Norman – final thoughts

It was with some trepidation I undertook the challenge with my sons and daughter-in laws on 13 August. It was the first time I had ever been on a cycling holiday. I had been fearing young men who would cycle at 25 mph, but we were all middle aged and middle class (except me aged 89).  We were received and entertained at our hotel at St. Just in Penwith,  The following morning we took off and rode 6 miles to Lands End where the ritual photos at the sign post were taken.  Off then on our 1,000 mile bike ride.  We came soon to some cheeky hills which required a major effort and got to our hotel in Truro.  The next day was one of our two wet days, and in the afternoon we were soaked by a storm, which lasted till we got in.  The only other heavy rain was on our penultimate day, cycling through the moorland of Sutherland. We had been told that Cornwall was the worst part of the ride, and we soon left it for England.  The going seemed easy and I did not have to overexert myself, and could climb hills with my electric bike faster than most of my fellow cyclists.  On the level, and downhill they would usually overtake me..  What I found very difficult was regulating my speed to someone else’s, whether climbing or on the level.  This made conversation while cycling rather difficult.  Andrew had been afraid that I could not cope, and would have to ride in the van that escorted us, carried our baggage and lunch etc.  However, I seemed less tired than my children.  The minor roads that we used were fairly traffic free and I enjoyed the scenery and the views, particularly in the more mountainous regions, such as the Lake District and the Highlands.  The only heavily trafficked routes were through Bristol and Edinburgh, where we rode across the Royal Mile at the height of the Edinburgh Festival.

The end came rather unexpectedly.  The route that afternoon was level, with a good view of Orkney from the road, and we celebrated with collective and individual photographs.