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Chester Easy Riders is an independent cycling club affiliated to Cycling UK. We cycle every Thursday throughout the year with moderate and brisk day rides of 40 to 80 miles.

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

19th/21st April 2016: C2C Whitehaven to Sunderland

 Whilst out on CER rides there was a discussion of doing a long distance ride and C2C was considered a challenge so Tom, John and Ivan agreed that the ride was good to go.
Train tickets, cycle reservations and B&B’s booked we set off on the best weather to date this year.
Tom enjoyed two punctures before getting to Shotton Station, an Omen? In basking sunshine we arrive into Whitehaven and straight into Wetherspoons for Tuesday steak night and tuck into 14oz Aberdeen Angus steak and chips. We will need the protein!! Our first bed for the night was an annexe to the hospital Summergrove Halls and a 3.5 mile ride out of town. Not a problem as a bar included in the accommodation and a good night had.
Day 1 and after a hearty breakfast of egg and bacon we set off towards Whitehaven. We took a different route to return into town, as we had to ride to the official C2C post in the harbour. Unfortunately we head down a steep lane and into a Fford – wet feet for Tom and I and John flew over the cobbles!!! This was about 3-5 minutes into the ride – oh dear!!
We arrive at the harbour side and duly sink our rear wheels into the Irish Sea and photo taken we set off at 08:55.
Heading out of Whitehaven we ride on the Sustrans route 71 that runs along the old railway line to Kirkland. We continue to follow the route passing lovely views of lakes and villages and the weather is getting warmer every minute. We are heading to Keswick for our first coffee stop and cycle around the edge of Derwent waters to a coffee shop outside of Keswick which was very cycle friendly and welcome.
After our break it is along converted railtrack again (Keswick – Penrith) to Threlkeld but hurricane Desmond had washed away two bridges so lanes again. Passing St Johns we pass an ancient Stonehenge type-site complete with huge stones and ice cream van so another stop for 99’s!! What a life.
We pass Threlkeld and decide to remain on the A66 as lunch time is beckoning and we hungry and 40 miles covered. We arrive into Penrith and lunch at the Station Hotel and enjoy good food served quickly for us as I only get to sample one pint!
We still have 30 miles to ride after lunch and 20 of these are all uphill, so it’s onwards and upwards passing well-known railway villages of Langwathby and Little Salkeld where we stop and have a photo call with a scarecrow C2C rider. The big climb is to Hartside Café and we were all glad to get to the top.
Now it is all downhill into Alston and we can get off the bike for the rest of the day.

Photographs by Ivan Davenport

Arriving at the Victoria Inn our overnight B&B we are greeted and shown our room. A little sleep, shower and into town to eat again.
Thursday morning and the sun is still shining we head off. John has posted his rucksack home compliments of the landlady. Again it is mainly uphill but along fantastic lanes and through the moorlands of Nenthall to Nenthead, passing through Northumberland along the B6295 to Allenheads then uphill again to Rookhope then downhill to Stanhope. The shock then was beware Crawleyside bank displayed on my Garmin!! Last time I walked up this hill, as it is steep!!!! A long 17%.
John to the rescue and takes the lead and Tom and I hang on and up we go to the top and Parkhead Station Café. A tough ride covering 23 miles and 1400 meters of climb and 300 descents!! No average here then!
After an enjoyable toastie we now ride over an old rail way line (converted) which was the coal line link to Consett.
There are 40 miles to ride to Sunderland and this part of the C2C route is all on dedicated cycle route – absolutely fantastic.
Passing Consett we stop to take a photo of a steel telescope and microscope, a reminder of the lost industry!!
Arriving into Sunderland it is up to the pier and the official C2C landmark where a fellow biker takes our commemorative photo.
It’s been a great two days cycling in the best of the weather to date – good accommodation and great cycling buddies.
We covered the distance of 135 miles and 11,000 feet of ascent in 11.5 hours and an average speed of 13 mph.
Thanks to my two fellow cyclists on this trip it was very enjoyable but hard.
Will keep shtummm of our evening debates!!!

See Day 1 route map and/or gpx file download.
See Day 2 route map and/or gpx file download.


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