Keeping those wheels turning

Feature writer Helen Johnston continues her training for the 48-mile Great Notts Bike Ride on a Land Rover bike loaned by Church Street Cycles, Gainsborough.

It was raining and windy as I arrived in Gainsborough for a club run following a designated cycle route.

It was a 30-mile ride but I asked leader Trevor Halstead, of Aegir Cycling Club, if he would do an extra ten with me because I wanted to build up to 40 miles.

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He agreed, despite the fact that he’d already done a 50-mile race that morning.

The rain stopped as we set off but the wind persisted the whole way round.

It seemed that no matter which direction we turned, we were still heading into it.

Halfway round I shed my waterproof jacket and zip-up top because I was so warm from the effort of pedalling.

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The route took us out of Gainsborough along Lea Road with its designated cycle path and out into the countryside.

We passed through various villages, none of which were particularly hilly, but with the wind making even the smallest incline a challenge.

We chatted as we rode along and at times I found myself short of breath, it definitely felt like my hardest ride yet.

The gears were in constant use as I tried to find the optimum pedalling power.

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We passed by Sturgate Airfield - the wind whistling across the runway straight at us - and on through Scotton and Scotter.

Later we turned down through Laughton Woods, which is where Trevor took the above photo, and saw rabbits crossing our path.

As we headed back into Gainsborough town centre and everybody else started saying their goodbyes I was regretting asking Trevor to do that extra mileage.

My knees were hurting and I was saddle sore and I wanted nothing more than to get off and go home for a cup of tea.

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But Trevor’s enthusiasm buoyed me up and when he suggested popping to Misterton and back I gritted my teeth and agreed.

It was only later as we turned back towards Gainsborough, and I asked feebly how much further it was, that he grinned and said: “I wasn’t going to tell you but you’ve just done your 40!”

By the time we got back to my car my legs were ready to buckle and I could barely stand straight.

“You’ve done 46 miles!” announced Trevor triumphantly.

I was overwhelmed with tiredness, but also a great sense of achievement.

If you would like to sponsor me for the Great Notts Bike Ride go to