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Boys' Outings

 

A compendium of bicycle rides undertaken by Rob with his cycling chums1

 Boys outing scene with gateHow it all started . . .

In 2002 Rob rode the Sustrans Coast-to-Coast (C2C) route - 140 miles from Whitehaven to Sunderland - and got the taste for cycle touring adventures.  Cycling the Trans-Pennine Trail followed in 2003, together with regular rides with  Shakespokes in Stratford and with the CTC

Now dubbed the Boys’ Outing an annual  pattern has emerged, with the rides usually taking place in May or June - following a winter of planning routes, booking accommodation and producing a map book.

Key criteria: the seaside must be involved; not too many hills; about 6 or 7 days; fish and chips for lunch at the finish, with beer … and the quest for the ultimate lamb shank2

Planning consists of “the idea” and then perusing maps, guide books and various CTC publications - and yet more felt-pen lines made on the long-suffering road atlas - as well as the PC-based mapping.

Accommodation is sourced and booked in advance - primarily to make sure we have somewhere to stay each day without having to hunt around - B&Bs, pubs with rooms or small hotels.

The Journals

The 2005 outing saw the first of the journals - Joe sent daily reports (transmitted from one of his gadgets) to various friends telling them of our daily exploits - these missives, together with photographs, became a record of the journey5

The Journal has become a part of the Boys’ Outing (with some retrospective diaries of earlier rides)

The Rides - so far . . . .

 

2003 : The Trans-Pennine Trail - 220 miles from Southport to Hornsea with Steve & Jon


 2004 : The Pennine Cycleway - 355 miles from Derby to Berwick-upon-Tweed with Steve & Peter

 2005 : The End-to-End (E2E) - 935 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End (The JOGLE3 ) with Joe (and Steve joined the ride for a 100 or so miles over a couple of days)

 2006 : The Side-to-Side - 420 miles from St David’s in Pembrokeshire to Lowestoft in Suffolk - from the westernmost point in Wales to the easternmost point in England - with Steve & Martin

 2007 : Cream Tea to Oysters -  360 miles from Exeter to Whitstable via the South Coast, The Isle of Wight and involving 5 sea voyages4 - with Steve & Martin

2008 : Bowling Along - 201 miles from Balsall Common (near Coventry) via Southwell, over the Humber Bridge and skirting York to finish about 10 miles N of Harrogate - with Steve, en route to stay with friends and watch the Test Match in Leeds.

2008 : French End-to-End - c900 miles from Calais to Montpellier with Jon - the ride is to raise funds for MacRide and Macmillan Cancer Suppor

2009 : Bowling Along (again) - for this trip we were limited on time so it was a train to Nottingham, ride to the B&B on the outskirts of Doncaster and then on to the destination N of Harrogate.  Sadly the cricket was absolute rubbish on both the Friday & Saturday ... but the ride was good!

. . . .  to be continued - there have been rides in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and planned for 2015 - just need to find time to write up the details


1 Any similarities with Jerome K Jerome’s book, Three Men on the Bummell, are purely coincidental
2 Since the Pennine Cycleway ride in 2004 lamb shank has been the dish of choice for dinner each evening. The overnight stops on the S2S and subsequent rides have been awarded a “lamb shank rating”  (maximum is 4 - although 5 may be possible near a nuclear power station!)  - it’s based on the quality of accommodation, not the lamb shanks.
3 JOGLE = John O’Groats to Land’s End
4 Sea voyages are actually ferry crossings

5 Rob & Joe’s JOGLE is a report of the 2005 journey.  This worthy tome, although yet to enter the Amazon best-seller lists, has become an established source of reference with a number of End-to-Enders.

A CD version of some of the map books is available in return for a modest financial contribution at  www.cycle-endtoend.org.uk

 

 

 

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