Day 11: Need to think a little about numbers, of miles

Miles: 54, Nearest town where I slept: Hollins Green (10 miles West-Southwest of Manchester)

29-Jul-11

I’m going to start this time with some bits that are less interesting than some of the stories that have come up, but some numbers are still important. Besides, a great story came up on Day 12, so I can have some fun in the next entry.

In the last few days, I’ve become more conscious of finishing enough miles each day. I think I need an average distance of 45 miles each day, but the tricky part is that there’s no way to tell what the exact distance is from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I’m using a route from the British Cycle Touring Club (CTC), which shows up in my sat nav. It’s a great organization, but there are just too many factors to be certain about the mileage, since there is no standard route. There are actually a few routes, the B&B route, the fast route, and the one I’m taking, the hostel route. All these routes can also vary in terms of their total distance, road closures, traffic conditions, and everyone takes an occasional wrong turn. And for me, I add a few “non-route” miles whenever I stay at a campsite. The CTC says it’s “about” 1,000 miles.

Just for a fun number, I’m using 1,111 miles as my target. In te first week, I was patient with myself for not cycling enough miles. I knew I had a lot to learn, since this is my first cycle tour over 3 days. But now, if I want to finish, the learning has to get cut back and the miles have to increase, especially since I had some 25-35 days early on.  Currently, my average is 42.8 miles a day. I’ll be fairly comfortable if I can get that average up to 45, especially since I would like to have one day at home before I go back to work on August 16. One lesson I’ve learned is that a surprising number of things can go wrong in any given day, like flat tires, a taking an hour or more finding a place to sleep, or running out of something important. Currently, I’m very low on chain oil. But as that wonderful British saying goes, keep calm & carry on.

On to some cycling stuff, yesterday, I fixed my second flat tire in 2 days. Today, I had to accelerate quickly, and my rear wheel came loose. I’m glad it was on quiet country road and no traffic was around.  I suspect I didn’t tighten the axel bolts enough when I fixed the 2 flat tires, both of which were on the rear tire. I try not to tighten anything as hard as I can push, since I have a history of breaking things with that technique.

I had to accelerate quickly, on a quiet road with no traffic, so I could try to take a picture of myself on the bike. I found a good spot, with a short and slow S curve and a stone wall right next to it, for the camera. I put the camera on the highest pause, 30 seconds, and had it take 3 shots. The result is what you see above, after I put the rear tire back on.

The countryside changed from farm country to more woodlands, some canals, and some sights. As you can see in the other picture, I also found a fun veggie shop. I’m going to keep this entry short, so I can write about the fun surprise that happened on Day 12.

3 thoughts on “Day 11: Need to think a little about numbers, of miles

  1. Hiya Steven, we met yesterday near Waddington, remember? After reading a couple of your blogs, I think I should have taken a photo or two of you on your bike, it sounds like an elaborate trick to take them yourself with the timer! Hope you had a good time through Lancashire, I dont know the full route but I expect you had a few hills in there. Good luck for the rest of your journey, I hope to do something similar one day, perhaps after retiring though!

  2. Hi Keith,Good to hear from you! And, thanks for your comment about my photos. It’s no problem that you didn’t take one of me. The fact that you pulled up and started chatting is still a great memory. Hey, the photo of you on your bike turned out pretty good. If you add your email address here, I’ll send it to you, but probably when the trip is over. Hope you can cycle end to end sooner than later. It’s a great experience.

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