Tuesday, 8 October 2019


Earlier this week I rode from a few miles outside Bellingham, to the Kielder dam, and Falstone. My route touched on parts of NCN10 (Reivers Cycle Route). It was a good choice: beautiful scenery and demanding enough (for me) to feel I had stretched myself, without overdoing things.

Today the plan was to complete a circuit of Kielder Water using the Waterside Path. That's a recreational route for walkers and cyclists. We've had heavy rain, and there were a few muddy patches, but on the whole it's well-paved with fine gravel. I was expecting a ride of about 26 miles: something that would stretch me again, without being unrealistic.

It was a good plan, but things didn't turn out that way. I started from the dam, working anti-clockwise along the north shore towards Kielder village. So far so good - it's a lovely ride, and although there was a blustery wind, most of the trail is sheltered by trees. Showers threatened, but didn't arrive.

Then, two-thirds of the way along the north shore I had a puncture. It shouldn't have been a problem - I carry a spare inner tube, and a repair kit. However, I haven't had to repair a puncture in the last ten years, and I made a mess of it. Somehow I managed to wreck the valve on the spare tube, and although I found and fixed a couple of holes in the old tube it still wouldn't hold air. I couldn't work out why.

I had no choice other than pushing the remaining distance to Kielder, where the wonderful people at the Bike Stop helped me out. By then I was running late, and getting tired. I was expected back by now, and there was no mobile signal, so it was difficult to share what was going on. So I chose the main road along the south of the reservoir to finish the loop and return to the dam.

The end result: I completed a circuit of the reservoir and covered 22 miles. However, my idea of a circling the reservoir along the waterside will have to wait for another day. It's a lovely route, so maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Today's ride

Twenty-one miles today, following NCN1 south to Druridge bay. Very pleasant, but nothing remarkable. The water in the Aln Estuary was unusally high, but not high enough to reach the cycle path.