I leave the hostel early in the morning after a nice chat with a few young people who admired what I was doing.
It takes half an hour to find my way out of Manchester. The road I chose is direct, an alternate to the freeway, and leads through the business areas of many towns. Fumes, rain, wind, and the ups and downs of the hills of the Peaks area wear me out. I have to dig deep. I call Diane and let her know I am struggling a bit and might be late, and she gives me good advice. “Just keep going”. So I do, counting off the kilometers, and congratulating myself on each one. A lot of self talk. Even though it is only 1:00 my headlight is on, as it is quite dark.
English commercial zones.
Diane meets me at the Quad where I am having a hot tea, and we ride up the bicycle path to her’s and Richard’s home. I am so relieved to be have good company, and a place to settle. Diane has prepared a 15lb lasagna and we eat half of it. Then she makes an apple crumble with pudding and I eat a large bowl. We talk about the places she and Richard have cycled, and I get to look at pics of their adventures.
We talk about different cycling routines for different conditions. Like getting up very early when cycling in hot climates and only riding till noon. Like riding through a city in the middle of the day when camping, and ending at a city when hosteling or hoteling. We talk about the need to be flexible and to adapt to changing surroundings. Good stuff, I soak it up. I enjoy the camaraderie after a couple of rough days.
In the morning as I am getting packed to go, Richard tells me it is predicted to rain and hail. He asks if I want to rest there a day. Relief floods me. I spend the day doing bike maintenance and relaxing in their comfortable home.