All the advice told us to take it easy the first day. So we decided to cycle 76km (47m) with 800m of hill climbing, riding with heavy panniers for the first time!
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step (pedal turn).
We were late leaving of course. The planned time was 10am, allowing for a relaxed coffee stop in Frome. The actual time was 12.30, which meant a quick sandwich stop instead. Packing, clearing up, faffing, locking up, checking, faffing, hovering, arguing, rechecking. It will be a familiar pre-holiday ritual to our children.
But the sense of freedom as we cycled down the familiar country lanes on a misty early Autumn afternoon was worth it. A rare moment much dreamed of that lived up to it’s promise.
We were able to stay on the pathways and quiet country roads of the Sustrans National Cycle Route 24 all day and for the most part it was well signposted and well maintained. First, it took us to Radstock and down the Colliers Way to Frome. This follows the path of the old Somersetshire Coal Canal, then railway, now a gentle, leafy track.
After lunch in Frome, the route took us through the centre of Longleat Safari Park where we enjoyed the solitude and unusual deep roars of lions mixed with the more familiar sound of sheep. For the final 25km we cruised down the Wylye Valley, gently descending with the river to the welcome sight of our inn on the edge of Salisbury, arriving just before dark.
3 things we learnt today:
- Chamois cream is surprisingly tingly.
- It’s difficult to take a picture while balancing a fully loaded bike.
- Cycle at dusk near a river with your mouth open and you swallow a lot of flies.
Finally, we have a question…
Clare is carrying 14kg, Andy 15kg. But Andy weighs 95kg and Clare only weighs 55kg. Should Andy take more weight?