We set off from Leaplish on a bright and chilly morning, 3 cyclists and me. A complete amateur, 20 years since last on a bike and absolutely terrified! The thought of 26 miles on a bike had kept me awake, let alone 26 miles of wild and rugged terrain around the mighty Kielder Water! In order to keep up with my group Ian from the Bike Place suggested an electric assisted cycle. He explained how to use it and offered useful tips and suggestions when he delivered it along with obligatory safety helmet.
Sam (left) all set for her ride around Kielder Water, starting at Leaplish
We started along the Lakeside way enroute to Kielder Castle and after a few wobbles managed to get the hang of it surprisingly quickly. The four different assistance settings meant I was more that able to keep up with the others, in fact with a little turbo boost I flew past them on the steeper inclines. For the first time in my life I was actually grateful for having a well padded derrière as in addition to a gel saddle and cycle shorts I was well protected from wear and tear.
We headed along the north shore just as the clouds parted and brilliant sunlight hit the reservoir, the effect was quite simply breathtaking. More excuses to stop soon appeared as we discovered each piece of art and architecture, wonderful creations that we wouldn’t have got to see by foot and all of them offering a welcome break from the saddle. Some tricky slopes and bends forced me to concentrate further along the route but all of them were achievable with my trusty turbo boost. We were all ready for a quick rest and some refreshments when we arrived at the Dam and I felt on top of the world crossing the Dam wall with the wind behind me.
Sam passes the Lewisburn Bridge (still smiling!)
A relatively easy couple of miles took us to Tower Knowe where a hot cuppa was well received. Only 7 1/2 miles left to go, but I was now feeing a bit tired and saddle sore. I was buoyed by the stunning effect of glinting water peeping through the gaps in the trees, enticing me to keep going and soon the surroundings began to become familiar as we neared Leaplish. I literally flew past Freya’s cabin and completed the last mile with renewed energy.
It took just over 4 hours to get round the whole lakeside way, this included several refuelling stops, exploring of the sculptures and of course the obligatory selfies! We concluded the trip with a celebratory drink in the Boat Inn, feeling tired but elated that we had conquered The Lakeside way.
Sam takes a well earned rest at Janus Chairs
Cycling around the reservoir gave me a completely different perspective of Kielder, I saw elements of nature I would not have seen from foot; covering a greater area and still feeling completely connected to the natural surroundings. Being a, “non-cyclist” this would not have been possible without the electric assisted cycle, it allowed me to keep up with the group and still be able to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. Being able to hire this expensive bit of kit, makes the adventure very accessible and the advice, expertise and reassurance Ian and Kevin at the bike place provide is a brilliant resource!
I don’t think I will be entering the Tour de France any time soon, but I will definitely be visiting the Bike Place again, maybe later this summer to attempt the route in reverse.
Electric assisted cycles are available to hire from £35 along with a wide range of cycles to suit all ages and abilities.
If you fancy exploring Kielder on two wheels, find out more here: http://www.visitkielder.com/play/adventure/cycling