First things first a quick breakfast at my Bristol hosts Chris and Sue – thanks for your company – it was good remembering the good ol’ days.
Weather was fine and nothing like the forecast thankfully
Well, today was the first time I had arranged some riding company so off I set for a 18 mile ride to meet at the Severn Bridge at 8-30 . I would be joined by Darren Leen who had started a day earlier than me but we’d arranged to ride together from Bristol up to Carlisle. He’d also brought along his Boss Simon and his friend Peter Ryan with their ‘support’ driver Jason Lunn. Simon and Peter were on their lightweight racing steeds and Darren had offloaded his luggage for the day into the car but I refused for the 3rd time in 2 days to have anyone carry my stuff (Mrs B says I’m stubborn). Anyway off we set on what would be a 114 mile day for me – across the Severn bridge then we wound our way up the Monmouth Valley following the river with some climbs but nothing too severe. Simon (Bianchi Green) was definitely a class act and always seemed to be on top of his game – I struggled all the way until lunch which we had on the grass outside the cathedral in Hereford in the baking sun. Then I got my second wind and there was no stopping me, Darren was struggling with ‘bottom problems’ on the saddle. We stopped once more at a fab riverside pub which had a lot of riders from south east tandem club outside Then we were off again heading for Shrewsbury where we met in the motorway services and had a final coffee before saying farewell to Jason, Peter and Simon – thanks for your company .
Darren and I then setoff on our 10 mile trip to find RAF Shawbury where he’d arranged our free accommodation for the night – looks like there was a mix up and we were booked for following day. Anyway got sorted and shown to our rooms which were basic but good enough for 1 night. Quick shower in the ‘Ablutions’ and changed and walk down to the village for some really tasty food in the local.
Tomorrow is going to be our shortest, easiest day and will be joined by another rider (another of Darren’s colleagues).