The Way of the Roses was the first group cycle tour that I organised. I chose it because it was a Coast to Coast, which is one of those ‘must do things’ that you must do as a cyclist. The route is well signposted. Also, Jo, one of the women in the group lives in Preston and offered her place to stay the night before, so this was another good reason to do the route. There is a map produced by Sustrans and a book that you can buy that details the route. The downside of the maps is that they can be a bit redundant if you get lost and go off route, but I guess that that is all part of the adventure.
the route therefore had already been decided and so all I had to do was to find different places to stay.
The route is 170 miles in total with the first 70 miles being hilly and the last 100 fairly flat. So I split the tour into four days of riding. The first two days were each 35 miles long and the last two days were each 50 miles long.
We stayed in a variety of B&B’s. I only really camp if I have to and camping in England really doesn’t appeal to me, but I would consider it if needs be. I was grateful that we stayed in B&Bs because it actually rained for 3 1/2 days out of the four that we were touring, but although the weather was absolutely miserable and there were days when the rain was really painful because it was throwing it down so hard we had fun and learnt just how good newspaper stuffed into your wet shoes over night really does dry them out.
From Preston we caught the train to Morecombe. We dipped our rear wheels in the sea and then we were off. The day started off beautiful and dry and by midday it was absolutely pouring it down with rain; this continued for the rest of our tour.
Our first night was spent at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Airton.
Our second night was spent in two different B&B’s in Boroughbridge. They were across the road from each other. The owners were actually friends and one of the B&Bs was the overspill for the other.
Our third day of riding was an easy flat 50 miles. We were meant to be staying in a B&B in Pocklington that had newly built glamping pods in the surrounding fields. When we arrived, the owner was very apologetic and explained that her husband had not managed to finish them yet and that in the meantime they had organised a few rooms in the house to accommodate us. There was one room where they had managed to cram 6 beds into it, we felt like the ‘Six Dwarves’. As they hadn’t been able to accommodate us as promised they went to great effort to put on a big breakfast for us the next morning.
Our last day of riding was another flat but wet 50miles. Although it was wet, we had a fantastic time and laugh together and that was the main part of doing these adventures as well as cycling through some amazing countryside.
At the end of the Way of the Roses I cycled home to Leicester, I stopped off at my old university town, Hull, on the way home.