We’re sure it sounded very sensible at the planning stage, sitting in a comfortable chair in a warm and cosy office – “I know, let’s extend the challenge by 170 miles and a couple of days, make it up to a nice round 1000 miles, it’ll look great on the website!”
Tell that to the team as they battled strong headwinds on Day 11, over 110 miles back down the north east coast from Amble to Whitby. This was truly the sting in the tail of this year’s challenge, and for our intrepid adventurers, would prove to be the hardest day on the entire tour.
The route looked simple on paper – go south and keep the sea on your left. But sticking to the coast meant crossing the Tyne, Wear and Tees rivers without taking too many detours inland. No problem at Sunderland, where the city is close to the shoreline, but the Tyne and Tees crossings posed bigger issues. The plan was to use the South Shields passenger ferry for the Tyne, and the iconic Transporter Bridge to cross the Tees at Billingham. Unfortunately the ferry is foot passenger only and runs only once an hour, and the Transporter Bridge was closed due to high winds! In each case, the bikes and the boys had to be packed into the support vehicle and go around – lucky for Gary, who absolutely loves being rammed in the back seat between two sweaty bikers!
After 75 miles the route turned east and headed towards Whitby, giving the boys some respite from the fierce headwinds, only for them to be replaced with some steep hills and the first major mechanical issue, when James’ rear derailleur launched itself in the spokes of his rear wheel. Fortunately, Miles remembered he’d got his Bike Maintenance Scout badge, and heroically repaired the mangled gears with little more than a small allen key and some spit!
The last 20 miles to Whitby seemed to take an age as exhaustion slowed the team down to a crawl up some of the hills, but finally the bright lights of Whitby and the promise of a fish and chip supper hove into view. An epic day in the saddle sees the boys on the verge of success, having a ‘mere’ 65 miles to cover to the finish in York…don’t mention the North Yorkshire Moors being in the way, though!
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Read more about the 1000 Mile Club challenge:
1000 Mile Club - Day 1
1000 Mile Cluub - Day 2
1000 Mile Club - Day 3
1000 Mile Club - Day 4
1000 Mile Club - Day 5
1000 Mile Club - Day 6
1000 Mile Club - Day 7
1000 Mile Club - Day 8
1000 Mile Club - Day 9
1000 Mile Club - Day 10