We’re off. Not a great deal of cycling taking place today; just a 10km journey from home to the train station in Huddersfield and the prospect of an even shorter cycle to a friend’s house once I arrive in Reading. It is not the stuff of epic adventures but does get me nearer to my destinations of the Isle of Wight tomorrow, Sunday, and then Spain & Portugal on Wednesday and thereafter. However, for the record, here are the details of that first cycle at least. Much of the rest of the day is being spent on trains but I don’t mind that…
…indeed I’ve already had two interesting conversations about my plans for the next few weeks. Firstly on the platform of Huddersfield station with a member of Holmfirth Cycling Club. He promised to come and hear me speak about what I’ve been up to when I do just that next year at one of the Calderdale CTC winter club nights that Has only just been arranged this week. I wonder what tales I will have to recount? I’ll know in three weeks. Keep following these posts and you’ll know too. If nothing much happens, I’ll spice it up a bit. Just like I did in the books. (Of course I didn’t!) Secondly, I struck up conversation with a Polish cyclist who was taking his Spa Cycles titanium-framed bike to none other than the Trans-Pennine Trail. That’s where I was only last Sunday (see post below). Those who think you are ever lonely on a solo cycle tour have clearly never embarked upon one themselves…
The only thing that is currently causing me any anxiety is the well-being of Wanda, the bike (do keep up!). She is currently, I hope, suspended in a small cage in coach D of this Cross Country Trains train from Manchester to (for me) Reading. I say ‘hope’ as she is surrounded by most of the people from a cancelled train service who are crammed into the aisles and open spaces of this train. For all I know she could have been removed by some hoodlum in Wolverhampton and being fenced in a local pub as I type, oblivious of her fate… Life, it seems, is rarely stress-free.
So that’s day 1 of this modest cycle tour. 20 days to go. Stay tuned!
Don’t think I’ve ever seen Huddersfield station so sunlit – lovely shots of the station. Good luck on the adventure
A Polish cyclist doing the Trans Pennine? When he gets to those rather dull flat expanses round Selby, he should feel right at home, then…. 😉 (Lubię Polskę bardzo, przy okazji!)
Sounds like the conductor was talking bollocks, Pagan. There’s no specific mention of panniers on the Cross Country website, nor of cycle-related baggage, nor is there any mention of similar on any other TOC site I know of. The CC website does make provisos about not guaranteeing a place for non-booked bikes if there isn’t space, but that clearly wasn’t the case on your journey. It’s good of Cross Country to allow unbooked bikes, and I’ve benefitted from that in the past, but their so-called ‘two-bike’ space for reserved bicycles is a ludicrously small cupboard too narrow for many standard handlebars. Sadly, this inadequate space has inspired the East Coast line’s new Azuma trains, which has tiny bike cupboards too.
Yes, that issue of space in the bicycle storage area is something I experienced yesterday. My handlebars were simply too wide for one of the two spaces available. I managed to squeeze the bike in – just – to the second space. As for each space holding two bikes… that would have been a struggle!
I was recently nearly thrown off a Cross Country train. I had a reservation for my bike and so as far as I was concerned everything was above board. Turns out that taking your bike is OK but you are not allowed to take panniers as well. I was told by a real jobsworth of a conductor that “I should have read through the regulations” and that panniers are not allowed on Cross Country trains. Eventually he relented because it was late at night and there were virtually no other passengers but it was not a great experience.