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Bike (GNT) – Kirkby Stephen to Bleatarn, Cumbria, England

June 2024

Day 2. The Curse of Kirkby Stephen continues. (OK, some of it may have been operator error, but “the Curse of Kirkby Stephen sounds more interesting!)
Yesterday we had problems with the GPS map thingie – OsmAnd – but today it worked fine, (well fine-ish).
After setting off from the campsite, we headed off along the Viaduct Round route, where we had done a wee recce yesterday with Molly. (The photos are from then.) Then after a very slight glitch with the GPS, (where we paused Rho’s Sunto watch), we free wheeled down the tree covered road into the chocolate box village of Hartley. Pedalling along the quiet road we could hear the sound of the water flowing through the leat that followed the main street.
On exiting Hartley, we truly entered the countryside, with fields and trees all around.
With the sun beating down on us as we entered Winton, it was time to de-layer. It was only as we did this, that Rho realised her watch was still on pause. Strike one for the Curse of Kirkby Stephen.
With watch back on, and clothes taken off, (not all of them!), we were back on the road.
After a few more turns, we crossed a small wooden footbridge and entered a mini jungle, with just a hint of a path through it. (This would have made a perfect photo.)
Once out of that, we were back onto the tarmac and en route to the bright lights of the thriving metropolis of Bleatarn, (population of 233). But wouldn’t you know it, just as we reached the outer city limits Rhona heard a noise. (No it was not the sound of taxi cabs honking their horns, or police sirens screaming through the streets, or even Tina Turner singing about “Bleatarn City Limits”.) It was her back tyre. The tyre had ripped and now the inner tube had ballooned out of the side of her wheel, rubbing against the rear fork. Looking like that big spot you used to get on the end of your nose when you were a teenager and needed popping, (or was that just me?) Strike two for the Curse of Cathy Kirkby!
What to do? Rummaging through our kit we found some paracord and duct tape. With this Rhona did a Blue Peter job, (for our American cousins think “MacGyver”, but with less explosions and more sticky-back tape and elephant poo), and hey presto, a sort of fixed back wheel.
Sadly, the helter skelter of Bleatarn will have to wait another day, as we decided the safest option was to get back to the van asap.
I followed along with the Go Pro on my bike, hoping to get some pics of Rho’s patched up tyre glistening in the mid-morning sun. But it was not to be. The Go Pro had failed to take any pictures that day. Strike three to the Curse of Carly Simon!
What is life without adventure and the odd bit of cursing!

GNT (one way) kms: 12.40
Total (round trip) kms: 12.43

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