Day 3 – Newbury

The day did not start brilliantly. After losing the routes I managed to download them all apart from the first few miles to Hampton Court. No problem, I could just get the sat nav to route me. Good plan.  Except the factory reset seemed to have wiped out the map!  Even though it was on a micro SD so should not have been reset the sat nav would not recognise it.  With no map, no routing.

I tried to follow the signs for route 4, which in theory should take me all the way to St Davids, but either I kept missing signs or they just were not there.  In the end I loaded up the next bit of the route, from Hampton court to Newbury, which gave me a triangle to show where I was and the start of the pink line with a lot of white space in between.  I took roads that headed in the right general direction and followed route 4 every time I found it.  Needless to say I got there.  I then had to just follow the line, literally, just a pink line on a white screen.  Weird but it worked really well. Maybe better than with the map – less distractions.

Red Deer in Richmond Park

There was a lot of non tarmac today.  Some of the paths were rough and would have been very tough in the wet.  In particular the canal paths along the Kennet and Avon were hard work on a road bike.  By the end the bikes ticks had escalated.  It now has more ticks than an A* pupils maths paper.  I think it is the back wheel hub.  There is quite  bit of play, side to side.

What the tow path is really for

One of the brackets holding the mount for the saddlebag to the seat post broke after 35 miles.  The bag started swinging around and cropping down onto the back wheel.  After 45 minutes with a stone as a hammer and a fence post as an anvil I somehow managed to fix it and it has stood up to the many miles of rattling on the canal paths.  On the positive side it went in great Windsor park, so the scenery was excellent.  Strangely the speed limit in the park is 38 mph. A bit precise.

Great Windsor Park

The day was virtually pan flat apart from two long, steep climbs.  In typical Sustrans fashion they were both dirt tracks!  I thought it would be an easy day – 97 miles of flat.  Turns out it was incredibly tough.  So much stopping and starting and rough terrain.  My average speed was right down to 9 mph, although 45 minutes fixing the saddlebag didn’t help.

Tomorrow is 115 miles, which means an hour and a half longer.  Tonight’s hosts have kindly offered to make breakfast for 7am, so that should give me one hour over today.  Hopefully there will be more tarmac to make up the rest.  I was certainly cycling 2-3 mph faster on the tarmac than the dirt track (the good dirt track).

So, early start tomorrow – better get some sleep…

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