My bike riding mileage was intentionally steadily increasing, for no other reason than I just wanted go further and further afield! My early rides were around 30 miles, but it was not too long before I completed a 100 mile ride.
I had no knowledge of training methods. I just knew intuitively to increase the ride mileage slowly; pack as much food and water as I could carry; start pedaling, and have a good sleep at the end!
Once I had achieved that 100 mile ability, I wanted to ride to the Lake District. It was just under 300 miles so, in my mind, that was a 3-day ride to get there! I could do the whole trip in a week! (Anybody see the flaw in that logic?)
My first stage was, as now usual, an early night start. Over that night and during the following day, I covered around 80 miles or so before stopping to rest. It was easier for me to sleep during the day as I had no spare money for overnight accommodations! After a rest, I cycled on and eventually arrived at Halifax quite late at night. I was really tired and so found Halifax railway station with the intention of sleeping there.
The Halifax police were not happy about my arrangements. They were apparently concerned about my well being and suggested a Bed & Breakfast place they knew. When they understood that I had no money for such a luxury, they took me there anyway and talked to the lady who ran it. Her response was something like “Okay luv. Come inside and grab some sleep and it won’t cost you anything.” It didn’t! It was simply North Country hospitality.
Two days later, I was crossing the “border” into Cumberland and on that evening I was on the shore of Lake Windemere. It had started to rain and the only readily available shelter was a public toilet in which I spent a dry, but rather uncomfortable, night!
The following day, I seem to recall was a rather “stiff” start, but everything loosened up once the sun came out and I had warmed up. My next destination was Keswick and I had a lot of fun just using the roads that closely followed the lakes. There were numerous goats grazing the hill sides, and wandering across the road, which made it all very interesting!
The ride to Keswick was much harder than I expected, partially because of the terrain of the Lake District, but also (in hindsight) because I was riding every day. The plan was to head East from Keswick, and pick up the A1 (which was the main road Southwards and down the East coast) and then head for home. However, between where I was and the A1 was the Pennine mountain range. The reason that the Lake district was such a lovely area, was the reason that I could be having some challenges in my immediate future!