A sort of retro trip report

taximan

Vetus bumbolum iuvenum corde
While out riding a day or two back I was daydreaming of a ride I did back in the 60s when I was a bit fitter than I am now. I thought it would be fun to do a delayed trip report. I chose to ride from my home in Billingham to Gretna & return. Why Gretna? because it was the Scottish border and sounded a long way away.


Billingham to Gretna & Return
Date About 1964 (ish)
Bike Sun Snipe
Distance about 200 miles
Total Climbing 11082ft
Weather Fine & sunny with a light breeze

I set the alarm for the ungodly hour of 03:00 so I could make an early start for what would be the longest day ride of my life. I had breakfast and gave the bike a final check over, grabbed my Bartholomews ½ inch, and by 04:00 I was riding along Low Grange Avenue just as dawn was beginning to break. As there was very little in the way of traffic I began to eat up the miles and by 05:30 I was passing through Durham city & taking the A691 towards Consett & Hexam. By this time the Sun was up and it was promising to be a fine day. I recall that traffic was not really a problem except in the vicinity of Consett ironworks when I did find a little bit of congestion. By the time I reached Hexam I was ready for a break so I treat myself to a second breakfast, (a bacon butty and a mug of tea) at a transport café by the main road. While I was inside some pratt swiped the front lamp off my bike which was annoying, but at least they didn’t pinch the whole bike.
I stuck with the main road (A69) as far as Brampton, turning off for Longtown where my uncle was stationed but as he was in the army and living on the camp I could not visit. From there it was only a few miles to Gretna where I spotted the Old Blacksmiths Shop & decided to pay a visit. I think it cost me a tanner to get in and view a collection of rusty dusty old tools in a scruffy barn like room. All in all I was not at all impressed but I bought a couple of small souvenirs to prove that I had actually been there and went off to find something to eat before starting the long ride home. I decided to head south along the A6 as far as Penrith then take the A66 and eventually cross Bowes Moor. The A6 was not too bad traffic-wise but Carlisle was a bit of a nightmare. I don’t recall a lot about it except that there seemed to be traffic lights in every corner and the streets were full of lorries.
Shortly after passing through Penrith I stopped at a garage where I bought myself an ice cream and while sitting in the sun for a while I spotted an old school friend out for a day with his mates on their motor bikes so we chatted for a few minutes until I was ready to go. Once again the traffic did not pose a problem on the road but there were lots of road works on the section of road which climbs up to the top of the Bowes Moor but once on the top it was easy riding with a bit of breeze to help me along as far as Bowes where I turned off towards Barnard Castle & Darlington. Once more I met with some heavy town traffic but fortunately, I had enough local knowledge to be able to avoid the worst of it.
I was now back on home ground with about 20 miles or so to go. Shortly after leaving Sadberge I caught up with another cyclist who I knew slightly, he asked where I had been but I don’t think he believed me when I told him how far I had come. The next few miles quickly passed and it was not long before I was back home, enjoying a long soak in the bath while Mam cooked my supper.
 
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Spiderweb

Not So Special One
Location
North Yorkshire
Did you Strava the ride^_^
 

Sharky

Veteran
Location
Kent
It's amazing how much the brain stores. I often think back to some of the rides I did when I was a teen and some sections are so vivid in my mind. Sometimes, I think I could still do them, but then I wake up.
 

midlife

Guru
Reminds me of my rides around Yorkshire in the 70's, especially around the east coast. Not a hint of carbo - loading just a bowl of corn flakes and butties / Aztec bars in the bonk bag :smile:. Thanks for the memory jog.
 
OP
taximan

taximan

Vetus bumbolum iuvenum corde
Reminds me of my rides around Yorkshire in the 70's, especially around the east coast. Not a hint of carbo - loading just a bowl of corn flakes and butties / Aztec bars in the bonk bag :smile:. Thanks for the memory jog.
One thing which amazes me when I look back is that we often went for a ride of perhaps a hundred miles with very little cash in our pockets, no credit cards in those days either. we didn't even have a telephone at home. All we took was probably a puncture outfit and a jam butty. The only real breakdown that I can recall was a time when the back spindle snapped somewhere in darkest Yorkshire and we got a lift home in a bakers van feasting on cream cakes all the way home.
 

OldShep

Senior Member
Lovely read , a shame you turned off at Bowes. If you kept on the 66 you’d have gone right passed where I lived in 1964 aged 12.
Just recalling yesterday how we used to slipstream the lorries and hang on to the back corner of Fergie trailers for miles.
Would you let a child ride on the A66 now?!
 
OP
taximan

taximan

Vetus bumbolum iuvenum corde
Lovely read , a shame you turned off at Bowes. If you kept on the 66 you’d have gone right passed where I lived in 1964 aged 12.
Just recalling yesterday how we used to slipstream the lorries and hang on to the back corner of Fergie trailers for miles.
Would you let a child ride on the A66 now?!
Wasn't that fun, slip streaming lorries, we couldn't do it now, they are a lot quicker than they used to be. (or am I getting slower?)
 
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