Welcome to day 7 of Pedalling for St.Peter’s, Julia Mercer’s blog about her 292 mile pilgrimage from Huddersfield Parish Church to Canterbury Cathedral. Julia’s aim is to raise funds to help in the repair of the ceiling at the Parish Church, as well as demonstrating sustainable travel via the use of the UK’s National Cycle Network.
“An odd day today. It was sad saying goodbye to friends at The Well, made me realise how important friends are. Robin was going to come some of the way with me but had locked up his bicycle and lost the key. There was a lot of faffing around looking for it, lots of cups of coffee, and eventually I left around midday. Just as well today was a tiny mileage day.
I had a lovely ride along the Ouzel Way, out of Milton Keynes and on down the grand union canal towpath to Leighton Buzzard. This Bedfordshire town is one of three UK cycling towns, a “centre of excellence” or something. I learned this from a jolly tattooed Anglican cyclist I met in the parish church, which was very beautiful with heraldic angels flying out of the ceiling; best of all it was open!
Cheered by the knowledge I was in a cycling hotspot, I ate my sandwiches, had a look at my admittedly sketchy map, and then cast about for the route as it comes off the canal and takes to roads for a bit. But where were the reassuring blue signs with the red 6? There were cycling signs to schools, to the station, the town centre, and hundreds of signs pointing to places you could park your bike. None of this was at all helpful. I spent nearly an hour circling around Leighton Buzzard and then gave up, got the compass out, and followed a road that went in roughly the right direction. This was fine until it turned into the A5! All a bit hairy, but even the A5 has bus lanes and I carefully kept off the bit that went to the M1. And so to Dunstable and then Luton.
I’m in a comfy hotel room in the centre of Luton for tonight as for once no hosts came forward, bike safely tethered in a gazebo in the garden. On round the top of London tomorrow.”
Be sure to check back soon for Julia’s next instalment of her extraordinary journey.