Coast to Coast - I made it!



I completed my charity ride in aid of CAMDA yesterday. I've done a bit
of a writeup and have photos which I need to get developed but I'll
scan and add them later. Because I didn't get injured, I'll definitely
be riding the Dunwich Dynamo, a 120-mile night ride from London to the
Suffolk coast on the 8/9th July, again for the same charity so please
please sponsor me at
Anyways, here it is:

Day 1

I woke up at 5.30 at my place in Newcastle and went to gather the last
few things I needed for the trip, including my bike pump, which wasn’t
anywhere to be seen so I had to go without it. Not really a promising
start but never mind. I got the train to Carlisle and changed to go to
either Workington or Whitehaven. I ended up starting in Whitehaven
because it looked cold outside in Workington and I couldn’t be bothered
to get out of the nice warm train even though it’s 10 miles further
that way. A passer-by took my picture in front of the harbour because I
couldn’t find the beach for the obligatory wheel-dipping in the sea
thing. I then realised I’d left my map at home and got directed to a
bike shop a mile out of town to buy one, but it was closed down. I
guess that wasn’t a great start but I brought it on myself by not
planning ahead. Normally I’m quite organised but unicycle trips seem to
make me this way – I’m the one pictured on the April Snowdon trip on
the top in –15 windchill with shorts on so it’s nothing new
unfortunately and my stupidity on these trips is something I’ll have to
learn to live with.
The track out of Whitehaven for the first 7 miles or so was a disused
railway, with a steady gradient which was great for keeping up with
b*kes on. There were a few dog walkers about and one small black dog
decided to attack by running past me, turning round and running at me
head on barking its head off kamikaze style. Fearing my first major
unicycle roadkill, I had to bail out, kicking the unicycle off to the
side where it carried on rolling into a hedge, with me landing flat on
my ****. I got a nice bruise but was otherwise fine and carried on. The
track turned onto minor roads, and you could see the hills of the Lake
District looming ahead. It was really impressive but also quite scary
since I’d only brought 125mm cranks so going up any major hills was
going to be knee-snappingly hard. I started to regret not bringing the
change of cranks as the roads got hillier and I struggled to keep going
up some of them. On the plus side I flew past a lot of b*kes on the
uphills, the downside being I was knackered after a couple of hours. My
previous best distance on a uncycle in a day was 15 miles so I
shouldn’t have been surpised by this.
After about 3 hours I got to the first big descent after Lamplugh,
which was the first time I’d used my new brake. I got down to
Loweswater in one piece, but the brake didn’t work smoothly since the
shoes were new and I nearly fell off over the front a few times. The
scenery was really spectacular now, and you could see some massive
hills in the distance. The road started to climb between some of them
up towards the Whinlatter pass, which wasn’t too bad since I took the
main road rather than the offroad b*ke track which looked too much like
hard work. I stopped for coffee at the top and carried on down the main
road into Keswick where I found a b*ke shop who were really helpful and
gave me a free C2C map. It was mid-afternoon by now and I hadn’t got
very far so I left Keswick in a hurry and followed the route along the
river to Threlkeld, stopping for a few photos and to stretch since my
legs hurt by now. The sun came out and the track became less hilly, as
it followed the A66 for quite a long way. Instead of taking the
official route into Penrith (which looked overly complicated and hilly)
I decided to make one up which was probably further and hillier in the
end but seemed like a good idea at the time. About 4 miles before
Penrith my legs stopped working and I couldn’t make it up even
relatively small hills so I decided to chicken out and book into a B&B
for the night, blowing most of my budget for the trip.

Day 2
I started at 8.30 next morning, flew through Penrith and up some pretty
steep hills around Langwathby. The road got steeper and steeper towards
Hartside, the biggest climb of the trip, which had been in view since
late the previous afternoon. It’s basically a massive escarpment and
there are no easy ways over it. The minor road bikes took got too
steep, and I had to walk the last few hundred yards up to where it
joined the main road. The last mile or so was on the main road, which
had switchbacks and so a lesser gradient. It was great to ride this
bit, and only one bloke on a racer overtook me and I overtook countless
b*kes struggling up in easy gears haha!
I stopped at the summit for a few photos and got given free coffee and
biscuits from a group of cyclists who took pity on me. The road down
took forever, and was probably harder than the uphill since by now I
was really saddle-sore and my legs were killing. I made it into
Garigill by about 3 and rested for a while there. The road up to
Nenthead was another big pass, and far to steep to ride mostly,
especially with the short cranks I had on. Most of the b*kes walked it
as well so I didn’t feel so bad. Two more massive uphills followed in
the same style, and I rolled into Rookhope as it started to rain about
6pm. I didn’t have anywhere to stay and no plans except an emergency
foil blanket and sleeping bag. I had planned to use these this night to
grab a few hours sleep and get to Newcastle early in the morning but
the rain made me realise this wasn’t such a great idea after all.
Fortunately a friendly group of cyclists that I’d been talking to along
the way offered to let me sleep in their minibus which was an absolute
lifesaver. I went into the pub where they were staying and ate. There
were loads of cyclists about and they all insisted on buying me drinks,
which was really generous of them. Although it isn’t exactly the best
thing for you, Stella really tastes fantastic when you’ve completely

