‘Twas a dark and stormy night. No really, it was.
The internet discussion forum for cyclists; ‘yet another cycling forum’ (or yacf), has been holding a relay LEJOG since November 2010. A baton (known as ‘Le Baton’) has been passed between forum members with the aim of completing Lands End to John o’Groats “eventually”. No pre-planned route, no sense of urgency; what is wonderful about this event is that everyone who has touched the baton can honestly say they have taken part in a relay LEJOG. Full details of the journey can be found on this thread, and the very first post provides a summary of all the baton action so far.
On the evening of the 18th December, over two years since beginning it’s travels, Le Baton has arrived in Teesside for a little look around. A handover took place between Dean “Deano” and myself at The Cleveland Bay. ‘Twas a dark and stormy night! The wind did howl and the rain did fall. Parked up round the back of The Cleveland Bay was a safe area for bicycles:
Leaving my apocalypse bicycle locked up, I headed into the warm and dry to sample the delights of the multiple guest ales. There is an equation in circulation for the number of bicycles a person truly needs, that is “n+1” where n=’the number of bicycles you already have’. I propose this equation is extended to pints of beer, especially on a cold winter’s night.
Deano bowled in on the gales and after after ordering a pint of Landlord we made a request of the bemused Landlady to photograph us on the official handover of ‘Le Baton’.
We had a cosy evening catching up on news and discussing really long distance cycling opportunities in 2014. Reluctantly I headed back out into the wind and rain to cycle home. A tailwind shot me northbound to Preston Park and onto the dirt cycle lanes. Here I passed a fallen tree and tried to capture the scene. Wind, rain and dark don’t really do the chaos of a fallen tree justice in this photograph.
Onward to home… arriving back exhausted and bedraggled. I popped Le Baton on the mantelpiece and settled down for a few days of storm-avoidance and bicycle fettling.
Christmas Eve dawned bright and with only a ‘strong wind’ from the west, so it seemed like a good day to take Le Baton for a tour and check out the quality of my maintenance skills. A short journey to Great Ayton should do the trick. After the storms, and the heavy rain, the roads have been covered in debris and very deep puddles. I kept it gentle (and in the process discovered that I need to index the rear derailleur again) and enjoyed being out on the open roads again. In Great Ayton we stopped at Captain Cook’s statue and discovered that ‘Le Baton’ was about the same height as the great British explorer.
Next on to Suggitts for a coffee and we had a wonderful surprise; Father Christmas had arrived for a coffee too, ahead of tonight’s grueling schedule. We sat and chatted a bit, Le Baton was able to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas as I overheard Santa say that Le Baton is on his ‘nice’ list.