#GoingPlaces – XPDTN3 battling the elements in Northumberland, UK
Sometimes plans are put in place that just can’t be followed … XPDTN3’s recent trip to Northumberland in the north of the UK was one of those occasions. The experienced team of two-wheeled explorers are more than used to riding in testing climatic conditions, but when the gale force winds start to blow, decisions have to be made.
Having arrived in Northumberland and unpacked their 3T Exploro bikes from their custom Scicon AeroComfort ROAD 3.0 TSA bike travel bags, the team assessed their options for the first of three days of riding. Having planned a coastal ride following off-road tracks over the valleys, the plan switched to a loop of coastal trails to avoid the worst of it. However even this was scuppered after a branch-meets-wheel incident left one bike un-rideable, leaving the guys to head back to the accommodation and to refocus on the coming day.
Linking off-road trails and minor roads set the tone for day 2 as the sun made a welcome reappearance to warm spirits and wash away the previous day’s tribulations. And following an overnight stop-off in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, riding resumed along the same tone for the third and final day of riding as the three set about returning to take on the first day’s original route down to the coast.
The sun was shining, wheels were turning and gears were shifting … we all moved along harmoniously, humour intact, the ex pro contingent taking any opportunity to mess with the bike handling skills of us lesser mortals.
Naturally, a stop off for some quintessentially English tea and scones was to be had, and with a pass of the iconic Hadrian’s Wall too, day three proved to be a day of ticking boxes for the team. Rolling roads punctuated by short, sharp ascents filled the route until a final gravel leg to end the day from Kielder reservoir along the Lakeside Way trail. Even a late downpour couldn’t dampen spirits after an eventful and action-packed weekend.
Though the distance covered was ultimately far lower than planned I feel the experience was far richer for the tribulations we endured.
Ride stats – 297km total distance, 3222m ascent, three stages.
The XPDTN3 team travel with custom Scicon AeroComfort ROAD 3.0 TSA bike travel bags to keep their 3T Exploro gravel bikes safe in transport around their many global travels.
Words by Paul Errington, photography by Marc Gasch.SHOP NOW