Redcar, Monday 6 April 2015
Mars Ultras, You’ll Never Make the Station
Waking late on the morning of Easter Sunday we wonder what we were thinking by planning a 70 mile ride after going to a nightclub with young people in it. The decision to cut short the day’s route is not a difficult one, so instead of dragging our dehydrated bodies on our bikes up the East Coast, we get the train from Cottingham to Scarborough. We feel a bit shame-faced as we stare out of the window watching Driffield, Nafferton and Seamer pass by, but assure each other that we haven’t broken any rules and can always do Filey another day.
The ride from Scarborough to Robin Hood’s Bay is challenging enough as it is. We start off on the cinder path along the old railway line , but this being Britain, the National Cycle Route isn’t fit to cycle on, so we instead take the hillier route along the A171. As we move northwards, things get tougher, largely because we have to contend with fast-moving Bank Holiday traffic as well as the climb onto the North Yorks Moors.
Eventually, we’re on the steep descent into Robin Hood’s Bay, the picturesque village that marks the end of the Coast to Coast Walk, and is home to friend of the Biscuit Tour, Eliza Carthy. We spend the evening at Ye Dolphin, where we encounter a large group of braying public school types who’ve been to a wedding. They announce in loud voices that the pub quiz taking place that evening sounds jolly fun, and come up with hilarious team names (“Quiz Quiztoffersen, Quiz on my Face, etc, etc. etc”). We’re no class warriors, but we’re also not ones to duck a challenge (cycling to Filey excepted) so stick around to take them on. Sadly, the quiz is an interminable affair, with inaudible questions and an undue emphasis on motor sports. The previous evening’s exertions starting to take their toll, we don’t stay the course through to the declaration of the results, so never find out if the quality of our comprehensive school education has triumphed over Bullingdon.
The next morning, fog lies heavy over the hills, so it’s on with the lights as we continue northwards; we pass through some beautiful scenery – moors to the west and coast to the East – but can’t see any of it. As we near journey’s end, Nick is slowed by some persistent back pain. I suggest that he try a spot of roadside yoga, and particularly recommend the ‘Cat-Cow’, pose by getting down on all fours and gently flexing his spine from a rounded position to an arched one. This gets the response it deserves “I’m not fucking doing that – we’re near Middlesbrough.”
Despite some difficult climbing we’re in Redcar, our final destination and apparently scene of many a Dawes childhood daytrip, by lunchtime. We’re just in time for the train to Darlington, where we have some time to kill before heading home, so we evaluate the weekend’s achievements over a meal at the Royal Thai and a couple of pints at the Greyhound next door. For someone who won’t do yoga near Middlesbrough, Dawes lacks any self-consciousness about his jukebox choices, opting for ‘Like a Virgin’ and ‘I Feel Love’ to entertain the Darlingtonians trying to have a quiet pint on Easter Monday.