Travellers' Tales: Biking the Suffolk Trudge

Travellers' Tales: Biking the Suffolk Trudge

David Ramsden built a Victorian replica bicycle and rode it 500 miles for a veteran-cycle event

My bike is a replica 1879 Lawson Bicyclette. I built it three years ago after seeing another replica owned by Cally Callomon in a coffee-table book. It so happens that Cally also organises the Suffolk Trudge, a ride for old machines. A trip to the event promised to make a good late summer holiday. We took the best part of a week to get to Suffolk, camping out where we could along the way. My partner Yvonne carried the camping gear on her sensible bike.

We rode home by a slightly different route, taking in Castle Acre and camping with permission on the bank of the River Welland at Fosdyke."

David Ramsden

We stayed in Goole, then followed the quiet road beside the Trent to Gainsborough. Back roads took us to Lincoln and we reached Boston via a beautiful ex-railway cycle track. More navigating of back roads by pages torn from a cheap road atlas took us east, avoiding King’s Lynn and Swaffham, to Watton.

We arrived a day early for the ride, took a rest from cycling, and enjoyed a day out in Lowestoft by train.

The Suffolk Trudge was full day’s ride with 29 cyclists on machines built as early as 1896. At the lunch stop, I had a go on Cally’s Lawson and he on mine; they were very different. Both are heavy and take a bit of effort. At one point in the trip, I questioned my sanity. But I soon recovered. Had the weather not stayed fine for the entire 500 miles, it may have been a different matter.

We rode home by a slightly different route, taking in Castle Acre and camping with permission on the bank of the River Welland at Fosdyke.

Having been warned of a high tide, we stayed up late under a beautiful red moon to make sure we were safe. North of Gainsborough, we again camped by the riverside. The Aegir, the Trent’s tidal bore, woke us in the night with its roaring and sloshing. We were 12 inches from a soaking!

Do you have a travelling adventure you would like to share? Email cyclinguk@jppublishing.co.uk for advice on what's required.

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