Travellers' Tales: Biking St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay

Darren Lumbroso & eight CTC Reading club-mates rode from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay

We began our six-day, off-road traverse of England at St Bees in weather more reminiscent of St Tropez than Cumbria.

Our party of nine comprised a couple of walking wounded, one of whom had recently had a tooth removed and another who’d broken his collar bone just four weeks previously.

Thanks to laser treatment, he was back on his bike and zooming past me just as quickly as ever.

For the first three days of the journey, we followed Wainwrights’ footsteps and then joined up with the Pedal North route. Our navigation relied heavily on three GPSes, which worked most of the time.

It was frustrating on the occasions when the GPS instructions seemed to override the brains of the operators.

At one point, we spent an hour stumbling around a hillside, miles from any tracks, with our destination in sight and the use of a traditional paper map being studiously avoided.

This inspired me to compose a song, in the style of The Fall, entitled ‘GPS Man’, which went as follows: ‘G-G-GPS man, G-G-GPS man, He’s a poor route selector, He’s got the wrong vector, His device is in decline, He won’t take heed of the signs, He can’t read a map, His sense of direction is… etc’. I am considering sending these lyrics to their lead singer, Mark E Smith, because he has an antipathy to electronic gadgets, which might help them appear on his next album.

After 250 miles and 9,000m of ascent we all arrived intact at Robin Hood’s Bay, with the sun still shining and just enough time to dip our wheels in the sea before cycling up the 1-in-3 slope in time to get our lift home.  

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