Bob Goes to Stratford

I suppose before we go any further we should introduce you to Bob otherwise this will all be pretty meaningless. Bob is our enabler. Our thoughts at the moment are that this little project of ours will not work without him. He is our new bicycle trailer, bought through the EU but imported fro002m America – how easy will that be in the future? Arriving in a box he is surprisingly easy to put together and to fix to the bike. His single wheel and low design is supposed to make him more stable to pull – his big bag will be enough to carry all our camping gear (including a few luxuries) keeping it all safe and dry. Kath says she will load it up to slow me down!

Now we have Bob it is time for us to try and see how we find him out there on the road – so he came along on our first training trip last weekend (4th/5th Feb) to Uncle Peter’s flat in Stratford. Peter has very generously given us his two person tent as he has upgraded to something lighter for his European cycle rides. So you see we are slowly getting kitted out.

Stratford: 31 miles from Cheltenham along the B4632 under the Cotswold escarpment. Easy peasy. Saturday was lovely and sunny and the wind was behind us. However we made two errors, seduced by the sunshine we set off on the scenic route up Ham Hill and knackered ourselves. Coming off the Cotswolds again at Winchcome it meant we took an hour and a half to do the first 12 miles – and the detour meant we had about another 20 to go. A little dispiriting. I then led us up the wrong Sustrans route and we missed the fabulous Greenway cycle path into Stratford – adding about five miles and two big hills to our journey.

We did better on the way back and got home by 2pm, in four hours. Making good use of the Greenway this time and sticking to the route. The biggest challenge being a relentless and bitterly cold headwind. Still we did it and Bob performed brilliantly and spirits were restored. A bit more practice needed to get up to speed. Highlights were the snowbells and katkins in full bloom along the roadside. The biggest surprise was being squirted in the eye by a sticky, gloopy energy gel as I struggled to use this new product. I won’t tell you what it made me think of but it gave us a good laugh.

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