Brighton HPV world championships 2001
Cyclevision 2002 / 2003
Land's End to John O'Groats 2006
The Dutch Bike Bits blog includes comparisons and reviews of cycling components.
The Hembrow Cycling Holidays blog has stories about cycle routes in Drenthe.
We organize Study Tours to show off the best cycling infrastructure in the world.
Holiday 2000 - Lincolnshire
For a part of the holiday in 2000 we decided to leave the children with their grandparents near Lincoln for a few days and got for a cycle camping tour of Lincolnshire. The route is found on Landranger maps 122 and 113 and I think it should be easy to follow the route if you have those maps.
Judy rode her Flevobike Oke-Ja recumbent with equipment in a pannier and on the rack, and I rode a Pashley PDQ recumbent with BOB Yak trailer containing the rest of our gear. Recumbent bicycles in general make excellent touring machines, being very comfortable and giving a great view forwards. I find the PDQ in particular to be an especially good machine for touring as it has the most comfortable seat of any recumbent I have ridden.
On the first day we started in Mareham-le-Fen where Judy's parents live and set off south as far as Tumby Woodside before turning east towards Skegness. We passed through Stickney and got very close to Friskney before turning back north through Wainfleet Bank to our campsite at Thorpe St. Peter.
Lincolnshire offers some good places for cycling. There are many roads which have hardly any traffic on them at all. The land in the South is very flat - which of course means considerable headwinds can be a problem, but hills are non-existent.
The first day passed without any bad weather at all, and we found the campsite near a pub to be very agreeable until after dark when the nearby cows kept us awake with braying through the night. It also turned out to be much colder than expected and by the morning we felt somewhat like ice-cubes.
The second day started with us promising to buy ourselves some better sleeping bags before the next night.
We rode East through Havenhouse Station and through Wainfleet Clough. Meeting the cost road at Bramble Hills we first turned south to visit the nature reserve and visitors centre before heading back north to Skegness.
An Army and Navy store at Skegness turned out to have good quality sleeping bags for a decent price, so these were bungied on top of the BOB trailer before a quick ride on a roller coaster and continuing on our way.
The coast road wasn't exactly traffic free, but it was quite scenic. We picked up a lunch of nice healthy chips in Ingoldmells and continued through Chapel St. Leonards, Anderby Creek, Sutton on Sea and Trustthorpe before turning inland and getting to our next campsite at Trusthorpe Hall in Thorpe fairly early. From here I rode back into Sutton on Sea for a takeaway and a bottle of wine which we polished off in the tent.
We slept much better tonight with our better insulation !
This morning we woke up much warmer and in far better spirits.
Setting off South-West, we headed through Saleby, South Thoresby and Muckton. It was notable that the land was a bit less flat than it had been and we had the odd small hill to climb.
From Little Cawthorpe we went through Louth and out on another minor road directly north past Brackinborough Hall and Little Grimsby before heading west towards North Elkington. 124 metres here. Quite an altitude...
Somewhere around here we stopped for lunch and a woman told us that she used to ride, but that it's too dangerous now, "especially at my age".
From there we headed for Memi and Binbrook. Just on the crest of the hill at Memi, the heavens opened and we got drenched.
This was the sort of weather than no waterproofs can keep out. An excellent example of the British Summer at its best !
We stopped under a large tree for a while, and discovered another couple, ramblers, also sheltering the other side.
Then the thunder and lightning started and being behind a tree seemed like a bad idea. We were also starting to get soaked under the waterproofs so set off again in search of the nearest pub.
On entering Binbrook we found a pub which welcomed us despite our desperately wet clothes. We downed a couple of beers while the weather continued its worst outside.
When the weather cleared up we set off again in the direction of Stainton le Vale and Walesby. The steep downhills before Stainton were a challenge on a bike with a somewhat overloaded BOB trailer attached and I had to shop some caution with speed. Getting back up the hill at the other side was a different kind of challenge.
At Walesby we found our campsite, in a farm field with the lack of hot water made up for somewhat by very friendly people. Luckily the weather had completely dried up by now, and we managed quite well overnight.
Waking on the fourth day we realised how beautiful the surroundings were - except, that is, for our untidy looking camp including yesterdays wet clothes trying to dry out on our bikes.
We were in the middle of a huge field and a very long way from anything but the farm house.
We had a leisurely breakfast on the conveniently supplied picnic table and set off.
We headed South through Tealby Thorpe, where a rather full ford threatened the contents of our panniers and trailer, North Willingham, Sixhills, Hainton, Benniworth, Sotby, Great Sturton, Minting and Horsington before finally arriving in Woodhall Spa where we spent our last night under canvas.
Woodhall Spa had a variety of campsites, none of which seemed to suit us for one reason or another. The first site we came to was full, then the Caravan site wouldn't take us without caravans, but the third site we asked was happy to let us stay.
The fifth day was our last, and a very short cycle at that. It is only a small distance from Woodhall Spa back to Mareham-le-Fen, and we took the route through Haltham and Wood Enderby.
Back to find out what adventures the children had got up to with Judy's parents.
Lincolnshire was enjoyable to cycle around. The contrast between the flat south and the hilly north provides some variation in scenery, and most of the roads were not too busy to be pleasant to cycle on.
However, Cycling is sadly somewhat a minority sport in the UK these days, and the lack of action by local councils does little to counter this. There are plenty of words, but they mean nothing unless followed by action and money. While Lincolnshire ought to be a very good cycling area, you don't see a lot of other cyclists and no-where do cycling levels approach those of most Northern European countries these days. Very little decent cycling infrastructure exists, meaning that where traffic levels are higher you have to ride with a considerable number of motor vehicles. Speed limits are high in the UK and drivers are not always careful around cyclists. We returned to Lincoln in 2001 on holiday and while the Youth Hostel was excellent, we found the city incredibly inhospitable to cyclists. I wouldn't recommend it with children on their own bikes. However, a good time can still be had if you're careful about planning a quiet route.
If you enjoyed this webpage, we have a few others which may also be of interest:
A cycling holiday in the Netherlands with our children when they were a few years older.
When David competed in the 2001 HPV world championships in Brighton.
Riding from Cambridge to Lelystad to take part in the Cyclevision recumbent racing event in the Netherlands.
When David eventually got around to riding from Land's End to John o'Groats - on the same Pashley PDQ in 2006.
A review of the Pashley PDQ.
For more ride stories, bike reviews etc. see the bicycles index.