Saturday, 20 February 2016

Day 11 , penny farthing LEJOG

After the tough finish to yesterday's ride we had hoped to wake up to better weather today. I drew back the curtains and tentatively looked outside, at least it wasn't snowing. However, it wasn't great news. Hail stones had replaced the snow and the sky looked full of it. We put the TV to watch the weather forecast in the hope that it was going to clear up but it looked bad all day.

We had no choice, we were just going to have to get going and hope for the best. We needed luck to be on our side today but 100 yards into our journey our luck ran out. At the first road island we came to disaster struck. I was first on the road and had already made my way into the busy flow of traffic. Mickey was close behind but when i looked back he had stopped in the middle of the road junction. Cars and lorries were all around him but he wasnt going anywhere fast. His chain had snapped right at the worst possible moment.

He managed to avoid getting run over and made his way to the side of the road, I made my way through the traffic and joined him. We had some tools with us so we found the chain splitter and I set about fixing the broken chain, in a hail storm. I'm quite good with a chain tool as I use them all the time at work so I soon had the chain repaired. Even though it was a quick pit stop my hands were now freezing. We needed to get moving, this was no fun anymore, after 100 yards of cycling we both wanted the day to be over.

We rode on, the hail turned to rain and we both remained miserable. We took shelter under a bridge in the hope the rain would stop but it just kept coming down. The next couple of hours were the longest and toughest of the journey  far. The roads were not difficult but the weather was really getting to us. Mickey's hands had gone so cold he resorted to putting his spare socks over them as well as his gloves.

Finding shelter became the theme of the day, as previously recommended to us bus shelters proved popular. Then later in the day railway bridges gave us some rest bite from the rain.

Eventually the rain eased and we were able to make reasonable progress. We found a good traffic free cycle path and made our way through Glasgow. We ended up going a bit further than we needed to but it avoided traffic. Mickey was pleased by this as he had less confidence in my chain repair than I did.

A short section of busy road led us to the Erskine bridge, with storm clouds still looming we crossed the bridge and continued on towards Loch Lomond.

As the scenery improved so did the weather, sunshine replaced the rain as we cycled along another nice cycle path into Argyll &Bute.

Tatty signpost welcomes us to a beautiful part of Scotland.

We arrived at the tip of Loch Lomond just before the tourist information office closed so I popped in and asked them if they knew of any accommodation on our route. A quick phone round had us booked in to what turned out to be one of the best places we stayed at. The inn on Loch Lomond in the village of Luss.

Our room was fantastic and our bikes got to stay in the beer cellar. The food was great and so was the whiskey. We'd made it though a hard day. Tomorrow was going to be equally tough as we had to cross the mountain range between the lochs but if we could do that and stay on schedule then the rest of the ride should be a piece of cake.

Another 70 + mile day. I'm glad our island isn't any bigger!

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