30 June 2011

Suffolk and Norfolk Coast Mini-tour: Part 2 - Day 1 Ipswich to Mundesley

Stats: total time 10h42m; moving time 8h10m; moving average 19.3 km/h; max speed 47.6 km/h; total odometer 157+8 km(from home)

We set off on very wet roads in Ipswich. Ricardo's bike was making some funny noises which we found out came from the rear tyire scratching on his brand new mudguards! These plastic devices are good for wet days, but they seem to give lots of headaches.

Ricardo, and the girls heading to Orford

Lucy & Erin pedalling through Suffolk

Leaving Ipswich via residential roads we were soon in Woodbridge where we were able to take in some nice river sights, boats, and of course, plenty of traffic. We continued on the B1084, a beautiful road through some nice woods that leads to Orford. This little cute town had a riverfront with a nice cafe and some fishermen wandering about. The country lanes around the area were beautiful, merging the English grey skies with the yellow wheat.

Fields & grey skies

We then pushed on through a few more forests, some of which were badly infested with small beetles that were particularly attracted to Erin. Shortly afterwards he headed back east and into the Dunwich area, home to the Dunwich Dynamo which we are aiming to complete in a couple of weeks from now. The place itself is amazing, it really feels remote for being in the UK and within 2h reach from London. The beach is rocky but really long, all surrounded by wetlands. It even has a cafe (not quite a chiringuito espanyol) that serves traditional fry-ups. Only downside was that, as newbies we were, all those funny beetles were waiting for us to land on our brightly colored gear. It got so bad that Erin had to get rid of her yellow jacket to only found it covered by them 2 min later! The regulars laughed at us as apparently is very common: you just have to wear dark clothes, which in hot weather can be quite painful...tough decision!

Erin's yellow jacket in Dunwich
Uninvited passengers

We rushed out of Dunwich to escape the bugs and keep heading north, more inland. As we were leaving Norwich a few km on our left, we entered into Beccles. This riverside town would not have been special if it was not because Ricardo had heard of a good pub along the river. Off we went to find that 1) no lunch was served after 2:30 (ehhhm, right, are you not meant to actually start lunch at 2:30?) and 2) wedding celebrations were in place. Our lycras did not quite match the etiquette! At this point, Erin and Ricardo decided to not overwork themselves and take a train up to Cromor, but unfortunately the connections were so bad that they would only get there by 9:30 in the dark, with no lights or maps, definitely not a smart thing to do...so they had to leave us and returned to London.

Lucy and I pedalled then non-stop for about 3 hours through truly beautiful country lanes. Well, it was meant to be non-stop until we almost literally cycled into water! We were not expecting any ferry crossings as I plotted the route avoiding all of them. But it seemed that I had forgotten the Reedham ferry, the shortest ferry crossing in the whole of the UK! A nice gentleman in a car rang the ferry, which came to the other side of the river in a few minutes. For 1 quid we got the quickest ferry ever!

About to cycle into water!
Shortest ferry crossing in the UK

The ride into Mundesley was one of the finest we've done in the UK, with nice vistas and mostly flat. Once in Mundesley, we had a quick look at the beach, which definetely lived up to our expectations! First sandy beach in the UK! And it was hot, yet not very sunny. We headed to the B&B just on the outskirts of the little town, checked in and left for some food. Fish & Chips plus celebratory local ale were in order. A quick visit to the beach to wet our feet followed, as did some laughs from stupid local kids when we walked back: it seems that whenever we get out of London the locals laughed about our not-so-cool cycling outfits.

Mundesley, our destination beach after 160 km
Water was kinda cool

Day 2 awaited for us with sunny skies and forecasted temperatures to hit more than 30 celsius!

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