Halfway!

October 21st

We had a lazy start from Leicester on Thursday as another of our contributors had to reschedule, giving us a spare couple of hours in a day with no other commitments other than covering the miles to our overnight stop in Sheffield. Planning to make the most of the scenic Peak district we pushed on North aiming for a public charge point at a hotel on the A1 but were diverted by promising signs for a visitor centre; Creswell Crags. It sounded nicer than a couple of  hours sat by the roadside so we decided to chance it and ask if we could have a charge there, probably the best decision of the entire trip! The staff were amazing, everyone came out to have  look at the bike and they insisted we park it in the foyer to charge. Finn even filmed me riding in through the sliding glass door of the main entrance! With the bike safe and charging we had a couple of rounds of tea and a baked potato each in the on-site cafe before a wander around the grounds, which are a network of caves surrounding a small valley that mark the most Northern inhabited site of the last ice age – they have carvings there that are over 12,000 years old!

As is becoming the norm, the bike had finished charging long before we were ready to leave, but leave we must and back on the road we diverted west into the Peak District proper and, looking for a scenic location to film, found the most amazing viewpoint from a rocky outcrop just as the sun was setting and the light was perfect. We shot a few narrative pieces to camera and Finn got a couple of gobsmacking drone shots before we lost the light. Once again, we struck lucky! From there it was a short ride back down into Sheffield where we went out for a tasty Italian with a filmmaker pal of Finn’s.

James, the cameraman we were stopping with, had recently turned his creative attention to the seasons in the local landscape and had been waiting for the perfect morning to shoot a cloud inversion (where the valleys fill with mist below a clear sky, ideally at sunrise) and the forecast for Friday morning was perfect. Reluctantly we pulled ourselves from bed at about half five and headed out into the night air. I had been a little worried about the prospect of frost but the air was warm enough and the ground dry. Following James’ car up into the hills, however, I saw water on a tight bend in a hollow and cautiously slowed down only to find myself sliding along the road on my arse. It turns out it was ice from an overflowing drain in a little frost pocket! I picked up the bike and rode on carefully to pull in somewhere safe only to find another bike, hazards on, who had just done the same thing. With a van full of tools, we straightened out a bent gear lever before he left to continue on to work and I had a chance to look at our damage. Not too bad, the bike had taken most of the force on the left hand footpeg and brake pedal, which were now both bent and awkward but still usable, before sliding along on the front mudguard and handlebar end, both scuffed. Everything vital looked unharmed so we set off to race the sun to the top of Mam Tor, arriving panting and sweaty after the long climb just as the  first rays spilled over the horizon onto the cloud beneath.

We were there an hour or so before leaving to descend own, out of the Peaks again (over the now melted slippery bend) to meet ITM Power for a demonstration of their Hydrogen generation and refueling station. Unfortunately, the hydrogen station didn’t have any charge point so we  went on to a suitable car park to charge the bike and eat our sandwiches except, once again, chatting to interested onlookers took longer than charging! Before setting off we had to find somewhere to charge halfway to Finn’s house in Malton, somewhere in what turned out to be a charge point desert around Goole. Luckily, I have family around there on the banks of the Ouse who were happy to provide cups of tea and the requisite 50p of electricity. They also had a robust vice, so off came the bent footpeg and brake lever, and out came the 4lb lump hammer….

A fast night ride, now on home turf for us both, took us over the Wolds and down into Malton where beers and Lasagne awaited us, courtesy of Finn’s family. While the aim of this weekend is resting up ready for the second half of our adventure, I spent a few hours on Saturday giving the bike a good check over following it’s little ‘incident’ which had caused a few minor issues such as loosening off the steering head bearings. Mainly I just had a joblist from normal wear and tear, mainly still things bedding in and settling down, such as the front brake that needed cleaning out having developed a banshee shriek that set my hairs on end each time I stopped. Saturday night was another family night, with my Mother plying us with lasagne this time before a lazy Sunday ahead of a busy day tomorrow; two filming stops and another hundred miles to cover, marking the start of a pretty hectic week.