On the day when the remains of Hurricane Bertha were due to reach Britain, and our two other rides were cancelled due to a forecast of wind and rain, Adrian went ahead with his car- and boat-assisted ride in Norfolk.
Adrian writes: Seven members met at Lenwade car park station on the Marriott Way north west of Norwich, four on bikes - Andy, Sarah, Eva and Jim and three by car - Lesley, Roger and me at 9.00am for our ride in north Norfolk.
We set off south east on the Marriott Way towards Norwich, turning off onto tarmac roads to Felthorpe and towards Horsford, before turning east down a muddy lane on a “no through road for cars” to the A140 main road. Turning right and left on the main road into the villages of Newton St Faith, Frettenham, past Redwings Horse Sanctuary to the B1150 at Crostwick, where Roger had his second puncture.
As Andy was going to use his boat to ferry us across the river at Horning, where it is moored and could not take all the bikes in one crossing, he Sarah, Eva and Jim went ahead while Lesley and I stayed with Roger and mended the puncture and then carried on to Horning, via minor roads to Woodbastwick and the marshes road to the old ferry point where Andy and Jim were waiting for us. Andy loaded the three bikes on to the boat, two tied on the back and one the front with Jim holding it down, and off we went across the busy river.
On reaching the other side the wind and boats were causing Andy some problems getting to the jetty, but on the second attempt we made it, off loaded the bikes, us and returned the boat to its moorings in the marina, then Andy & Jim met us in the local café. By now it was raining outside and we were deciding what we would do next as the weather forecast was for heavy rain all day. Sarah, Andy, Eva and Jim decided they would make there way back to Sarah and Andy's cottage while Roger, Lesley and I decided to carry on the route I had planned although it was still raining.
It was past 12pm and still raining as we all left the café together to ride through the village of Horning. When we reach the A1062 at the other end of Horning the rain stopped and the sun made an appearance, we went straight over then left down narrow lanes with big puddles down each side passing St Peter's Church Hoveton (which is some way from the village of Hoveton) with its thatched roof and flowered porch gate, crossing the B1151 to the next junction where those going back to the cottage left us. We carried on west to Belaugh Green and on the way en counted a dip in the road (which was deep with water) as it went under a bridge on the Cromer railway line. We rode through it although it was above our bottom brackets without any mishaps apart from wet feet and continued to Belaugh Green wher we picked up the Bure Valley Railway line.
This is a narrow gauge line that goes from Hoveton near Wroxham to Aylsham and was running today being pulled by a steam engine. Beside the line all the way is a path which you can cycle along, which we did and on the way the steam train passed us with its ten coaches in tow but not to many people on board. We carried on the path going over the top of the one tunnel on the line to Aylsham station where we stopped for a snack in the station café, while in the café it rained very heavy but stopped by the time we left, this and the one in the morning was all the rain we had all day. We left Aylsham station and just across the road was the start of the north east end of the Marriott Way which would take us to Reepham and then by a short section of road to the old Whitwell station on the southerly direction of the Marriott Way and the few miles down the track to the cars. Although it was quite windy along these sections, the track was well sheltered and easy to ride, the only stop was to repair another puncture which did not take long before we were on our way back to the cars.
We arrived at the car park about 6pm having cycled 41 miles. Thank to all those who came especially Andy and Sarah for the use of their boat and Andy's skill in manoeuvring it. Adrian Lee