Home to York
Travel from home to York went as planned. Because we could not take a tandem on the South West Trains service to Waterloo station, we drove to London and Sheila dropped John, the tandem and panniers off at St Pancras station. (Because it was easier than at King’s Cross). Just a short walk to King’s Cross station to find the York train. A smartly turned out young woman in GNER uniform offered to wheel the tandem down the platform to the guards van, but just being shown the way was sufficient. Lots of space. Nothing to do now but relax, eat some sandwiches on the way to York and then find a comfy bench on the platform to wait for Sheila.
Meanwhile Sheila drove on to Harwich, parked our car in a residential street outside our final night B&B and then caught the Cambridge train. Two changes later in Cambridge and Peterborough and Sheila was also on the East Coast mainline bound for York.
We met as planned and headed for our overnight B&B and an evening out in York – off to a good start, just need to start cycling next.
York to the Humber Bridge
We used the pre-publication version of the Sustrans “Way of the Roses” map, which they had kindly given us, to find our way out of York and onto a traffic free railway path. On the way we saw one of the then new fishtailed Sustrans mileposts. We also encountered our first problem of tandems and barriers. Reaching a closed gate that would not be much of an issue for an unladen solo cyclist, we had to take the panniers off, lift the tandem over from one of us to the other and put the panniers back on. As we progressed along NCN Route 1 we became familiar with obstacles designed to allow a bicycle through but not a motorbike that were often also tandem traps.
Arrived in Selby and crossed the River Ouse, which we then followed to Howden, where we stopped for a snack sitting on the steps of the cross, beside the ruins of Howden’s minster. From here we continued close to the River Ouse to reach a picnic spot and viewpoint beside the confluence of the River Trent and River Ouse to form the River Humber. In a short distance the Village shop in Brantingham had tables and chairs set out offering an enticing opportunity to stop for refreshments.
We followed the signed access for bicycles onto the dedicated cycle track on the Humber Bridge and cycled over, stopping on the way for the view and to take photos. We stopped soon after crossing the River Humber in a grand Georgian farmhouse B&B.
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Humber Bridge to Lincoln
We were now into the northern part of the Lincolnshire Wolds. These are perfect tandem cycling hills and we discovered the joy of rolling down the slopes in the big chainring to go through the dip and crest the next upward climb almost by momentum alone. We sped along in sunshine.
A short and abrupt stop came with the bridleway beside Hendale Wood. Sustrans describe this as “rough”. Might be OK on a mountain bike, but we cycled part where we could and walked most of the rest of its two and a half miles. Back onto minor roads through the Wolds took us through Beelsby to Market Rasen, the main town of the southern Wolds.
Flat countryside now on minor roads crossing and re-crossing the railway line several times (with care) at un-gated level crossings to reach Nettlesham. From here it was just 7 miles to the centre of Lincoln to reach our overnight B&B and an opportunity to explore the city.
Lincoln to Kings Lynn
Minor roads through Lincoln to the River Witham and the route then stays close to the river on flat fenland via Barney to the outskirts of Woodhall Spa where we crossed the river and continued beside its west bank or along straight roads beside drains to reach Boston.
Easy cycling as we sped along through fenland with a slight tail wind. Progress was so fast that we revised our intended destination for the day several times. At Fosdyke Bridge the route crosses the River Welland as it empties into Fosdyke Wash and we almost got to see the North Sea, but headed slightly back inland to reach Wisbech. There are impressive large churches in these villages and in the flat fenland we could see their large towers standing up well ahead of us, although the minor roads rarely headed straight for the next landmark!
Wisbech pedestrianised town centre offered sunshine and a bench – a good place to stop for provisions and have a late lunch, having just snacked on chewy bars as we went so far.
Refreshed and re-energised we made a final decision that tonight’s destination will be Kings Lynn. Leaving Kings Lynn through West Walton we passed St Mary’s church and stopped to look at its huge detached bell tower. The four-stage tower was built after the church and is a very impressive expression of the wealth of East Anglian wool churches.
A few miles more and we made a final crossing of the River Ouse to follow it into Kings Lynn. Time to explore the town and its quay before finding a B&B - the Maranatha Guest House.......... We had just completed our first 100 miles tandem cycle ride.
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