Distance travelled: 23.41 miles
Cumulative distance: 342.02 miles
Distance remaining: 4657.98 miles
Percentage complete: 6.84
Villages visited: Holt, Hempstead, Baconsthorpe, Plumstead, Matlaske, Calthorpe, Ingworth, Aylsham, Buxton.
After yesterday was rained off, I was extremely keen to get back on the bike today despite the unpleasant conditions. I decided to plan a ride that would blow me home, so I headed north to Holt.
I decided that it made sense to grab a coffee and some sustenance before I headed off, so I found a cracking little coffee shop called The Wandering Whelk. They kindly agreed to put up one of my new posters and agreed to spread the word!
Full of coffee and sausage roll, I reluctantly got the bike out of the boot and set off in strong winds and rain. No sooner was I out of Holt and into the countryside, the scale of the storm damage became apparent; every lane was littered with leaves, twigs, acorns and all manner of other detritus.
The first village I visited, Hempstead, offered a scene so photogenic I just had to stop and capture it, as the village sign was almost engulfed by a giant snapped branch.
As I continued through Baconsthorpe, Plumstead and Matlaske, there were several puddles that covered the entire width of the road, forcing me to freewheel through them with my legs outstretched to avoid the worst of the drenching. Eventually I was so saturated I just flew through them regardless.
Between Calthorpe and Ingworth, though, I reached a ford that had a raging torrent running through it. Absolutely no was I was riding through that, so I had to dismount and roll the bike over the tiny pedestrian bridge. Another great photo opportunity!
I stopped at a petrol station in Aylsham and used the water gun to hose the bike down; little bits of mud, grit and god knows what else had clogged up the brakes. After Aylsham it was an easy ride home; a great tailwind and fewer obstacles allowed me to get some real momentum up.
There was one hurdle left to clear, though; around Buxton there was an absolutely massive flood/puddle (floodle?) that must have been 50 yards long. I got up some momentum and ploughed into it, but it got deeper… and deeper… and the bike was going slower… and slower… until the point that I had to get my feet down and continue cycling, with my feet totally submerged above the ankles on each downstroke!
This was an exciting, exhilarating and totally rewarding ride, which pretty much confirmed my prior belief that rain is just rain and can be conquered, but strong winds are a genuine danger that just can’t be toyed with.