Country roads to Birmingham


View a world spinning in a larger map

A rest day at my hosts and new friends Diane and Richard has topped off my fuel cells. I am ready to spin like a Rolls Royce turbine. Since Diane and Richard were going for a long ride, they escorted me to my turn off.

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“Oh, so this is the legendary English Countryside!” Richard has told me which color roads on my map to take, and which to avoid. He has advised me to cycle looking to town names for directions, not so much road numbers. I get lost once and am looking at the map when a pelaton of 40 cyclists envelop me. One asks if I need directions. I say yes, and they all stop. I am thoroughly directed.

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Small English towns with names like Ticknail, Smisby, Ashby de la Zouch, No-Mans Heath, and Atherstone roll past.

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My breath puffs like a locomotive. Lunch is a tangerine and bananna bread that Diane somehow found time to bake. The cold turns to ice mist. A pheasant bumps off a car.

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An old farm building pulls me in. The Earth is slowly singing it home.

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This human was melodized over 200 years ago.

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Long forgotten monuments to their owners memory stand like playing cards.

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I pedal into Manchester the 2nd biggest city in England, pushed and pulled in the squeeze of traffic, diesels fuming heads turning past Muslim and black homes in uniformly eroding brick row houses deep into the heart of Manchester in the downtown jewelry district where my hostel has left the light on.

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But they are full. My fault. It is Saturday in the city. The cheap rooms go fast. Hold on, a phone call comes in. There is a cancellation. A double room. It costs 65L.(About $95) Some cracking gets the price down to 49L, their booking computer won’t accept a lower price. Plan A: Plan better so I don’t end up in big cities on the weekends. Plan B. Don’t go to big cities. I don’t know how to enjoy them.

One thought on “Country roads to Birmingham

  1. Hi Eric,

    There is a website called warmshowers.org that is like a couchsurfing for touring cyclists. Only about one in 4 people respond to my queries, and every other one of those is away or busy. So I make sure there is a hostel in those towns as well. Diane and Richard are wonderful people.

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