02 June 2014

M2H14: Ferriby to Hull

The final leg was another stretch I've cycled many times. From Ferriby I followed the Trans Pennine Trail alongside the Humber (picture). There's still a sign up claiming the route is 'closed to cyclists', even though it reopened weeks ago. Being an experienced touring cyclist, I always read such signs carefully. And then ignore them.

After the Humber Bridge I went along Hessle Road, which is to Hull what the East End is to London: the heart of its working class, though the Krays wouldn't fit in here. They'd be seen as posh, soft goody-goodies. Anyway, mum came from this area, and dad had his shop here, but it hasn't thrived for decades and many of the shopfronts are a forlorn row of shutters (picture).

Still, Hull has a fair few things to cheer about at last - a Premiership footy team in Europe next season, some glimmers of windfarm industrial development, its status as UK City of Culture 2017... It's not fashionable to sneer at us any more.

All of which would have bemused glum librarian-poet Philip Larkin, who made his home, and wrote his best work, in Hull. His statue adorns the train station with a quote from The Whitsun Weddings. The statue is excellent but lacks one vital element, which I provided (picture): Larkin was a cyclist.

Which seemed a suitably poetic place to end Mull to Hull. It's been two fabulous weeks of awesome Scots and Yorks scenery, friendly people, and mostly decent weather. Apart from the blowout on Day 1, the bike was impeccably behaved: 650 miles without a problem. Another delightful cycle tour across this wonderful island of ours. Final scores: Miles today 9
Total miles Mull to Hull 647

Eagles 1 pr White Tailed, 1 male Sea
Deer 13 live, 1 dead
Two-dimensional rabbits c70
Punctures 1 (blowout on Mull)
Pizzas 1 (blowout in Keswick)
Best scenery Yorkshire Dales
Best meal At Mum's, but Vic and Pete's cauliflower cheese came close
Best beers Skye Red in Ayr Wetherspoon; Old Peculier in Aysgarth Falls Hotel
Total cost £305
Value Priceless

01 June 2014

M2H13: York to Ferriby

York looked lovely, on the hottest, most beautiful day of the year. The Millennium Bridge (picture) was busy with the city's everyday cyclists shuttling across the Ouse to Rowntree Park. If they were hoping to play table tennis at the park's free-access table they were to be disappointed, because we were using it.

I rode the now very familiar route from my house to my mum's. I've done this dozens of times since I moved to York three years ago. By dint of shortcuts, lanes and snickets, I can do the shortest, most car-free, nicest route on autopilot now. In stark contrast to the uproariously hilly Dales, this part of Yorkshire is snooker-table flat (picture). You could almost be in the Netherlands, only with fewer windmills and more breweries.

There's little in the way of postcard-shots in this quiet rural back route: few villages, none especially photogenic. In fact, the settlement with the highest population is probably this one, a sort of Butlin's for pigs. There was a lot of contented grunting and snuffling here, much of it from me.

I did the 37 miles to Ferriby, the village I grew up in, in three joyous hours. Those who have enjoyed mum's legendary generosity will understand that the spent calories were swiftly replenished several times over.

Miles today 37
Total miles 638