We received a cash donation last week to Alzheimer’s Research UK taking the donation page total to just under £2200 – thanks very much Kenneth. https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/raleighrudginit
Latest small bike event was the NACC’s Coast to Coast from Crimdon Dene just north of Hartlepool on the North Sea to Whitehaven on the Irish Sea over two days, about 70 miles each day. Ian McGregor asked me at Randos Cyclos three weeks ago if I would help this year as the usual organiser, David Casper was unable to attend. It was four years since I had done the ride and more than twenty since I laid out the route so I was very happy to agree.
Ian arrived early at the start point and set up the signing on table and tea bar. Eventually 25 bikes and riders were enrolled and the 20th NACC Coast to Coast was underway.
The most common bike was the ‘Step-thru’ design with both Honda and Yamaha variants present in 50, 75, 80 and 90cc sizes. One of the Yamahas was an earlier two-stroke design which is less often seen.
There were also some more traditional NACC machines with a couple of 60s sports mopeds, a Beta and a Bianchi, two autocycles, a much modified James and a Francis Barnett Powerbike, various brands of moped including a couple of NSU Quicklies, a three speed Puch, a Zundapp and a Mobylette. There were also some more recent 50cc machines including a Yamaha FS1E (with a YB100 engine in it), a Honda SS50, a Yamaha trail 50 (ridden by Ali, one of only two women riders) and a Fantic.
Finally but certainly not least there were a group of more modern mopeds including a couple of the Yamaha shaft drive models, a Peugeot 104, a Honda Camino and a ‘Step-thru’ Honda LAC which looks like its geared siblings but is actually a true automatic moped.
Slightly confusingly the Japanese moped standing in front of the French one is wearing the onions. (And why has the French bicycle mounted onion seller become such a part of English popular consciousness? I can just remember my father trying to practise his night-school French with one more than half a century ago.) All the first three bike were French registered.
There were no cyclemotors this year. It is, particularly in bad weather, a hard run for a powered bicycle as I can attest from my own crossing on the Rudge in 2013.
The route goes through the old Durham coalfield villages into the more agricultural westrn part of the county and up over the moorland to Alston, the highest market town in England. This final section from Middleton in Teesdale has a wild beauty viewed from a steadily climbing road. The pub at High Force is one of the regular stops.
The second day climbs the Hartside Bank from East to West. We usually stop for a cup of tea at the Cafe but sadly it has burnt down. The view from the top is wonderful as the Lake Distict is laid out in front of you and to the North you can see the Solway Firth and the south Scottish coast.
After the run down to Penrith the route takes a northerly traverse of the Lake District via the Sun Inn at Bassenthwaite to Cockermouth and then south-west to its finish at Whitehaven. My favourite section on the second day is from the turning to Heskett Newmarket to the pub at Bassenthwaite with the Northern Lake District hills including Skidaw looming over your left shoulder as you climb Caldbeck Common. There was little ‘looming’ this year as the weather was superb both days.
There was very little mechanical trouble although the little grey Mobylette, on its eighth Coast to Coast, was off colour and the three-gear Puch valiantly struggled up the steeper inclines in its very low bottom gear.
And my ride? Well with 79cc and four gears I felt like I was cheating. On my first route-mapping ride in 1996, on a Honda XBR500 that I had at the time, I came back over the Hardknott and Wrynose Passes.
Isn’t time unkind?
In 2014 I did the same on my Honda 90 so I felt it was the Yamaha Townmate’s turn. No skill is required: you sit while it slowly winds its way up in first and then gingerly hold the brakes as it winds its way down. Hardknott is the steeper of the two and the little Yamaha did itself proud by climbing the straighter and less steep Wrynose mostly in second gear.
Arkwright’s Fowl and I did 411 miles in the three days – all credit to the bike not the rider.