Retford to Hinckley – 77 miles
666 miles completed – 358 to go
Our last day of travelling due south – through Sherwood Forest, Nottingham and Leicester – and a day of repairs! We were a bit anxious about how busy the A617, A614 and A60 would be but all made some provision for cyclists so that we nearly always had a metre to the left of the white line to cycle in.
We started early and had breakfast at a lay-by wagon opposite Clumber Park. On to Ollerton near Newark but by then I had lost my chain a couple of times. While we pulled in to pick up a cereal bars Pete checked to find a local Shimano technician. When I spoke to Alex at Sherwood Pines, just four miles off route and deep I the local pine forest, he kindly said he would fit us in. This was wonderful – such a pretty setting – and Alex took my bike to sort the dérailleur settings telling us to go an get a drink for 30 mins. What a lovely place – full of all sorts of sports from mountain biking to Segway I’m a very safe environment (and just along the road from Center Parcs) all run by cheerful young people.
Bike all sorted – thank you so much, Alex – and we headed on down to Nottingham and the cheapest but most delicious tuna toastie at Pam’s Pantry.
Mum to Pete: “Did I ever tell you that Nottingham was where I got to dissect my first human corpse?”
The Garmin took us safely through Nottingham (past Trent Bridge) and on towards Leicester.
Now the terrain was more undulating and after about an hour of climbing I did feel very tired. We pulled off the main road and sat on a bench on the village green at Rempstone, near Loughborough. A lady came out of her house to speak with us. Beryl told us, “If I see cyclists sitting on this seat I always offer them a cup
of tea” – and what tea it was – exactly what was needed. Thank you, Beryl! Beryl, aged 82, was a keen cyclist herself, taking her fold-up bike all over Europe with her friend.
On toward Leicester and, about 10 miles out we came off the main road to avoid the A6. Almost immediately my chain jammed and then once we freed it would not change on the front rings. A kind cyclist, Ivan, pulled up to see if he could help but none of us could sort the problem this time. Ivan therefore offered to take us the seven miles or so to Halfords, which was running an evening service. Thank you, Ivan!
Halfords were wonderful. My bicycle actually needed a new dérailleur. It seems that the miles of pot holes and poor road surfaces had dislodged its settings and position which had caused the jam and then the jam had bent the dérailleur. They couldn’t replace it like for like but we’re able to fit one like Pete’s. While this was happening they made us comfortable with tea and hot choc. Absolutely lovely!
Finally on our way and in Leicester city centre we turned right and headed west for the last 15 miles to Hinckley and Sketchley Grange. Here we did have to apologise for being so grubby – but we’re rewarded with a lovely shower and quite a nice supper. Pete got the waiter to taste his Parmesan wafers because he was so impressed with the flavour – unusual, I thought but there you go!