Friday 7th April 2007
(yes, we're a couple of days behind on posting - we've been tired, and haven't had much internet access!)
Last night we finally found and gathered everything that we wanted to take. I normally leave packing to the last minute, but this time there was a slight problem of having to sort out the flat afterwards - something we didn't finish until this afternoon. When trying to do 115 miles in a day its probably best to get an early start, so instead we decided to break the journey into two days.
We have managed to pack quite reasonably, and with a little experience we should learn what else we can do without, but for now our bikes are something heavy. It's definitely not a moderate something, nor even a polite something, so just think of a very naughty verb and they are that something heavy. It is hard to compare the bike and trike, but it may just be that hel's bike is now the heavier one, which is very good for me, as for the first time ever I can keep up with her. Infact I might be just a little faster, which is a very nice change.
Today has been great. The trike has been fantastic - my leg muscles are sore but that is all - we have kept well fed and well watered, and have had a lovely ride despite the weather. We have also found a nice (if pricey) B&B for the night, and there is a good looking restaurant over the road. The slight downside is that we are only 30 miles away from where we started. And it took 6 hours. We only spent 3 hours actually cycling and I am very pleased with that - 10mph average on the first day with laden bikes is quite respectable. The other 3 hours were spent having lunch, snacks, locking and unlocking the bikes at a pub that wasn't serving food, rummaging through panniers finding waterproofs.... As we get more organised hopefully we will spend more time actually pedaling and actually get somewhere. We will see about that tommorow.
Well, we didn't set off early and we didn't quite make it the 100-and-something miles. In fact, we were still packing up and tidying the flat until late morning, and didn't get away until noon. What with that, and having to stop for lunch, and to pick up a box spanner for dgym's wheels, and various navigational stops to get us through the tiny lanes south of Farnham, we managed a puny total of 30 miles today before the rain and impending sunset/rush hour got the better of us, a B&B showed up and we stopped just south of Alton.
My bike weighs a ton. It's extremely difficult to handle while stopped, and I have to make sure I fully unclip my feet when I stop, otherwise the bike's in danger of keeling over and taking me with it! Of course dgym doesn't have that problem. It was a little weird riding it at first as I'm not used to front panniers, which affect the handling. But the bike's taken it really well, and it's always surprising how easy it is to ride with all that weight. My legs are taking to it pretty well, I just end up going a bit slower than usual. I do still have to somehow add a tent to my load - if you could see my panniers now, you'd be wondering "How on earth will she do that?" The answer lies in the First Law of Panniers, which is that they'll always take exactly as much as you try to put in them. Really.
It seems like we're still awfully close to where we started, and I was hoping we'd get a bit further, but never mind! The most important thing is that we've had a really fun ride today - we've had rainy spells and sunny spells, hills and flats and it's all been great. We could have ridden down the A31 in half the time it took us on the quiet route, but it wouldn't be the same. We've seen daffodils, bunnies, sheep, lambs, horses and llamas. It's lovely to finally be on our way, even if we haven't left the country yet.
Tomorrow morning we'll set off bright and early (and this time we really will, we've ordered 7:30 breakfast) - there's no flat to tidy or route to finish planning, just a nice (hopefully empty) road ahead, still plenty of munchy stuff to eat, dry socks and hopefully slightly better weather.