Thursday 1st August. Hockley Heath to Oxford. 61 Miles.

Last night’s campsite was a bit of a ripoff! A premium price, with no showers, just one toilet and a cold tap! But hey, I was just grateful to be able to pitch my tent somewhere! And it was nice and peaceful, unsurprisingly!

Tudor house
Shakespeare’s birth place apparently!

Nice early finish today, I was all set up in camp by 2.30!

I suppose it did help being on the road nice and early. Although I have been playing the tourist a bit!

Man on road
A nice 16% gradient to go up today

First of all in Stratford on Avon, then Banbury and finally Oxford.

I like Stratford, I think it’s a lovely town, with plenty of history and loads to see, and do if your stopping!

Flowers statue
Banbury cross

Banbury is also a pleasant town, although not as nice as Stratford!

And finally Oxford, once again a great place to visit!

Man buildings
Playing the tourist in Oxford

Met a fellow cyclist along the road today, although I think he was more of a hobo! He liked to camp wild, and was proud that he hadn’t washed for, it was either three weeks or three months! Either way, it’s not very good, but he was pleasant enough and nice to talk to.

Wednesday 31st July. Shawbirch to Hockley Heath. 55 Miles.

Well that was a good day, and a good evening last night!

After checking into last night’s hotel and having a shower, I went to the pub next door.

Upon arrival the staff were apologising that they’d been so busy today that they had run out of most things!

Canal and bridge
My route to the Brooks factory

Undeterred, after all there was nowhere else I could go I sat down. Anyway the long and short of it all was, that after messing up my order and having to wait, all I got charged was £7, a two course meal and all my beer! Happy days!

Today’s ride was also good, it’s been mainly spent on towpaths beside the many canals that are around Birmingham.

Canal and boats
I was on a canal going over a canal

I managed to find the Brooks factory okay, I just had a bit of a nightmare finding my way in! But once in I was soon looked after by Stefano and Kasia. Five minutes was all it took, five minutes! To repair my saddle!

After thanking them both and swapping my saddles over, I was once again on my way.

Factory sign
Sign outside the Brooks factory

I can feel my bum beginning to recover already! And unless you ride with a Brooks you won’t really know or appreciate what I’m saying, but trust me they are by far the best and most comfortable saddle going!

Bicycle saddle
Such a comfortable ride this afternoon

Coming out, or rather crossing Birmingham was relatively easy, I just followed the canals. I was going to follow the canal all the way to Stratford Upon Avon, but the nice tow path that I’d been on ran out, replaced with a track!

Tuesday 30th July. Towyn to Shawbirch. 71 Miles.

With a weather warning in place for thunder and lightning today, I was on the road nice and early in a bid to beat it! Which wasn’t hard, those blooming seagulls were squawking away from about 3am!

Path bridge trees
The cycle route into Chester

Although, as it turned out I never saw any thunder or lightning! However I did see plenty of showers however, but not until this afternoon.

The morning started off the same as yesterday had finished, cycling along the coast. Which unfortunately didn’t last too long, and I was soon back on the main roads, which I don’t mind!

Clock arch
Eastgate clock Chester

The ride into Chester was nice, once again I was back on that national cycle route 5.

At least I’ve managed to get to more or less where I wanted to be tonight, although I had intended camping!

Man's sore head
My heads a bit sore, from the other day! I suppose it would help if I had more hair!

It was raining and as I stopped under a tree to check the route to a campsite, I spotted a Travelodge across the road! Well, with the rain chucking it down it was too tempting!

Old building
Town hall Chester

Should be in Birmingham tomorrow and possibly get my Brooks saddle sorted out.

Monday 29th July. Holyhead to Towyn. 60 Miles.

Well that was a really enjoyable day! I’ve been following the national cycle route 5 for most of the day. Apart from when it went around the houses!

Most of it has been traffic free and has stuck to the coast, well since Bangor anyway.

Tent bike
Sunny start to the day

There’s been a few steep hills, but generally it’s been pretty flat.

I must admit that, towards the end today it got busy with pedestrians, but they have as much right to be there as anybody else. I just wish they were a bit more courteous!

Conwy castle

Apparently this cycle route runs from Holyhead to Reading, which is roughly the route I was thinking of taking home. Not too sure if it goes via Birmingham though, I might try and look tonight.

Path sea
The cycle route has been like this for much of the day

Hideous campsite tonight, very big and very noisy! The favourite pastime seems to be, let’s feed the seagulls! I hope they all get crapped on as a consequence!

There seems to be loads of caravan parks here, but very few campsites! At least it’s only for one night, and I always get my own back in the morning, at 5am! If people keep me awake!