On Thursday 5th September the third annual Sons of Bitumen UK cycle ride began. The chosen route for this year's event is Hadrian's Cycleway, part of the Sustrans Challenge series. We decided to use this opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile cause that's very close to a lot of the people on this fund raising event. Starting at the Roman Baths in Ravenglass and finishing at the Roman fort in South Shields, the route is almost 180 miles, including the odd diversion for accommodation.
In the planning stages, rider numbers peaked at around 26 at one point - but through a combination of home and work commitments, injuries, overall fitness and apathy has meant only 17 cyclists made it to the start.
On arrival in Ravenglass, the sun broke through the cloud and everyone was raring to get going.
The sunshine continued and the pace picked up until the first pub was spotted after some 12 miles in. Refreshments were taken and the peloton headed up the coastal path, passing Sellafield power station.
A number of the riders were dismounted by the sand traps along the cycle route but no injuries sustained, just dented pride.
On arrival in Whitehaven, the fist comedy moment of the ride occurred when one rider tried to bunny hop up a kerb only to remember that he was still clipped in and he ended up on his face to a chorus of laughter. The incident was enough to secure the Yellow Jersey in the end of day award ceremony.
The first day ended in the dark arriving in Cockermouth, repairing to a riverside pub for a well-earned drink before heading to the overnight accommodation.
We woke to grey skies and the promise of wind, rain and a cracking hill to climb up. After a discussion about the easiest way up we set off and the rain settled in before we reached the summit.
A good pace was set and we had soon clocked 12 miles in the rain so it was time for a brew.
Look out for the next installment of The Sons of Bitumen Cycle Team vs. Hadrian's Wall next week. In the meantime, please visit David's Just Giving page and help Dave reach his £200 target, which goes towards the Sons of Bitumen team target of £1800. They have currently raised just over £1100.
Check out part 2 of the Sons of Bitumens blog.