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Friday, 29 June 2012

Cardiff to Bristol

This was an exciting day, the team were going to have company for the whole day (poor soul joining this mad bunch).  Mark Hardie, CEO of the charity Access Sport had put aside a day to accompany bikewithJake to Bristol.

Straight in at the deep end!  How the ... do we get out of Cardiff, without going down that dual-carriageway so beloved of Philip's.  The answer - not easily.  The group pedalled down about 3 streets before asking directions - Mark, poor chap, appeared surprised to find us equipped with a few pages cut out of a road atlas and some scribbled written directions.  He had not been well briefed!

A journey of 50+ miles had Mark calling out for caffeine and something to eat within 16 miles.  This is what happens if you hook up with a bunch of lunatics on bikes who insist on making a free crossing on Newport's fabulous Transporter bridge, only to then come back again - just because it's there!
Mark looking somewhat bemused at the proposal
being put to him by Philip.  Jake knows it's best
just to go along with it. 

Yes, honestly we're going back over now.
Newport provided coffee and Mark's healthy salad brunch whilst the team stocked up on banana cake.

Suddenly, it all got a bit frantic.  With mobile phones clamped to ears, messages came through about a date with BBC Points West on Clifton Suspension Bridge at 5:00pm.  

A leisurely jaunt trying to follow signs for National Cycle Route 4 became a bit more urgent and Mark resorted to Google Maps.

Let's just say that the verbal attack that went Philip's way during the Cardiff dual carriageway 'incident' was almost repeated when Mark led the troupe along the busy, main road into Chepstow in search of the Severn Bridge.  Luckily for Mark, Nic was two bikes behind, not just one and luckily for Mark we met a couple of fellow cyclists (Hi Julian and friend) who got us back onto NR4 and the bridge just in time.
Belting along an off-road bit of NCR4 after a
close encounter with a tractor and trailer.
Please note:  Mark is riding carbon, super-light bike, no panniers

Another, scheduled bridge encounter
crossing the River Severn.
We get into Bristol, we are outside Clifton Rugby Club, we have only to make it to the Suspension Bridge and Points West - things are looking good even if the team look a little weary.  Jake had earlier pointed out that his pedals were broken (the running repairs undertaken in Pateley Bridge had finally given in).  Jake went to clip into his pedal for the last 5 miles when ... he didn't cry!  Nic knew straight away that it was a steri-strip at least, but more likely stitches, accident.  

Jake had sliced his ankle on the cogs and it was a 2cm greasy hole.  Patched up we pedalled on and made it to the Bridge in time for the interview.  The injury was newsworthy.
Jake in relaxed mood with the Points West team behind.
From the bridge, to the hotel, to the safety of a car.  Becca Owen, Access Sport's Bristol Active Women Development Manager was the hero of the hour.  To begin with she took the team to meet inspirational leader of Hype Street Dance project, Tasha Benjamin.
Tasha Benjamin and the team with Jake holding the
Olympic Torch carried by Tasha on a relay leg in Bristol
From the project, Becca then, very kindly, committed herself to a long wait in A & E at South Meads Hospital (once we found it!)

Jake was very nervous about having stitches, Nic was more nervous about Jake having the wound scrubbed with iodine.  Both fears were allayed as copious numbing gel and local anaesthetic did the job and out came the scrubbing brush followed by the little 'fish-hook' needle and there he was patched up.

Bomb-shell - NO CYCLING for 2 days.

This was not in the script - big decisions loomed.

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