Cycling Day 3: Hardraw (Near Hawes) To Rydal (Near Ambleside)

I’m going to have a go at writing this now rather than post spaghetti dinner as I imagine I will become rather sleepy after eating some food. I’ve already been forced to visit the pub (see earlier tweets…) so am well on the way to slumber. Or rather, whatever that constantly interrupted period of sleep is when you are in a tent.

I woke up (for the final time) at the campsite this morning, opened the flaps and saw this:

Fantastic! A glimmer of hope that summer was returning. (It took its time but finally did restart at 2.23pm exactly when I stopped to remove layers of clothing.) As I type, I’m not shivering for the first evening of the three so far spent on the road.

Rob Ainsley – who had joined me for yesterday’s ride and recorded a few pieces for the upcoming podcast in the pub in Hawes last night – here he is outside the campsite this morning…

…helped me decide upon a route from Hardraw to Rydal. A direct cycle would have taken me along horrible A roads so instead I first of all climbed a B road (the B6255 if you happen to be a pedant) heading south west. This allowed me to hook up with Dentdale which was… Well, here’s a picture:

Very nice indeed, if a little steep. Wanda’s front brake has returned to her squeaking state. A tad annoying but it’s something I need to learn to live with.

Dentdale allowed me to revisit (albeit in the opposite direction) route 68 – the Pennine Cycleway – that was my first ever cycle your back in 2009. And look what I found!

That railing has not yet been repaired…

Coffee and cake in Sedbergh rounded off a morning that had consisted of a long, continuous climb followed by a long, almost-continuous descent. The cycling between Sedbergh and Kendal was a little more tiresome. Bottom of the valley stuff; up, down, up, down, up… you get the idea. Very pretty as the landscape gradually morphed from the Dales to the Lakes but annoying nevertheless. I did get off and push at least twice. (Keep it quiet…)

Route 70 guided me to Kendal but took an unnecessary detour to the south so I cut to the chase and descended with squealing brakes down the hill into Kendal via a more direct route. Once there I paused to admire the town whilst eating an enormous sausage roll. That was tricky. Not the eating; the admiration. I’m sure Kendal was once a big thing, and with its architecture still in place it could once again be a great town; another Keswick or Ambleside. But it’s just a bit shabby. A bit like a touring cyclist who’s been on the road for three days; he could, if he sorted himself out, be another Chris Froome. But he can’t be bothered. I’m not sure Kendal can be bothered either. I didn’t even spot anywhere selling mint cake.

I was expecting more climbing to be done post Kendal but the road leading to Windermere was mainly flat. A segregated track kept me away from the speeding traffic and even, once or twice, well away from the road as I was encouraged to take the path less travelled by those in a family saloon.

Once in Windermere it was simply a case of following the lakeside road to Ambleside and then the short distance to Rydal. A satisfying end to a cracking day if cycling – some 80km – that was for a large part well away from busy traffic. It may not have been the most direct of cycles but that doesn’t bother me in the least.

I’m now here for three nights. I’ll be cycling again tomorrow but I suspect come Saturday I may be ready for a day of rest. Now, where’s that spaghetti?

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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9 replies »

  1. Hope the spaghetti is as satisfying as the dinner I cadged off you in Bolton Abbey! And thanks for not mentioning my sausage debacle there…

    • It was. And it probably will be again tonight (and tomorrow night…) Don’t worry, I’ll never mention your sausage-cooking skills again…

  2. I had squeaking disk brakes recently. I tried cleaning the disks and pads with various solvents, cloths and sandpapers, but the contamination always seemed to return. in the end I just swapped out the disk and pads. No more squealing!

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