The most notable change for the second leg of my journey is that The Bug now works properly.
Where previously my cycling was accompanied by a continual grinding-of-metal noise and my charge would lurch ever-so-slightly left with annoying consistency, it now does not. I hadn’t thought it was having a great impact on my progress but soon found myself travelling a whopping great 2mph faster.
I’m not kidding. That’s a big difference. When the previous daily average was 6mph, to be doing 8mph+ means doing an extra third on top of my usual distance before bed time.
And so I began to fly as only 150lbs of rickshaw can.
There have been niggles, however. My right knee has a persistent tendency to start hurting at unexpected moments and I’ve started carrying readily accessible Ibuprofen to compensate.
Emerging from Carlisle I was faced with a series of narrow cycle lanes, bridges and gates, and, after having removed all the luggage from the ‘shaw and enlisted the muscles of unfortunate passersby to lift her over some large obstacles, I got another flat tyre. With incredible fortuity, I was around the corner from a wonderful bike shop that replaced the tube with one from a BMX and sent me on my way. Only, the wheel started creaking again as it had before the bearings were replaced and I felt a little bit sick. I tightened it with a spanner and it seems to have stopped. For now.
There are also days when my legs don’t seem to work. When no amount of will power or calories will bring energy into my system and I find myself being overtaken by pedestrians.
But, really, these things are peripheral. Ephemeral. They are every bit a part of the journey and to travel without them would be a great shame but in the big picture they will be lost in the background. If I talk about this trip in future then it will not be to complain that my knee was a little sore and when I write about it I suspect I won’t dwell too long on feeling a touch tired on some days.
In short, and in summary, things are going well. There is plenty of room for more issues to arise and tyres to burst but, for now, everything is A-OK. Next stop: Shrewsbury.
Day 15 (10th May)
- Distance so far: 485 miles
- Quote of the day: “He’s cycled from Scotland!” BMX rider to his friends