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The following day started with another wonderful meal. My granddad makes some very tasty food. After concerns that I was going to eat all the food in his house I was offered a lift to Broadbents the family electrical shop that my uncle is in charge of nowadays. We strapped my bike to the back of the car and off we went. They had recently changed premises so I was given a guided tour of the premises and got to see my uncle. After that I was told that my grandparents used to live just up the road and that they’d show me their old house. Upon arriving there I started to sense that Granny might have had an ulterior motive as she then mentioned that the ring road around Bradford was really not nice for cycling and that it wasn’t too far away so they might as well drop me there. Granddad asked Granny if the bit of road looked nice but then she mentioned that there was a big hill just in front and that I’d better get taken up it. I mentioned that I was planning on going over the Rockies in a few months but understood that resistance was futile and enjoyed the chance to spend time with them. At the top of the hill I finally got let lose. I jumped out and got my bike off the back of the car, put my panniers on my bike, thanked my grandparents and wished them a safe trip and was finally back on the saddle.

While my initial plan had been to ride I couldn’t complain about the lift. It meant that I could take the rest of the ride at a very gentle pace, stop for breaks and with all the supplies that my granny had loaded me up with there was no chance of running out as I had done the day before. The road headed down and I decided that instead of the A road that would lead me straight to my aunt + uncle’s house I would take the smaller windier roads.

I made good progress, the wind was still at my back most of the way and while I didn’t have a set goal I was definitely going to arrive in plenty of time. That’s when I saw a sign that lead to an hour long break.

World famous? Well.. ok, I’d never heard of it but I’d been out of the country for most of the last 6 years. That and a castle, how could this not be the perfect place to stop and eat a sandwich. Yes, I had stopped 20 minutes earlier at the entrance of a farm for a sandwich, but I still had another sandwich and a couple of muesli bars left and they needed eating. I turned off the roundabout and arrived in Ripley.

I found a bench, sat down and enjoyed the view of the cobbled car park in front of the pub and more importantly world famous ice cream shop! I ate my sandwich, took a quick detour to see how much the castle cost (£8.50) and then off for ice cream!

The ice cream was pretty delicious, but after paying 350 Korean won for most of ice creams for the last 3 years it was a little expensive. Also, the cone and wafer were pretty blah. If I were to come again I’d just buy it in tub form and eat straight from that! 40 minutes later and the day was over. A much shorter ride than had been planned but very nice. I seem to have lost the GPS file so can’t provide a route map.

That evening was my cousin Natasha’s 18th birthday so we went out for a great steak dinner, some drinks and clubbing. I left my camera at their home as I have an impressive habit of losing things otherwise. We got back at about 3:30am and I was quickly to bed as I knew I had another ride the next day.

That takes us to the Saturday. My alarm went off at 8:30 and I felt surprisingly good and any hangover I had was gone when I headed downstairs where my aunt cooked me the ultimate breakfast of bacon and eggs. That combined with sitting round for an hour or two talking meant that I was feeling perfect. I was slightly concerned that the wind that had been blowing me north and east for the last 2 days would now be a headwind and slow down my ride down to catch the train in Leeds. With that in mind I set off quite early giving myself a very generous amount of time.

I headed off down the A61 which would take me most of the way. There was a headwind and light rain but I knew what had to be done and getting frustrated wouldn’t do much good so I pedalled. The wind slowed me down but I made good progress. A guy on a road bike went past me on the flat but then seemed to lose his energy. We came to a climb and even though I had more weight I started closing in on him, I caught back up with him on the downhill and we rode together for a bit. He was out on a training ride and was nearly done. I asked him about the road and he mentioned it was fairly nice other than a bit that was about a mile long and 30%. For those who don’t know, 30% is pretty steep. I have memories trying to go up a hill that was about 35% in my parent’s old car and it not being able to go up. I was slightly concerned but thought it’d be a good test for my granny gear.

About 90 minutes later I got to the climb and.. it was not 30%. It felt much more like 10-12%. I was kinda disappointed but a mile at 30% would have slowed me down and while I was making good time I had already paid for my train and the ticket was not valid on the later train so I had to make it. Another hour of constant pedalling and I was in Leeds city centre. In my 3 hours I’d stopped for a total of 1:29 and that included the red light where a car tried to reverse in to me. I headed in to the train station, picked up my ticket and sat on the platform reading my Kindle waiting for my train to Manchester.

Overall the trip was a success. The weather was generally favourable for the first 2 days with a nice tail wind pushing me along which made it nice and easy. I need to be more aware of the amount of water I have and that’ll be helped as I’ll be carrying at least 3 litres on my bike at all times. I’ll also have a water bag for when I hit areas where it’ll be more difficult to get water. That combined with my water filter should sort that out. I also need to be more aware when using websites to plan bicycle routes as they seem to think that footpaths are acceptable and they’re really not. The GPS and a bit of adjustment meant that there wasn’t much of an issue finding an alternative. I also need to work on my photos. The 3rd day I didn’t take any pics as I had a train to catch and the overcast and wet day didn’t really make me want to get my camera out. Going down an A road also meant that while there were definitely pretty views it wasn’t anything that made me say wow. In the US I’ve got the Adventure Cycling Assocation’s maps to help me along which are plotted along scenic smaller roads.