I have just spent an hour writing a blog of the days events and then lost it due to a technical issue. Be damned if I could be bothered re-writing it again as I lie here in an airless bedroom in 300 degree heat at the back of a pub in Holbeach whilst typing on my iPhone.
Instead I am going to publish a series of photos and let them tell the story of the ride through Lincolnshire today and then upload the commentary once I get home. So if you’re desperate to read about today’s ride then revisit this site in 48 hours.
(See commentary at bottom of page)
In the meantime here are the photos of the days ride. Floating down a stagnant canal on a blue inflatable mattress seemed far more appealing than riding 169km in 28C heat.
A very typical North Lincolnshire scene.
And another typical scene passed. It was here that when chatting to a local walker and commenting on the flatness of the terrain she responded with “Yes. It is flat for sure. We live on a street around the corner called Bracken Hill. The only thing accurate about that name is the bracken bit.”
Long boats and canals. A lot of both in these parts.
The irony of this sign caused me stop and take a photo of it. Only moments earlier I had endured my closest call of the entire ride with an errant driver who didn’t understand how to take a corner at a T-junction and in the process of turning right almost took me out.
It may look like a cafe you would expect to see off a major highway in the USA (it does to me) but just outside of Lincoln ol “Rosies” was an oasis offering respite from the heat and a solid workers coffee. I think she also managed to call me “Darling” 6 times between me ordering, drinking my coffee, and returning the mug.
Lincoln Minster (Cathedral to the rest of us) . Construction started 1072 and it was opened in 1311. At a height of 83 meters it was for 200 years the tallest building in the world.
Bearded tourist I saw in York and aforementioned cathedral.
It’s an impressive building. I will be back.
Lincolnshire canals and a cycle path alongside it that extends 30 miles from Lincoln to the town of Boston. Easy riding if not a little dull after time.
A rather pleasant way to spend a Monday afternoon. On a long boat that is. Not cycling on black tar in 28C heat.
Away from the Witham River the roads were also loooooong and flat. This section 6km with not so much as a kink.
Fens and Canals. The former being the name given to the low lying marshy areas of land prone to flooding. Plenty of those in these parts. Given the stagnant nature of the water in this canal there’s clearly not a lot of current. Which is a good indication of the flatness of the terrain.
Passed a lot of Lincoln County flags. A lot. Clearly a very proud county.
Lincoln is the food county of Britain Supplying 20% of the country’s sugar beet, 12% of its potato crop and 30% of its field vegetables including cabbage, kale, broccoli, carrots.
Making hay whilst the sun shines.
( 36 hours later and as promised some thoughts for the day) ...
Sitting at breakfast there was a low mist/fog surrounding us. I commented to Brent that fog meant one good thing at least. No wind. His response was '' Ahh yes, but it is due to get hot today''. He wasn't wrong. By the time we had done with eating breakfast and were now packing our bikes the sun had burnt the fog away leaving a scattering of clouds that by mid morning had completely disappeared leaving an azure sky and a summers sun beating down upon us and the black tarmac upon which we rode.
This part of the ride was flat. Very very flat. Think chessboard flat. Most of the morning was spend pedalling alongside canals and fens (the latter being low lying areas of marsh that are prone to flooding). Heading Into Lincoln we picked up the Witham River upon which the city of Lincoln is based and followed that into and out of Lincoln.
There was a stretch of road that was close to 6km long without so much as a kink in it. Dead straight and dead flat.
The only climbs of the day were up and over bridges that spanned the canals and one very steep but short climb up a cobblestone laneway to Lincoln Cathedral.
No lack of long/narrow boats in this part of the world and with recent events in regards to Covid I wasn't surprised to read that they have become a very popular form of permanent residence for many who no longer want to involve themselves in traditional society living.
Lincoln cathedral is an impressive building and to this cyclists mind more-so than that Minster in York. On reflection as to why my preference I would have to say the fact it sits atop of a small but steep hill makes it a more imposing structure. We sat outside a pub in the shadows of the cathedral and enjoyed listening to a talented musician busk his way whilst we munched a hearty lunch and our first visit in over 18 months into the main bar area of pub without having to wear masks and being able to order at the bar.
Post lunch the ride was very similar to the pre lunch scene. Alongside the Witham River that ostensibly runs all the way to the town of Boston is a pedestrian / cycle only designated path. The cycle track is close to 30 miles long. It made for easy, if not slightly dull riding. At one point the path was the main rail line from south to north and even hosted the Flying Scotsman. However the area is also very rich in coal and around Colby in particular there was a lot of heaving mining that undermined the integrity of the land in the area to such an extent that a decision was made to move the rial line further to the west. In one scribble of a pen decreeing the move be made, hundreds of small businesses were wiped out and with them the livelihoods of many.
Although a day of flat terrain it was nonetheless a long one in the saddle and as the wind picked up in the afternoon and we weaved our way past fens and canals we were hit by the wind from varying angles which made for extra effort. Needless to say we started to wilt under the heat too. The last 25km to Holbeach seemed to go on forever, but the reward was a cooling shower in a shoe box of a pub's accommodation and then a hearty curry at the local Indian Restaurant washed down with three ice cold Cobra beers that never tasted so good.