| The Coast to Coast ride takes a rider through some of the most stunning scenery and best riding this country has to offer (and passes some of the best pubs too). In the September of 1997 having given up work for the summer on a whim, I decided to finish off a great six months by completing the classic C2C ride. Many people try and complete this ride in a day, others 2 days. Our plan was to take 4 days and stop at virtually every pub and cake shop on route. |
A phone call from Tom, one of my old work colleagues, planted a seed of an idea to complete the C2C. Before long hasty plans were being laid, train tickets pre booked, and B & B's sought out. It was decided that we should meet on September the 11th at Euston station, outside Knickerbox. The meeting point clinched it, any excuse in those days to loiter outside Knickerbox and I was guaranteed to be there like a shot.
We met at the arranged time and place and after two large Whopper meals, staggered aboard the 6.30 train to Carlisle. If you are planning to take you bike on BR it is often necessary to pre book your steed, and as we found there is often an extra charge for the privilege. On arrival in Carlisle however (where you have to change to get to Whitehaven) we discovered that even pre booking doesn't guarantee you a train. A strike meant there were no trains running on the line we wanted until the following morning. A quick decision was reached to try and find an alternative B & B in Carlisle. After riding around for a good half-hour we found one with a vacancy and after dumping bikes and gear headed for the nearest pub for a quick pint before closing time.
We arrived in Keswick late afternoon and checked into our first of many bike friendly B&B's. All the B&B's we stayed in were used to people on bikes and didn't make you feel like it was a trouble for them to lock your bike in their garage, as I have experienced from time to time on other rides
Next morning, after a good night in Keswick where numerous pubs were visited and a particularly fine Curry House, we set off on the next stage of the ride. The destination for the day Langwathby. The ride begins behind Keswick leisure centre, and follows the route of a disused railway for the first few miles. After that comes the first challenging part of the whole journey, the "OLD COACH ROAD". This is a tough bit of riding, not because of the severity of the climb, but because of the surface which consisted of loose boulders just waiting to eat your front wheel. There is an alternative road route that bypasses this section, and if you are unsure then you should take it.
The rest of the day pans out as the usual mix of quiet country roads and off road tracks. The town of Penrith provides an ideal opportunity for brew and a cream cake, and before long we were cycling into Langwathby. Again a class B&B just across the road from the pub which does good grub and a mean pint.