After the debacle of the previous day and still suffering from the disappointment of having to seriously depart from our intended route, we set off on the final leg of the journey in good weather, confident that the worst was now behind us.
Apart from a daunting but ridable (makes a change) climb up Crawley Side out of Stanhope, from then on it was 35 miles of mostly downhill with the wind behind us. Our route took us along Waskerley Way, a disused railway track now cycleway over the spectacular Howns farm viaduct, beyond which the route changes its name to the Consett to Sunderland Railway path.
Apart from crossing a couple of roads, this is a stretch of pleasant cycleway and footpath, complete with sculptures. A short climb at Cox Green where we cross the River Wear to join up with the River Wear Trail for the last three miles of the railway path and eventually the track gives way to tarmac three miles from the coast. Across the river again here and we head for the north pier at Roker, and nearly a mile along the pier to the lighthouse, and we're there!
After a pleasant evening in a motel just outside Durham and yet more Theakston's, we travelled back to Newport on the Tuesday, dropping Chris off in the Midlands and returning the bikes back to Saracen. It must be said that the bike served us well over some difficult and testing terrain and suffered no mechanical failures whatsoever and not even a puncture between us.
The task was then to set about collecting the money people so generously pledged, particularly the staff of Newport Council. We raised in excess of £1,000 for the Stroke Association and we were well pleased with that. I would like to thank my fellow rider Chris Moody and Ashley Davenport for their support and companionship, in particular to Chris for his planning and organisation. The three of us would like to thank Paul Crumpton and Sarah Thackaray for driving the support vehicle and 'being there'
We would also like to thank......
SARACEN MOUNTAIN BIKES of Warwick for the loan of the excellent Sahara Elite front suspension bikes, spares and clothing.
PEDALAWAY, Llangarron for the saddle bags and bar bags.
THE HANDMADE FLAPJACK COMPANY of Coventry for their generous donation of my favourite food in assorted flavours!
W BEN EVANS CHEMISTS, Caerleon Road, Newport for the First Aid materials.
SPAR SUPERMARKET, Caerleon Road, Newport for Mars Bars, Lucosade Sport Isotonic drinks and Bananas.
McCANN ERICKSON for the mobile phone.
ROBERT BROWN for the cellnet phone.
STANDARD TRAFFIC SIGNS, Newport for the decals on the support vehicle.
DEREK PURDY & ADRIAN GIDNEY for researching the route (although there must have been times hen their ears were burning!) and MOUNTAIN BIKING UK for publishing the route details.