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Day 6 - Reddich to Crich                     Weather icon, click for today's weather in this location Today's weather in Reddich

Thursday 4 May 2006

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Map of fifth day of route, click to go to interactive map

Route Description

After leaving Aileen and family, I want to take in Warwick and Kenilworth as I visited them when I was 12 and would like to see them again. I then turn North again passing Sheepy Magna and Sheepy Parva before making my way to Swadlincote and Derby. Here I am expecting ticker tape and work colleagues to line the streets - well, my team at least! Then it is the familiar commuting route to Crich. My longest day so far so it's a good job the bed will be familiar!


Route map.

Mileage: 94 - they're getting longer!

Cycling time: 5 hours 37 mins

Average speed: 16.7 mph

Top speed: 35.9 mph

Start to finish time: 8 hours 30 minutes

Worst hill: Bullbridge Hill (my daily commuting nemesis!)

High point: 669ft

Mileage to date: 405

The heat is on for the newest member of the chain gang...

My earliest start time so far of 8am was ably assisted by Catherine's delicious porridge - still not fed up with it! Thanks to Aileen and family for your great hospitality.

I toyed with whether or not to divert to Stratford on Avon and was wooed by the promise of Kendal mint cake by Paul, a contemporary from Durham University days. So on reaching Henley in Arden, it was rather counter-intuitive to turn south for 6 miles!

However, I was warmly welcomed in Stratford and had a cup of tea in the company of Paul, his colleagues and Professor Stanley Wells - a scholar of Shakespeare - who kindly gave me a donation for Crusaid.

Turning back north, I was soon in Warwick for a quick photo of the castle I remember with fondness from a school trip some 20 years ago - that ages me! I then headed to Kenilworth Castle, a rather more romantic ruin, and the more beautiful for it.

Time was now pressing - it was 11.08am and I had a 2pm appointment with the Mayor of Derby on the Council House steps some 50 miles further up the road! So it was head down for the next three hours...The countryside I passed through was very agricultural, but pretty. And the roads were amazingly quiet considering I was passing between Birmingham and Coventry. My only concern was colliding with bees, drunk with the pollen from the numerous oil seed rape fields I was cycling through!

Worryingly, just past Over Whitacre I started to slow down...was the infamous cyclist's 'bonk' (carbohydrate levels all depleted, result, grind to a halt) nearly upon me? A pub loomed large and I stopped to buy a cheese sandwich and refill my water bottles. This seemed to do the trick and I was back up to a decent cruising speed and only 15 mins behind schedule.

So it was 2.15pm when I swung round the roundabout outside the Council House to the cheers of group of my colleagues waiting on the steps. I was immediately dispatched to make my approach a second time so Simon could get the perfect photograph (please e-mail me a few Simon, so I can post them here!)!

Very kindly, the Mayor came out to give me some words of encouragement and for photos. He also sponsored me, so thanks to him for that! I was also presented with carrot cake, courtesy of the Council Riverside Restaurant.

Cake Review - Carrot cake. moist, tasty, but a little on the heavy side! Hopefully won't weigh me down tomorrow! - 6 out of 10.

I would like to thank everyone who took time to come out and cheer me on, particularly on election day - I can't express how much encouragement it gave me to see you and to get all your words of support.

After an hour of rest, and a few gallons of water (Derbyshire is officially the hottest county in England according to my inbuilt thermostat (see red cheeks in Mayor photo!)), I was ready to head up the Derwent valley on my very familiar commuting route home. Though a toughy, Bullbridge Hill held no fear for me and I was soon back in Crich and home. As I write this, Rog is slaving over a hot stove to produce a large stir-fry with mounds of rice...can't wait as lunch was the cheese sarny and a couple of bananas - not enough for a growing lad like me!

Tonight, though the pub quiz beckons, I think I will be popping in for a quick guiness only before getting an early night...the thought of Snake Pass tomorrow fills me with trepidation!

Keep reading, keep sending the messages and I'll keep the wheels turning. Oh, and the total is ever so near 4,000 - what do you make of that?

With Paul at Shakespeare's birthplace

Warwick Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

With the Mayor of Derby

Rog with a mound of food!

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