I set off for the Darlington Midsummer Bike Ride in some trepadation. It's marked up as a "2-bike" ride in the leaflet. The next hardest is the 50 mile Tourist Trial. Just in case the going was too tough, I'd packed a map and encouraged AndyRoo to go along as well; we could always drop off the back and make our own way home, leaving the shaven-legged roadies to carry on their relentless chain gang.
I needn't have worried. The pace was, erm, leisurely; we took 2-and-a-half hours to travel around 10 miles and everyone managed to keep up. We even had an ice cream stop half-way.
Though the pace was slower than I'd have liked, it was an enjoyable ride out and very well attended - the biggest turn-out yet for a guided ride in Darlington with around twenty riders. There was a huge range of bikes, from me on my 'jumpy' GT, to women with baskets on the bars, to a shaft-drive bike to a Dawes Galaxy, almost all manner of bike was represented.
We travelled out past the Darlington College to Nunnery Lane, where we took a bridleway out onto one of the roads behind Cockerton, then along a bridleway by the motorway (over an old railway line) and finally to Walworth Grange. From Walworth, we headed back into Darlington via the Brinkburn Nature Reserve and Greenbank Road.
Many thanks to Own Wilson for leading the ride, despite his bad knee.
Given the pace of this ride, I'd considered entering the 50 mile Tourist Trial, but it was last Sunday. The 70 mile ride on the fourth of July may be a touch too far for me.
If you'd like to have a go on one of the guided rides remaining this year, there are still a few to go. Next up is the Cycle Treasure Trail through Skerningham Woods, meeting at Asda, 11:00am on Sunday July 25th, for a ride of around 1.5 hours. Free entrey, with prizes for all.