Bikes on trains

September 8, 2007

Why do the years roll by without this problem being solved? I tried to book my ticket back home many weeks ago on the internet but couldn’t book a bike. I called by phone and couldn’t book that way either. I had to go to the station in person. In the elapsed time (3 days) the ticket price had gone up by £34. In person I could only book the Thurso-Inverness section.
Adrian couldn’t get his bike booked on the train I was booked on because ‘there was no space’. It turned out that my bike was the only one on the train all the way to Inverness.
When I got to Inverness I met up with James who had left Thurso with Adrian 2 hours before me. They wouldn’t let him on the train because he had no bike reservation. There was space but he didn’t have a reservation. He could get on but not with his bike. He could have taken the wheels off and put it in a dustbin bag as ‘luggage’ but it couldn’t go on as ‘a bike’. He asked for a reservation on the next train which went in 2 hours but was told that that was not possible because you need to make bike reservations at least 3 hours in advance.
At this point he lost his rag and asked to see the station manager. In the end he did get a reservation on the next train but could not now get through to Cheltenham today. His mum will have to come and collect him from Birmingham New Street (=3 hour round trip).
I benefitted from James’ misfortune. We went through the barrier together and James whispered ‘folder’ in my ear. ‘Cycle reservation?’ I was asked. ‘It’s a folder’ I said. I am sure the ticket inspector knew I was lying but he let me through. Ours were the only two bikes on the train for the whole journey.
Why are cyclists made to feel so uncomfortable when they try to use the train?


More on the girls at home…

September 7, 2007

Jane who drove the support car thro Staffs and Yorkshire to Penrith, and Em, whose graduation today co-incided with the JOG arrival.Jandem_2

Mission accomplished

September 7, 2007


1174 miles in 11.5 days. Not bad for an old bloke, a fat bloke and a young man who hasn’t cycled much before.
Ian left immediately by cab and the rest of us are in the pub comparing stories with other end to enders.
Thanks to everyone who helped us get here and at this point I have to highlight Jane and Trish. Without their help we would not have made it. Thanks girls!
We are now having a Guiness and Pizza and hoping for the wind to die down before going off to Duncansby Head and then along the north coast to Thurso.

The official photo with the riders in it will follow . . .

Weather turns nasty

September 7, 2007

Over the last 5 miles winter has arrived. The wind has turn to tje NW and is blowing hard. 2 miles to go! ETA 11:20.

One for the girls

September 7, 2007

10 miles to go and this is a view I will not miss – James’ butt. If the look closely you can see the sudocrem ouzing from the central seam of his rather classy Bermuda shorts.

Pit stop Wick

September 7, 2007

15 to go. Say hello!

25 miles to go

September 7, 2007

With the wind tucked in behind us – magic!
God, I really miss my top chain wheel!

On the road . . .

September 7, 2007

. . . . at 8:10 with wind behind us!

And they’re off!

September 7, 2007

It’s 6:45 and I can hear voices and smell bacon cooking. We are on target to be on the road by 9 and at JOG by noon.
This is Adrian in his ‘I’ve bought them so I’ll wear them’ cycling sleeves, just for Nicky.

Just 40 miles to go

September 6, 2007

We have had a good ride today. More than 100 miles covered and we’ll be in bed by 10:30. All this mileage was done on the A9. We have climbed and descended all day but, with two noticable exceptions, the ups and downs have been gentle.
The plan tomorrow is to have an early breakfast and get to JOG by midday. There we will say goodbye to Ian as he dashes for a train and the rest of us will meander along the coast to Thurso ready for the train back on Saturday.