Teacher’s Strike

The teachers were on strike, so someone had to look after the kids. I did my bit by taking Ami with me to Letchworth for a bit of caching on our bikes. We were heading for a series called the Greenway Gallivant.

Letchworth has a cycling route called the Letchworth Greenway running all the way around its outside. Someone had been to the trouble of setting a series of caches all the way around. There were quite a lot of them.

Anyway, Ami and I packed our bikes into the back of the cache mobile fairly early in the day and drove over for a bit of an adventure. I’d recently bought a handlebar mount for my GPS so that I could navigate and cycle at the same time.

It was a cold day, but more of that later.

Around the Houses

The first few caches seemed to be in the housing estates rather than around the outside of town. They weren’t actually on the Greenway Gallivant series, which probably explains why they weren’t on the Greenway. After the first 10 or so we got out into the countryside and started to motor a little bit.

Most of the caches were close enough to the Greenway that I didn’t need to take the GPS off the mount. It was a question of simply riding as close as I could get. Then reading the hint, and getting off the bike to pick up the cache. This was made even easier by the fact that both of us had stands on our bike. We didn’t even have to find any conveniently placed railings, trees or other props to rest the bikes against. For quite a few of the caches only one of us got off their bike at all.

We rode round the south side of town, going around the Greenway in an anticlockwise direction, and the going was remarkably good until we were pretty much halfway around. The rate of finding caches was fairly average, but we weren’t getting tired doing it.

We even had time at about one-third distance to cycle off the Greenway and up to a local shopping centre to buy some snacks and to find a toilet.

On the Edge

There’s a point at halfway where the Greenway comes back into the edge of town, squeezed in between the town and the A1. Just after this point, the Greenway branches out into the countryside again, and it was at this point that the weather turned against us. By that, I mean it started to snow big, wet, heavy snowflakes. We were getting quite cold and quite wet. By this time we’d made 59 finds though, which is not bad for the time of year. So Ami looked at me, and I looked at Ami, and we decided we’d had enough.

The unfortunate part was that we were at the exact opposite side of town from where we’d parked. So we still had quite a way to go on the bikes and had to ride all the way through the centre of town. I guess we could have just gone straight back around the Greenway again, but we decided to go through town instead.

Not long before we arrived back at the car there was an unfortunate incident involving some uneven kerbs on the path, where Ami thought she was OK, but ended up dropping off into some soft grass and suddenly finding a significant difference in speed between herself and her bike. Onto the floor it was, then. Thankfully though, she wasn’t really hurt other than her pride. She got pretty much straight back on so we could cycle back to the car and set off home.

While sitting in the car we counted up the caches we’d found and I counted 59, so we decided we couldn’t possibly finish on 59 – that’s an amateur’s number – so we stopped off in Henlow to do the church micro there.

When I got home and started typing up the logs I realised I’d miscounted. We’d already done 60 when we were sitting in the car, so we needn’t have stopped. But by then the snow had stopped and the sun had come out, so it wasn’t an unpleasant 5 minutes.

The caches we found on the Greenway Gallivant were: