The forecast didn’t look good.
The track through Holywell didn’t look good.
Recent heavy rain had left its mark.
The Delaval Arms was shrouded in mist………………
………….. but seven Backpedalers assembled for a Sunday morning training ride.
One member of the group must have looked at the wrong forecast.
The route started with a warm up loop around the Avenue, the old railway line, Monkseaton Drive and back along the coast to the Delaval Arms.
The next stage followed the familar route through the dunes at Seaton Sluice, then on to Blyth and Bedlington. At this point a little extra challenge was added to the route by cycling up both sides of Furnace Bank before heading on to Bebside and then Low Horton.
Plantation Row, with its abundant supply of slippery tree roots, was the next challenge safely negotiated by all.
Ian, Dave and I had been planning a trip to the Angel of the North for some time. We had two problems – which way to go and which way to reurn. Previously it would be possible to cycle through the Tyne Cyclist Tunnel, but at the moment it is closed for refurbishment. Fortunately there is a free bus replacement to carry cyclists and their bikes from Howdon to Jarrow.
The bus driver was very helpful and made sure that the bikes were securely stowed whilst telling me stories of bikes which had fallen off the trailer – but never on his watch. The shuttle bus goes through the motorist’s tunnel to Jarrow where the trailer is unloaded and the cycling begins.
Once in Jarrow the route headed west on the Keelman’s Way before turning south onto the Bowes Railway Path. As the name sugeests, the route follows the trackbed of the old Bowes railway which was used to transport coal from the Durham coalfields to the River Tyne.An uneven surface up a steady incline with frequent barriers contributed to a hard ride up to the site of the Bowes Railway Museum.
Dave and I had ridden this route before and new about its challenges. The severe storms in the summer of 2012 had badly damaged sections of the path and we were keen to avoid the worst parts. Once at The Bowes Museum we left the Bowes Railway Path and headed along the road to Wrekenton where we we picked up the Wrekenton Waggonway, a steady downhill ride towards the Angel of the North.
Near the bottom of the path we caught our first glimpse of the Angel.
Continuing down the path took us nearer our destination.
A short diversion through an underpass got us to the other side of a busy road to the site of the monum
Our next decision was to decide on a route home. To avoid cycling along the A167 into Gateshead, the chosen route headed through Team Valley and on to Dunston before rejoining the Keelman’s Way on the banks of the Tyne.
This is familar territory for us so we cycled under the bridges towards Gateshead and crossed the river at the Millennium Bridge.
Once over the bridge it was a short ride along Newcastle Quayside to the Cycle Hub, our favourite cycle cafe.
Once refreshed, we took our usual route home along Hadrian’s Cycleway and the Reiver’s Route.