It started badly. It started very badly indeed with me trying to lift two bikes, weighing 15kilos each, above my head and then try to fasten them to a bike rack. It was made worse by Steve trying to help. In a perfect world I would have happily stepped aside to allow the stronger person to do it but Finn and I were about to go to the Peak District on our own, and if I couldn’t do the bikes on my own then Finn and I were doomed to spend a week just looking at two mountains bikes attached to the back of the car. Eventually with a scraped arm and covered in bike oil I managed it. The next task was to drive the car loaded up, again it probably sounds daft to anyone that can pull a trailer, zip around the country with surfboards, roof boxes and bikes hanging off their car’s extremities but I’ve never had so much as a comedy nose on my car. Off I set at 3 mph on a practice run certain that every speed bump was going to dislodge the bikes and leave them scattered across the roads ready to maim and kill everyone in my wake. Feeling vaguely confident that I wasn’t about to create carnage I popped Finn in the car and we set off.
|Dimension into parallel universe.
For us things tend to be last minute, I don’t mind this but it can throw up problems. Last year we travelled to Scotland in a car that we had only bought the day before. This year we only managed to get the bike rack the day before, leaving us no time to test things out and fine tune them before the trip.
The journey north was wet and slow. It was slow because the driving rain wasn’t helping and I was still terrified that the whole system was going to collapse all across the motorway. It took us 8 hours to get there for what should apparently have been a 6 hour journey tops but to be honest once I entered the Peak District the roads become a challenge in themselves. Tiny lanes, sudden ravines, hairpin bends and lots of quaint villages oh and lots and lots of cyclists. Everywhere. Especially on every bend.
Something that the Peak District has introduced is a blanket speed limit of 50mph, no matter how wide and safe and rural the road, the top speed is 50mph. Given the types of roads and road users they have, this made a huge amount of sense to me and it got me thinking if Cornwall would also benefit from a similar restriction.
Going to a tourist destination like the Peaks you can’t help but draw other parallels with Cornwall. All in all they seem much more relaxed about their visitors, in Cornwall I sometimes think we are very up front and personal, sometimes too in your face if that makes sense. In the Peak District it was much more a take it or leave it attitude. There was no sense of bending over backwards or going the extra mile, sometimes it felt a bit brusque other times it was nice and refreshing.
The thing that impressed both of us the most though was the area’s attitude to bicyclists. There are trails everywhere to suit all abilities and all distances. There were extreme mountain bike routes and long distance routes over 50 miles, many of the roads had dedicated cycle lanes and all routes were well maintained and clearly laid out. Everyday Finn and I did about 20 miles almost exclusively car free. It would be nice to be able to do the same back home.
Finally the bit we liked the most about the Peak District was that although we were out all day long, every day, we missed every single rain shower!