Dear Diary – Page 55b (Early 1960’s – Lake District)

I cycled from Keswick to Penrith before the enormity of crossing the Pennines hit me.

It really did not seem practical based on how tired I was feeling, so I found Penrith railway station, and used up most of my available money on a ticket through the Pennines and close to the A1 road (I cannot recall where I got off the train but it was within easy reach of the A1!

I was soon on the A1 and heading South, but I was still laboring rather more on the pedals than I would have liked, and even the A1 including numerous rolling hills. I was also running very low on food and, more importantly, was almost out of money. I decided that the easiest and fastest way home was to hitch rides!

Standing on the side of the A1, with a bike, and a thumb in the air quickly brought a truck to a stop with an offer of a ride. I was so lucky because he was going all the way down the A1 and would pass very close to Stamford, which was about 14 miles from Walton Crossing. The bike was put on the back of the truck and I climbed up into the cab and settled down for the long drive home.

Getting on my bike again at Stamford was not that bad once my leg muscles had warmed up to the idea, and the thought of being so close to home was the fuel needed to complete this adventure.

As I approached Walton Crossing, some of my trainspotting pals were there. They knew that I biked around a lot and asked the inevitable “Where’ve you been Col?” I just said “The Lake District”. I didn’t think that they needed to know anything else!

I learned many years later about muscle fibers breaking down, and allowing them time to rebuild etc., and so in hindsight, I am not surprised that I literally ran out of muscle! I did not do another long ride after that one.

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