5th June 2021 – Waking Too Early.

Wide Awake at 5 am.

Osteoarthritis is creeping up on me, I was diagnosed with it just over 3 years ago and had to take the option to manage the pain rather than aim for a hip replacement. This was due to caring for a relative with pancreatic cancer. I had to be available at all times so my own health had to take second place. I am also not convinced that last night wasn’t disturbed by Astra Zeneca, I had my 2nd vaccine three days prior and I have leg pain and an awful headache. 

Last night I spent a few hours route planning, I am using OSMaps for the first time and it is not intuitive, it has taken me almost a week to figure out how to create a route based on the Sustrans Cycle Routes. OSMaps really need to up their game, the physical maps are excellent, I sell thousands of them at work. However, their digital offering is awful at best. I selected a start and endpoint across the country only to be presented with a straight line, not at all helpful, I have since discovered that you have to set thousands of waypoints to build a decent route. I know I can import a .gpx from elsewhere but the idea of using OSMaps was to only use OSMaps.

This leads me to how Garmin is worse than OSMaps, their Basecamp app needs a complete redesign as it is stuck in the ’90s. The online Garmin Connect system doesn’t include Sustrans Cycle Routes which means I can’t plan a “Course” in their app to upload to my Garmin eTrex. It has ended up that I create the route in OSMaps export the .gpx and then import that into Garmin Connect to be able to send it to my device. 

This morning I decided to sort all my gear out for my upcoming cycle tour, I intend to complete the three short test routes to get the bike and gear tuned in. The first route will be the NCN90 Lancashire Cycleway Northern Loop, I have attempted this before and thoroughly enjoyed it, the plan is to go minimal and see if I miss using certain pieces of equipment. I have split the route into three days, hopefully, each day ending somewhere I can stealth camp. Day one takes me from Blackpool to Lancaster approximately 58.64 KM and a lot of climbing, although I have managed 100KM in a day I want to take the first day at a leisurely pace.

Day 01 NCN90 Lancashire Cycleway

Day two is even shorter, although I may increase the distance to get to a suitable sleeping spot, I will be heading around Silverdale and then head southeast to Hornby. 

Day 02 NCN90 Lancashire Cycleway

Day three will be the longest day heading across the Pennines and back to Blackpool, as this is more than double the previous two days I might complete the route over four days.

Day 03 NCN90 Lancashire Cycleway

It will be a self-supported cycle tour with COVID in mind, which means I will be taking all my food, I will carry water but plan to top up along the way. Here is the gear list:-

Ortlieb City Panniers, Generic Rack Pack, RockBros Frame Bag, Top Bar Bag, Handlebar Bag, 2 x Stem Pouches, which sounds a lot but I want to check these out for the big adventure (to be disclosed soon).

Sleep System

Kitchen

Fire & Water

  • Magnesium Fire Starter
  • Utility Tool
  • Doohickey Tool
  • Sawyer Mini Water Filter
  • Water Filter Cloth
  • First Aid Kit

Hygiene

  • Toilet Kit
  • Toothpaste/Brush
  • Sea to Summit Shower
  • Camping Towel

I want to refine the gear to have the minimum possible whilst still giving me a level of comfort, hence no tent or hammock in this setup. I also want to set off as soon as possible on the Lancashire Cycleway and then I will be able to tweak the gear for the next tour which is to travel from the west coast of England. That route is still being planned but I will be following the Sustrans “Way of the Roses” East and “Hadrian Wall” West. 

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