Over the Hills and Far Away

Time for a cycling related blog post I think.

The title of the blog does not despite what many people might think, a comment on my mental state, but more a reference to where I hope to be this time next Saturday. Covid-19 restrictions permitting, next weekend sees me attempting to ride the Trans Pennine Trail. This is an approximately 200 to 220 mile bike ride from Southport to Hornsea and have 4 days to complete the ride.

That probably doesn’t sound that far for somebody who is a road cyclist. However what I have not mentioned is that this is an off road bike ride. The ride is mainly along disused railway tracks. It means that I will be riding a mountain bike. This is not something I do very often. I certainly have never written As far as 200 miles in four days on a mountain bike.

So, if I am not a mountain biker why am I doing this ride? Hmm, good question and if I find a sensible answer I will let you know. The only real answer I have got so far is because it’s there and I haven’t done it before. It’s a challenge and I like a challenge.

I am riding with a friend who is a keen off road cyclist. Two years ago we rode the Coast to Coast bike ride from Workington to Tynemouth. That was an on road ride and involved a lot of climbing. It was a challenge, especially as we did all the climbing in one day. Guess what? Yes, we will be doing all the climbing over the Pennines on the Saturday next week. Friday, Sunday and Monday are all going to be relatively flat. The graphic shows the route and also the topography. Hopefully we will do 75 miles on Day 1, mostly flat. Day 2 should be circa 50 miles, taking us to the 125 mile marker. Day 3 is likely to be another 50-75 miles and day 4 the remainder of the mileage to Hornsea, then riding back to Hull for our train home.

TPT Route/ Elevation Profile

We had decided that once lockdown had eased we would do a ride somewhere, I was thinking perhaps Devon/ Cornwall when I came across the Trans Pennine Trail. As its on a Mountain bike and  until the end of last year, I did not even own a mountain bike, it seemed to be a challenge and would push me out of my comfort zone ( literally).

Detailed planning has gone into this ride…by that I mean we have booked a train to Liverpool and one back from Hull and booked a hotel in Southport the night before we set off. No other accommodation is booked, no planning done regarding luggage etc. 2 bikes, puncture repair kits/ spare inner tubes and multi tools are the important things (and a face mask for the train).

I have got plenty of miles in my legs this year, over 6000 so far, but all have been ridden on the road and all but about 150 on road bikes, so let’s see how it goes. Anyone interested in the progress I’m making can follow me on twitter @spennymoortownl where there will be a daily link to the live track progress guidance showing where I am at anytime.

2020 Mileage Chart

One of the ways i have managed to increase my mileage this year is by incorporating cycling into my other activities. today, I was due to meet a friend at lunchtime to plan an event, so i cycled to the cafe for the meeting. I then cycled from there to watch my first football match of the 2020/2021 season. I watched Frenford FC v Coggleshall Town in what marked the return home of Frenford FC to their newly improved and refurbished ground in Ilford. I simply took the bike into the ground and ensured it socially distanced from others whilst I watched the game. This allowed me to get 35 miles ridden today, meet my friend and watch a football match. It also meant I didn’t need to either drive or use public transport.

The above mileage chart showing since 2011 I have ridden over 42,000 miles was put into context the other day by a friend who said it was equivalent to cycling 1.75 times round the earth!

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