Day 3 and 4
I got going about 8.30 again, this time with a slight hangover. It also
was raining and as I walked up the dirt track over the moor the fog
closed in and I could see 100 yards at most. This track seemed to go on
forever with no signs and I started to get worried as the rain got
heavier. A tarmac road eventually appeared, and I dropped down into a
small village at the start of the Waskerly Way. The weather was still
foul so I decided not to stop, and just get to Newcastle as quickly as
possible. I pedalled as hard as I could against the wind and rain and
was in Consett in no time, and carried on as quickly as I could along
the Derwent Walk to the river Tyne. By this point my legs were getting
quite painful, I was caked in mud and I almost collapsed walking up the
stairs under Byker bridge behind my house. It was all worthwhile
though, since I got back home in time to eat, get clean and watch the
England match. I had intended to finish the ride after that but I
couldn’t be bothered to go out into the cold and wet again so stayed in
to watch Portugal play Holland. Two key Portuguese players banned for
the quarter-finals against England. Result!
I finished off the last 11 miles to Tynemouth the next morning, but the
end was a bit of an anticlimax, probably because I’ve cycled this bit
so many times and should really have finished it off in 3 days but it
was good to finish all the same.
One thing I noticed in the whole trip was how supportive all the
cyclists were. I only got told “you’ve lost a wheel mate” two times I
think. Most of them were just amazed somebody was unicycling that far
and were really happy to see me. The best comment I got on the whole
trip was right near the end in Newcastle. One bloke told me with an air
of authority that “You’ll never get very far on that mate.” For some
reason I didn’t feel the need to answer that one!


You can't give up hope just because it's hopeless. You gotta hope even
more, and cover your ears and go 'bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla!'

Arrrrrr. Yarrrrrr. etc.
matt_t's Profile:
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Way to go. Pretty impressive for your first long ride!

Just goes to show, a large helping of stubbornness beats planning any

By the way, you are a nutfish for doing Dunwich, that's gonna be
painful. I'm afraid I'm wussing it as I'm told wedding anniversaries
are more important than big long bike / unicycle rides!



my pics
joemarshall's Profile:
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Hi i did the same route as you two years ago and a few others before me.
I did the route in 4 days with help from my mother on her bike and bike
bags. We stayed in B&B's and youth hostels. i've got alot of repect for
you doing the route its not easy and the knee pains the next week hert.
Still the whole thing is a good box to tick :)

tobylewisis's Profile:
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Thanks Joe! I suppose anniversaries are more important - but only just
mind;) Shame you can't be there but at least this way there won't be
anyone there to show me up and actually make it to the end!
Unless anyone else wants to ride?? It's only one page on a roadmap, not
far really...


You can't give up hope just because it's hopeless. You gotta hope even
more, and cover your ears and go 'bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla!'

Arrrrrr. Yarrrrrr. etc.
matt_t's Profile:
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Thanks! Yes I was on a coker, it was about 140 miles in total, and the
distances each day were 50 miles on the firsts 2, then 30 to Newcastle
and 10ish to Tynemouth


You can't give up hope just because it's hopeless. You gotta hope even
more, and cover your ears and go 'bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla!'

Arrrrrr. Yarrrrrr. etc.
matt_t's Profile:
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good job. i bet it was hard to do but also fun at the same time.


I'm not a hardcore rider yet only because I need a trials uni and my
learner is broke
working on level 4 and I just started the level system. I also don't
even like the level system
unicycle for christ
lucky_8's Profile:
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In that case I also think you are nuts for attempting the Dunwich
Dynamo, as 140 miles in 3-and-a-bit days to 120 miles in one night is a
hell of a jump!

You can definitely put me down to sponsor you a tenner if you finish!

domesticated ape
domesticated ape's Profile:
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It is a big jump, but remember that it's only an attempt. I fully expect
to crash and burn!
It's also mainly flat, and I've done some pretty stupid things
comparable to this on bikes so I reckon I have a small chance. I only
need to average 7-8mph to get to the end in time for the bus home at
1pm, and there's no rule that you have to finish in a certain time.
I'll definitely give it a good shot, even though I know there are loads
of far better riders than me out there who could do it far more easily.


You can't give up hope just because it's hopeless. You gotta hope even
more, and cover your ears and go 'bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla!'

Arrrrrr. Yarrrrrr. etc.
matt_t's Profile:
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Nice one Matt! Major congrats. I still think you're a loon for doing the
Dynamo but the best of British luck to you nonetheless.

It was nice to hear about the cyclists helping you out. It's funny how
one minute you can be looking at a **** situation yet thanks to the
kindness of strangers things can turn out peachy again.

Good on yer me hearty!


---unicycle for Bilious - The Oh-God of hangovers---
Make crumbs not War!
Just blame it on the boogie... Get your pics out!
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MrBoogiejuice's Profile:
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