The start of our cycle couldn't have been much worse. Having arrived at our start point (a bit behind schedule as well), we started loading up the bikes with the bags and camping equipment. After having loaded up the bikes with everything my dad pointed out that my back tyre looked a bit flat. So we decided to give it a little pump to get it inflated, but when we tried the whole tyre went completely flat! So we had to rush to a bike repair shop to get it re-inflated which cost us valuable time. Apparently the type of tyre I have on my bike, the valve for it is notoriously difficult to work, and the best pump to use for it was not the one we had. This was made up for really nicely though by a kind man who was wondering what we were doing and after hearing what it was all for donated £5!
|Our starting point!|
Now for those of you who don't know there are national cycle routes all over the country dedicated to bikes. Some parts of them are really good; smooth surfaces, well signposted, few cars and nice and wide, but other parts are definitely not so! In Lowestoft, and for big parts of Suffolk we found that signposting for route 1 was very confusing. It caused us to waste a lot of time and miles finding our way. This meant we had to go a much more direct route to Colchester afterwards along some main roads which are not very nice to ride on.
Eventually we did make it to Colchester. But by the time we got there it was 9pm and it was getting very dark. We had to then navigate across Colchester in the dark to my cousins house (as he and his wife were kind enough to let us stay the night). This was very slow going as we had to navigate and cycle without any lights. That was not the most comfortable ride, but we managed to get there by 10pm, where we could then have dinner and crash out asleep!
The second day started off a lot better than the first as we left a good 2 hours earlier and had no flat tyres. It was also to our advantage that we had cycled a good amount of the route before.
The ride was pretty uneventful until we got just outside Chelmsford (25 miles from where we started the day). As we were crossing a roundabout, via a cycle path with high curbs, one of Carmen's pannier bags broke off and fell into the middle of the road. Luckily Carmen was pushing the bike at the time so there was no danger, and I was able to pick up the bag before some car drove over it. We had to then reattach the pannier bag to the bike somehow. We managed to do it using a stretchy cable that we used to hold the sleeping bags on with. This being done we headed off into Chelmsford for our next bit of entertainment.
|Carmen's broken pannier bag|
|Me and Carmen outside her university saying a quick hello as we go past|
Day three started out really nicely. We headed opposite our hotel in London (no campsites in London unfortunately) to a very interesting cafe. The cafe was called 'Look mum no hands' and was a cafe with a bike theme and a bike repair shop all in one. We couldn't believe it.
|Look mum no hands! Lovely little cafe|
|Waiting for our bacon sandwiches|
|Us with Tower Bridge in the background having just gone over it|
Let's hope our next few days are just as action packed, but hopefully not so scary!