When I met Tim, he had his own interest for cycling and a history with the sport. For some circumstances in his life, he had neglected his four bikes (yes, four. He truly embraces the N+1 concept) and they were either in storage or forgotten in a corner in his flat.
Me in the other hand, I’ve been a bike nutter for five years now. I cycle almost every day, I commute by bike and I spend my weekends exploring country lanes on my trusty steed. I am happy to have helped Tim reignite his passion for cycling, however sometimes I feel I have created a monster! he is now keener than me on cycling, new bikes, and planning trips and rides.
Tim did an epic Coast to Coast walk a couple of years ago and when he came up with the idea of doing a C2C again but this time by bike, I couldn’t help myself but joining him in this adventure. I rode London to Paris last year and I was craving for a new cycling challenge.
We started planning the route, we wanted to do a different route to the official C2C bike route. As Tim wanted to revisit some of the places he visited on his Coast to Coast walk (with “places” I really mean “mountains”), we ended up with a set of routes going through the Lake District, The Yorkshire Dales and Moors. Starting at Carlisle, then down to Whitehaven and then heading east to Whitby. The elevations were eye-watering, according to the routes we were going to be riding at least two of the top 100 UK climbs.
As keen for adventure as he is, Tim had the idea of camping. I am not a big fan of camping plus I thought if we were going to be on the saddle for hours everyday, we would at least deserve a proper bed, proper rest, a shower and all the facilities you get in a hotel or B&B, plus we will save ourselves from carrying the extra weight of the camping gear. So I had the mission of finding us cycling friendly accommodation for every overnight stop (except for the yurts, that was Tim’s idea).
On the months before our trip we ensured our bikes had some mechanical TLC, I also got a new set of tyres and equipped myself with bike bags. After doing a lot of research and reading endless reviews, I went for Alpkit’s Big Papa seat pack and the Tivaro handlebar bag. Tim also recommended dry bags, which makes packing easier, more organised and protect your clothes from getting wet if it rains (and it was lucky I’ve got them as it rained a lot on the first couple of days), even if your bags are waterproof, some extra protection doesn’t hurt. With the clip on bags I was saving myself from carrying the weight of the pannier racks as they do not require installing any sort of holders on the bike, however you have to strap them on and off every single day, plus you have to make sure you’ve done it properly so they won’t drop and won’t end up touching your wheels, especially when you are going up steep hills (happened to me).
Tim very diligently sorted out our train tickets and the reservations for the bikes. We decided to do our Coast to Coast bike ride in September as, according to Tim, it is the best month for an outdoor adventure in the North with less chance of rain(?).
The day came, Saturday 8th of September 2018. We were at Euston station in London waiting for our train to Carlisle with two very heavy bikes. The adventure was about to begin!