I just wanted to reflect on my first year in retirement through the images I have taken.
Humber Bridge from North Ferriby
I left work on the 18th, never to return and started the year with a spin to North Wales. The weather was not great, but it was still a beautiful location, regardless of the weather. I then moved up to share some time with friends in the Lake District, a great way to spend my birthday, plus we got a sunny day of riding in, before the weather turned.
The next stage of my journey begins.
The cold really weather set in this month, so bike activity was confined to the turbo trainer in the kitchen, but I did a lot of walking locally, taking some photos and battling with some very fresh air.
The plan for this month was to seek out some nice weather in Ronda – Spain and stretch the legs in the mountains….wrong! It had been their wettest winter for some time, but it turned out to be great fun and set the tone for the year.
I thought that the weather would have sorted itself by April, but there were high winds and heavy rain. I had originally planned to do the Trans Pennine Trail and Way of the Roses this month, but I am glad I had postponed it.
However, I took a drive to Hull and made a visit to East Park, where they have recently errected a memorial to guitarist Mick Ronson, really cool. I also managed to get a nice ride from Hull to York while visiting family, but there were signs of severe weather, with flooding everywhere.
It also became a bit of a museum month, with a great trip to the Shuttleworth Collection, something I had been meaning to do for some time, plus a visit to the British Motor Museum.
As the weather started to pick up I had a day at Bradgate Park, as I had not been there for ages, still a stunning spot.
Most of the training I had done so far this year was geared around the trip to the French Alps this month. To that end we all jumped in Mark’s van and headed to the Peak District for a day in the hills as a warm up for France.
In June I drove up to Yorkshire in order to ride the TPT and Way of the Roses. Before I set off, we took a drive up to Bempton RSPB reseve, which was a great facility, and we saw our first Puffin, but way too distant to photograph. I then went with my son and grand daughters to Flamborough and there were Puffins everywhere, what an experence.
I was glad that I had left the TPT until June as the weather was stunning and the tracks were drier than they would have been in April. If it had been wet, some of these may have been very different.
Very much a “getting stuff done” month, prior to a busy second half of the year. Spent some time helping my daughter-in-law with the building of their new cafe, Canvas Cafe.
I did go back to visit the Shuttleworth Collection again for the evening airshow, which was stunning. A great collection of vehcles in the air and on the ground.
This month started with a few days looking after my grand daughters in Yokshire, which was great fun. This was followed by a short trip around the Yorkshire Moors and coast on the bike.
Towards the end of the month I organised a Sustrans event at the Leicester show, which coinsided with the worst weather we had had for weeks. Timing is everything!
Most of the month was spent rekindling my love for France, with a stunning drive down the backroads to the Pyrenees, followed by a drive up to the Massif Central, and onwards to Belgium.
This month was spent mainly riding locally, a bit of bike maintenance and getting to know fat tyres again, ready for the mountian bike trip to Spain in November.
We shifted the Saturday rides from Cafe Ventoux across to Canvas Cafe, as Ventoux shut on weekends for the winter. It was nice to be able to show people new roads in my “back yard”.
Had a brilliant trip to Pickering for the 1940’s Vintage weekend, a time capsule of Pickering during WW2.
A steady start, with the usual Rememberance Day ride, this year out to Medbourne then to the cafe for lunch. Then came the Spanish fat tyre weekend.
I kept up the cycling in to December, but started to kick back a little, getting ready to start all over again next year.
It was a good time to reflect on the high points of the year, hence this post, but also to plan for next year. I put in a Sustrans map order and had several afternoons putting the basic plans together for a self supported trip to Wales and another one to Scotland, I really enjoyed my solitary wanderings in the UK this year.
Depending on a few other things, I might jump on the Bike Express to France next year, as I fell in love with that country again this year. It would be a great way to see out the summer.
I rounded the year off with some signing work with Sustrans, and volunteer work with the Northants Council, clearing the overgrown edges of the local Sustrans route.
Some of the climbs that helped me reach over 132,000 metres of accents, over the 12,000+ Km ridden this year:
Puerto del Viento 1097m
Puerto de los Alamillo 832m
Alpe d’Huez 1996m
Col de Croix de Fer 2064m
Col du Glandon 1924m
Col de Lautaret 2057m
Col d’Ornon 1371m
Lac de Cap de Long 2172m
Piau Engaly 1870m
Col du Tourmalet 2115m
Hourquette d’Ancizan 1564m
Col de le Val Louron 1455m
Col d’Azet 1580m
Col de Peyresourde 1569m
Col du Sac au May 908m
Thanks to everyone who has taken time to read my blog this year and feedback the lovely comments. Come on 2019, lets hit the road.