2009-04-23 52 1
Today's geohash is in a field near Crowfield, a little east of Stowmarket, and a few metres off a public bridleway that runs along the edge of the field.
Benjw is intending to cycle from Cambridge to this hashpoint, arriving some time in the early evening, depending on what time he gets home from work. If all goes to plan, this will be the final stop on an all-bicycle triple hash, probably the first time this has been done. He will have cycled 130-140km by the time this hashpoint is reached, but happily, Stowmarket is a short distance away and has a direct train service back to Cambridge.
This will be quite a long trip, and I am not at peak fitness. I am a little teensy bit anxious. Total distance if I cycle all the way will be somewhere around 220km, and I should get home sometime after midnight. However, as I might well actually die if I do that, it's as well to keep in mind that there are many points at which I can call it a day and go home by train. I will try to at least reach the hashpoint, though, if I can.
Leave previous hashpoint by 4:30pm -- I'll already have cycled about 50km by this point. Take main roads and cycle through Cherry Hinton, Teversham, Quy and Bottisham to Newmarket. That's the familiar bit. Turn right in Newmarket and take minor roads through Ashley, Dalham, Barrow and Saxham to Bury St Edmunds. Find my way through Bury somehow and continue through Thurston, Tostock, Elmswell, Haughley, Old Newton, the Stonhams, and into Crowfield. Short cycle up bridleway and find hashpoint. Distance about 83km -- should take about 4 hours so I'll probably arrive as it's getting dark.
Then home (Cambridge) by the same route in reverse.
I basically follow the Cambridge-Ipswich railway line, so there are stations in Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Thurston, Elmswell, Stowmarket and Needham Market, all with a direct service back to Cambridge. As I'm not really used to cycling such long distances at the moment, I might well just return by train after reaching the hashpoint, which will cut the distance by about 70km.
Trains are hourly until 21:xx, calling at Needham Market (xx:25), Stowmarket (xx:30), Elmswell (xx:39), Thurston (xx:44), Bury (xx:50/xx:55). The 20:xx changes at Ely. Also, trains from Newmarket go hourly until 20:15, plus one at 22:15. In addition, there's one from Stowmarket via Norwich at 21:54 if I'm really late and desperate, although I may well have called it a day by that point anyway.
The previous hashpoint was reached at 4:10pm after cycling 53.8 km at an average cycling speed of 21.2 km/h -- but an average speed overall of just 17.0 km/h. The next hashpoint was a further 83 km, and if I wanted to get a train back home afterwards (the alternative was cycling 4-5h instead, and I didn't think I was up to that), then this left only just enough time to get to the hashpoint if I didn't stop for breaks along the route. For four hours. And Suffolk is more hilly than Cambridgeshire.
Reluctantly then (but at the same time with some relief), I decided to call it a day after a double hash. I'd like to try a similar expedition at some future point, but may have to wait until I have a day off work, instead of starting after I finish at lunchtime. At the moment my cycling speed is just not high enough to commit to that sort of distance.
A note on categories
I certainly attempted (and achieved) the previous two parts of the expedition, but this part was never even started -- I simply turned round and went home after reaching the second hashpoint -- so this part of the expedition is classed as "expedition planning" rather than "attempted". Had I started out and then turned back, "attempted" would have been appropriate.
Further to the above, in 2015 the expedition result categories were updated. Most of what used to go in "expedition planning" now goes into "did not attempt", so I have re-categorised to reflect this!