Day 1 Tuesday 21st August
Somersham, Cambridgeshire to Welwyn Garden City
Planned distance 50 miles, actual 64 miles.
Chris Tate and I set out to cycle to Welwyn from Somersham and made what we thought was good time down the Brampton Office of the Environment Agency only to find the support crew of my, Mum, my sister Ruth and my wife Helen had already been there for some time and that Dad and Caroline had got lost en route but also been there for a while. En route we received a call from John Harrison our 3rd rider to say his VW van had started and run on the Monday but refused to start Tuesday morning at the key time, good old 70's campers. Poor old John was ready to join us but completely stranded, we had to push on. Chris and I then made a tactical error when I lead us into a short cut across a bog, that got both out feet wet in stinking water and when I stopped suddenly Chris fell off, this was a pattern that repeated itself across the course of the day. We failed to meet the support vehicle at the first location but then met up with them by accident. Confident that we were only a few miles from the lunch spot, actually we were 12 miles away and wouldn’t reach them until 1500.
But when we did at The Crown at Henlow……we ended up with a lovely pint and a Butcher’s sausage roll in home-made pastry, delicious! It was great to see Mum, Ruth, Helen and the boys.
Chris and I pushed on increasingly tired as the country became more rolling and Chris talked about geology and how we we’d soon hit the chalk hills, I tried to stay awake. We slowed down and eventually were about to crawl to a halt when we saw my Dad and Caroline in the support vehicle (Motorhome) they were parked at the top of a hill. As we approach I shouted “Chris do you know what I could do with?” he shouted back “A cup of tea?” Just proving as a true Yorkshireman Chris really was powered by ale, tea and cake, we only needed a pie to top it off. Bouyed up we cracked on but began to get a bit confused in the suburbs of the Garden City of Welwyn, Chris’s phone failed, my GPS failed all technology failed and it started to rain. We pulled over some enthusiastic but dim students who located the Premier Inn and we were on our way. We arrived to a warm welcome and a pint of London Pride, not Chris and I’s favourite but even ‘Pride tasted good.