Day 9: South Shields to Middlesbrough, 53 miles

Posted on: Monday, 20 June 2011 by Toby Carroll in category Cycle ride

Day 9 groupDinosaur Park at Middlesbrough proved a great location for the pre-ride bacon butty, but there were no takers for the security of the car park so we took John’s lead and parked just down the road… or was it 5 miles Colin?

15 of us left from South Shields with the sun trying to break through the clouds following our rendezvous with Edgar and the Asda boys who had ridden down to South Shields the 9 miles from Gateshead. Little wonder that Kevin decided not to add on the extra 9 mile loop.

Prize for the longest traveller

The prize for the longest traveller went to Edgar and his trusted masseur Stan. They just pipped John and Wendy from Cockermouth, who enjoyed the industrial finish at Ellesmere Port so much that they signed up to see the Teeside Chemical plants.

Weather takes a turn

Despite its reputation the North East coast was quite pleasant, but 10 miles into the ride the rain started to fall and before long arm-warmers and rain jackets were being sported. Nikki added an inland loop to make sure we achieved the obligatory 50 miles, and we eventually completed 53 miles before we got back to the cars.

Flapjacks and mars bars

The body conscious refused to stop for fish and chips and we rode through to the end without anything other than flapjacks and Mars bars to sustain us - although by the look of things Steve had brought a packed lunch.

Whilst the chemical plants on the Teeside horizon took the gloss off the pleasant rolling inland hills, the rain and spray from the leading bikes obscured much of the view anyway.

Negotiating the Transporter Bridge

Heading into Middlesbrough we opted for the Transporter Bridge - everyone was of the opinion that a charge of 70p for a bike was a rip-off compared to £1.30 for a car. Stewart negotiated a flat rate of £5 for the 14 bikes. Mick, who had led the way up the hills, sat in the pack as the bridge traversed the Tees.

Wet and bedraggled we returned to our cars having made good time. Driving south en route to home it was dry and progressively warmer hitting 20 degrees.

See more pictures from day 9

Find out more about FTA's Transaid Cycle Challenge

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