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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coast to Coast - Day Two

Grassington to Appleton le Street

Having previously studied 'The Way of the Roses' route it was clear that much of its third part covered areas that we cycled regularly. It also meant that our second night stop would have to be close to York.
Not wanting to be bored or out of pocket, we decided to deviate from the map and use other cycle routes to take us on a more northerly tract towards Malton and The Cresswell Arms Appleton le Street.
The day threatened sunshine and showers (Heavy ones) with the mix being more in favour of the wet stuff than the bright stuff.

I elected not to wear my coat under the leaden skies on account of what I knew to be 'up ahead'.
I had previously suffered the long climb from Hebden in the Wharfedale valley up onto Craven Moor, so I knew that there would soon be more fluid emerging from inside my body than what the heavens could pour upon me.
As we stood astride our bikes ready to set off, I used both of my hands to gesture two 'V' signs which I crossed over each other and presented them to my fellow mules, who in turn looked upon me scornfully

The 'V' sign is a curious signal
The sign's meaning depends in part on the way the hand is positioned. With the palm of the hand facing the signer, it can mean:

An insult – largely restricted to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and the United Kingdom,it means "fuck off".
Two – indicating quantity (but not in countries where it is an insult) although this is more common with the palm turned around;
Peace – in the United States and Canada without respect to the direction.
When used with other movement, it can mean:
Air quotes – flexing fingers, palm out, both hands.
This hand shape is also used in a number of signs, including "to see/look". When the pointer and middle fingers are pointed at the signer's eyes then turned and the pointer finger is pointed at someone it means "I am watching you."
With the back of the hand facing the signer, it can mean:
Two – a nonverbal communication of quantity;
Victory – in a setting of wartime or competition. It was first popularized by Winston Churchill. It is sometimes made using both hands with upraised arms as US President Eisenhower, and in imitation of him, Richard Nixon, used to do;
Peace or Friend – used around the world by peace and counter-culture groups; popularized in the American peace movement of the 1960s.
Rabbit ears – used behind the head of a subject of a photograph; OR...
"peace" or "everything's cool/OK" sign - by holding in front of oneself in a photo.
The letter V, in American Sign Language – used when spelling.

My fellow travellers clearly did not understand the further significance which is found on Ordnance Survey Maps to signify gradient.

Gradient steeper than 20% (1 in 5) Gradient between 14% and 20% (1 in 5 to 1 in 7) So I explained to them that the sign I was depicting was a goodwill warning of some steep climbs to come.

In return, I got similar signs directed back to me where the meaning had far greater clarity, and no requirement for explanation.If the climb to the top of Craven Moor was hard enough, the decent down Greenhow Hill into Pately Bridge would even have had Odysseus wimping out.

This particular stretch of road features high up in Britain's '100 greatest climbs' so by that alone it requires some healthy respect.

Within 200 yards I had reached 30mph, and the 70lbs in my Panniers was seemingly trying to race me to the bottom.

To ensure that they could not fulfill their ambition I applied half my brakes, but my speed continued to climb..........33...35.....

Full brakes applied......38, 41......42......44.......44.....43....

This was serious, my brakes were now full on and my hands were clamped so tightly that my wrists felt like they were about to disintegrate.

As each new bend was negotiated the hill seemed to get steeper and steeper, I felt like an old sailor worried about dropping off the surface of the earth.

Fortunately at the very bottom of the hill there was a Toilet, its funny how fear has a tendency to squeeze your bladder.

We allowed ourselves some moments of composure before setting off out of Pately Bridge and further East towards Brimham Rocks which was where our first calamity occured. Mark lost all power to his bike with the transmission stuck in freewheel mode.

Although the surrounding geological features looked like people they could not speak nor were they able to provide the required tools to rectify the make matters worse it started to rain.

We managed to persuade Karen to use some feminine charm to bewitch a local farmer.

He agreed to take Mark a few miles up the road close to Ripon where he could freewheel town into this idyllic Market Town.

We agreed to meet him, and continued through the rain.

The Route took us through the beautiful Studley Royal Park which contains Fountains Abbey

As we entered Ripon Market Place I spied Mark.

Such was my delight at the prospect of the reunion I momentarily lost concentration. The type required to negotiate wet and uneven cobblestones within the market place.

The net result was a spillage, scuffed knee and elbow along with total embarrassment as a couple of old age pensioners ran to my aid. I rose quickly to my feet as a boxer slipping in the ring and declined any assistance. Gingerly I greeted Mark trying to disguise the wincing pain from my hip.

Its amazing what healing qualities can be derived from a bakery. Just entering the local shop made me feel better and before I had finished off a selection of local wares I was ready to re enter the Fray.

The afternoon took us onto the flat lands of the Vale of York and towards the White Horse carved into the Hambleton Hills on the South West side of the North Yorkshire Moors.

During this time there was thunder and lightening and torrential downpours all around us but we managed to dodge all of the showers. Maybe we had had enough excitement for one day.

The roads glistened and as the sun shone we were often riding through a thin film of steam evaporating from the road surface.
Even the local cows were pleased to see us.
Eventually we got to the Cresswell Arms in Appleton le Street which was a pub we knew little about, but one we all agreed would be well appreciated on anybodies itinerary. Great Welcome, Beer fantastic Food and beautiful rooms..
It was everything that the Forresters Arms at Grassington was NOT.

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