Adverse cambers- prologue Day 1 (89 km, 1100m)

day1england

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Ready to leave Ian and Fiona’s home in Northwood, London

Adverse cambers sums up today quite nicely. As we were descending today I saw that sign and wondered what it could mean. Quite obviously adverse is not good, and camber is the road slope…then it hit me like a bolt of lightening as I negotiated a very sharp left hand turn with the camber going the wrong way!!! In my panic, I slammed the brakes hard including my front brake, shoot out into the centre of the road, just pulling the bike back into correct alignment just in the nick of time.

So applying the adverse camber rule, always expect the unexpected!

We had multiple navigational and Garmin issues but did follow the Grand Union Canal for a very pleasant few kilometres along a very narrow gravel track. Great to witness life on the canal and the activity around the locks.

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Grand Union Canal

We travelled through Chorleywood and Chenies. We had been to Chenies on our 2015 trip, doing a walk along the River Chess with Fiona, Ian and Rupert.

Climbing up and down hills throughout the Chilterns was slow going today for a few reasons. Firstly we needed to get used to the two extra luggage bags on our bikes with around 8-10 kg of weight. Then we were in unchartered territory on roads with pot holes, dirt roads, bike tracks, tow paths, poor vision along lanes where the tree canopies created a tunnel effect and so on.

Finally it rained heaps and the road was quite slippery and were were very cautious.

We stopped at the thirteenth century market town of Tring thinking we would have an extended lunch break. Standing outside the local church that we were about to check out Tony suffered a mechanical issue whereby his chain was jammed in his front derailleur. He made a few adjustments and released the chain but his derailleur was not right. He was becoming increasingly frustrated. We located the local bike shop and Neil fixed the bike and would not take any payment.  He asked if I knew Ritchie Porte and my answer surprised him I think.  “Yes since he was a teenager involved in swimming”.

So we headed back to the church and I entered and met a lovely old chap who was delighted to have company and a chat. He insisted that we bring our bikes into the church. I resisted but he said “the vicar does”. Interesting old church has a section going back to the 1100’s.

We then climbed up and down more through Widdinton, Aldbury, Hastoe, Wendover, Great Hampden then Speen. We were not keen on stopping as it was raining heavily now.

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Speen is a pretty area, home to the adverse camber!

We skirted West Wycombe before arriving in Lane End. Unfortunately the prior arrangements made for our Bed and Breakfast failed as there was no one there. For around 90 min we stood outside in the rain getting colder and colder. I was shaking uncontrollably, and knocking on neighbours doors trying to locate the whereabouts of the mystery person who was meant to be there to let us in.

In the meantime a local lady was walking her dog and had noticed us. She enquired as to our well being and invited us into her home. Initially I resisted as I wanted to make sure I did not miss the arrival of the mysterious neighbour. She brought us a welcoming and very warm cup of tea.

Reinforcements arrived in the form of her husband who was armed with thick coats which we gratefully wore. He told us he was a cyclist. The deal was sealed and we went into their home and he stored our bikes in his van.

Sarah then made phone calls and ran around sourcing keys and we were able to get into our accomodation.

Many thanks Sarah, Al and Freddie for your extraordinary kindness. Strava details have been swapped!

11 thoughts on “Adverse cambers- prologue Day 1 (89 km, 1100m)

  1. Andy Brockbank

    The UK on all it’s glory – rain but concern from locals for friendly looking very wet and cold visitors. Don’t mention BREXIT – I did to my cousin and am still living to regret it. I guess you wouldn’t have seen too many ‘adverse cambers’ on Zwift. 😊

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  2. The adventure begins!! Nice writing ol’ girl… stress tested on the first day by the looks… but handling it in your stride it seems!!! – suggest you change tac and head to Spain where the temps are in the low 30’s!!!!

    Like

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