Cycle in the City – from Newcastle to Tynemouth!

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The dynamic duo set off!
A twenty two mile bike ride from the Cycle Hub on Newcastle’s Quayside to Tynemouth and back was a great trip out idea for a Sunday morning in May. We set off on our lovely hire bikes from the cycle library at Newcastle’s Cycle hub in fine form. First we made after sure that our tyres were firm (an apple not a satsuma firm) and that our handle bars weren’t wobbly and that our spokes were all in place. It’s no good being several spokes short of a working wheel in any situation really.
It was a beautiful English spring day – not too hot and not too cold. Sunshine, spring flowers and new greenery line the Hadrian’s cycle way which runs parallel to the mighty river Tyne all the way from the city to the coast. It follows the route of what was Hadrian’s Wall, and we pedalled past the appropriately named residential hamlet of Wallsend. On the way we encountered the site of Segedunum which had been a Roman fort at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall. It was used as a garrison for about 300 years up unitl 400AD and is the most thoroughly excavated fort along Hadrian’s Wall. The museum showcases what life would have been like in the fort and has a reconstructed Roman bath house too. It is also on a bit of a hill, one of many along the route, which don’t look much until you have to put your thighs into gear aswell as your bike.
Wall to wall Romans!

We finally got to the Royal Quays which is quite a posh part of North Shields. There is a small shopping centre and it’s also a port where the big ferries and cruise liners park up their bowsprits (nautical term)

Sunny in Shields

There is a small marina with charming little town houses overlooking it. On a beautiful day such as this, it looked just like the South of France, only felt a good bit colder. A nice lady took our photo from her balcony overlooking the bright blue bay with yachts bobbing up and down in the sunshine.

The Tyne Team

Onward to Tynemouth itself, past the lovely old Tynemouth lifeboat station and museum, the first to be built in the whole world! We could see the pier ahead and also some more formidable steep hills along our cycling challenge. Some people had to get off and push a bit, but there’s no shame in that. I name no names.
At our destination finally – Tynemouth village – a regular haunt of mine. Heather, our group leader gave us a half hour rest and we bobbled down to a favourite cafe, Dil and the Bear for a nice cup of tea and some toasted artisan teacakes. A substantial carbohydrate intake is allowed when cycling.

Half time refreshments

Then it was back on the bikes to return along Hadrian’s way with no dawdling. I had a small argument with one of those chicane things which are tricky to negotiate on a bike, but I only sustained a few bruises and a scuffed Barbour jacket.

If it was good enough for a Roman Emperor!

I had thought that the ride had been advertised as a ‘tootle to Tynemouth’ or someone said ‘a saunter to the seaside.’ Apparently, if I had read the description on the website properly (or at all) it was actually described as ‘challenging.’ I seem to remember something like this happening as I set off on theĀ 5 ferry challenge in the Highlands of Scotland wearing a tartan mini dress and carrying a handbag..
Anyway everyone made it and we all had a lovely cycling adventure thanks to Cycling in the City, an initiative I have myself been involved in promoting. Indeed I even secured a 100,000 Euro European bid to help promote it even more! I wonder what happened to that!
Can’t wait for the next ride – will I read the description this time? I give it a fifty fifty chance…