I reckon walking will win-out in the end, for me anyway.


afootinthehills said...

Walk every time although cycling has its place. I've cycled a fair bit on the relatively quiet roads of NW Skye, but even here cars can be troublesome and I've often found myself racing to get to a passing place before the next lunatic swept past.

On one occasion the driver gave me a cheery wave with one hand while using a mobile held in the other!

Sir Hugh said...

John - Perhaps if you used the ointment on the derrière instead of letting the flies get at it you may be more comfortable? Anyway it looks like an all round consensus favouring walking.

Afoot - Reminds me of toiling up a road in France in intense heat and the passenger of a passing car leaning out and shouting "courage!". I think that's what they do on the Tour.

Sir Hugh said...

From Gimmer - Gimmer has tried to post the comment shown below, but received an error message, also included below. Here is Gimmer's comment:

i keep getting the following

whoops - that's an error'

The following errors were found:
Input error: Memcache value is null for FormRestoration

If you are still having trouble, we recommend:
Clear your browser's cache and cookie

(which I have tried to no avail!)

here's what I was trying to post

I have always thought that 'Lyvennet 'is the loveliest, most evocative name for an English river - far above Windrush or Evenlode:
its delightful stream, flowing through these quintessential English villages, makes that gentle valley a perfect balm for the soul.
The quite irrelevant fact that we went rush-bearing and maypole dancing on these sunlit village greens as children may have something to do with these visions of earthly paradise, that haunt me yet!
And as I know a man who knows a man who is the vicar of Crosby Ravensworth, be careful how you tread or bicycle on my dreams!

where is your Marilyn journey heading?

all the best wherever it is - snowing here in Skirmett (1501 hrs 4th April 2013)

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - I have Googled the error thing and it appears to be a common problem with Google that nobody seems to have an answer for.

I knew you would rise to this post and the charm of that Lyvennet valley especially as it is so close to your childhood home, and I agree with all you say. Loath would I be to upset the vicar of Crosby Ravensworth.

I plan to head for Cheltenham and Cleve Hill on the first day and then to Cornwall. I will be setting off next Tuesday or Wednesday, but you are asking someone who once towed his trailer tent to Ardnamurchan, and due to bad weather after several days drove non stop to Slapton Sands on the south coast of Devon.

Sir Hugh said...

From Gimmer again, posted by me on his behalf due to his technical problem with posting on this blog.

"it must be fate:
Cheltenham was my first home - and a 'few' years later I did some of the most finger wrenching overhangingly delicate and exhausting short climbs of my career on Cleeve Hill.

I don't think i will even try to predict your next move ! (sorry about that)

I know this is a fishing man's benediction but it could do for a climber too (at least on Cleeve Hill!) so
'tight lines' !"

From Sir Hugh - Gimmer was raised in Cheltenham before moving to Appleby (referred to in an earlier comment), and then found himself climbing on Cleeve Hill in later years whilst at university.

welshpaddler said...

Wll Conrad, we have communicated before as we have both had knee problems, your worse than mine. We also found cycling helped to get us out and about. I appear now to be a born again cyclist and wherever possible head for the traffic free cycleways or if not possible quiet lanes.

My tick list this year is for an overnight with the bike, possibly up near llyn Brianne on the upper Afon Tywi. There is a posh camp site and one not so posh to choose from. Enjoy Marilyn - but no kneeling!

Sir Hugh said...

Welshpaddler - I also am hesitantly thinking about a cycle camp. With a bit of luck you will do yours first and I may learn from your experience.