First days in the saddle

Sitting in an air-conditioned Costa Coffee and starting having goose bumps, we’ll quickly sketch last four days – the beginning of our cycle tour to Czech.

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After leaving Scottish Yarrow (we’ve met another one in Northumberland), this café in Barnard Castle, Durham is the first place where we found a hotspot – most of the time we were out of mobile connection as well. Perhaps the small, hidden and calm country roads took us well away from the civilization. But it was worth it! The tandem runs almost like pocket-watch and trailer keeps obediently the trail. Quite often we’re having doubts about necessity of all the stuff we carry that weights more than 300g a piece…

From Yarrow we headed to Hawick and through descending hills and valleys towards the largest artificially planted forest in Northern Europe – Kielder Forest. With a sincere disappointment we crossed the Hadrian’s Wall in Chollerford and through thematically named village “Wall” (like from a Gaiman’s novel) arrived to Hexham. With a true naivity we’d thought that the worst – steep climbs, long descends and cattle grids – is behind us. Series of brutal climbs and descends in Northern Pennines after Hexham in unusually hot day have squeezed most of our energy and enthusiasm. So much that even a puncture – the first one so far – is a welcomed excuse for a short rest in a shade on the side of a road.

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So far our prognosis of 100km per day doesn’t looks realistic at all – the second day we did manage to pedal almost 90km (with a little bit more when we’re looking for a lost lens cap and filter) – perhaps it is more reasonable target for the plenty of mamils (middle aged men in lycra) on carbon frames we are meeting on local roads. But the terrain is getting more flat as we are heading south and so we won’t be so knock down every evening…

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Currently we’re heading to Markéta, our friend from University who lives in Leeds.. still something like 100km distant. Depending on a number and steepness of hills we’ll arrive there tomorrow (and not two days ago as previously planned..), we’ll have a shower (!) and be happy! We’ll write more then..
Meanwhile we’re concerned about the worrying news of heavy flooding in Central Europe hoping that everyone in safe (and dry) and that there are some ridable roads and bridges left on our way…

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