This blog post is being written from a small gravel layby off the A4074 from which I’ve just turn off in a mild hypoglycaemic funk.
Yesterday was my biggest yet – 74 miles – but I’ve decided to crack on today with another 40-odd to a friend’s house to keep momentum up, push the body a little bit and in lieu of future rest days.
My original plan, and a fairly standard one I am sure, was to cycle for a few days, take a period of rest and repeat. But, in practice, what’s happened has just been a continual slew of pedalling every day just with some days longer than others. I’ve not technically had a “day off” since Edinburgh but I’ve had plenty of very short ones. Here’s an overview of the last week or so…
In the Peak I spent a day cycling without luggage which seemed to have a disappointingly low impact on the effort of heaving the ‘shaw up steep hills. I pressed on from there to Crewe where I was met with heart-warming applause from students at the Cheshire Academy and got the opportunity to meet some Special Olympics athletes (and was looked after with incredible generosity).
Next stop was Shrewsbury and a tough loop into Wales with a sickeningly long and steep hill made no easier by a downpour but sweetened by the kind farmer’s family at Marton who gave me pitching space, oiled my chain and made me breakfast. Then, after one of those easy days I was talking about, I was joined by my friend Laura (who I’m running the Tube with) who ran while I cycled ala Eddie Izzard. Perched on the front for the downhills and leaving me for dust on the ups, we covered two marathons over the weekend.
And then I got the taste for progress as I slogged over the Cotswolds and threw my hat in the ring for a big day. Unrelenting sun and air thick with flies, I cranked out the miles to be greeted by friendly faces in Oxford and the generosity of the Earthwatch Institute.
Which more or less brings me to here, the A4074 to Reading, where I’ll be leaving you.
Day 23 (18th May)
- Distance so far: 788 miles
- Quote of the day: “Do you reckon that’s a battering ram?”, guy to his friend upon seeing my bike parked outside Ludlow castle.