Wow it feels strange being back on a fully laden bike. Almost as if no time has passed since I did John ‘o Groats to Landsend last August. Bristol has come to feel like home over the last few years so it was strange saying goodbye to my place in Easton, taking one last look at the cycle path which is now in full bloom, and pedalling off ‘to India’. Thank you to Carly for her lovely banner which she made! I took my first tumble on the cycle path because I couldn’t kick my feet out of the bindings in time, but this was bound to happen sooner or later . Better that it happened on the grass when I stopped for my first banana as opposed to some busy junction. Cheers to Matt who acted as my windbreak for the Bristol to Bath leg of the journey…
A lot of people get the train to one of the ports before starting their Eastward bound cycle touring trips from France. It has been really useful getting used to kit, and to be able to ditch some unnecessary items, as well as pick up a few others e.g. more padded cycling shorts. Either the scales were broken or the total weight of all four panniers was 36kilos which seems ridiculous. Thats like cycling another half of me around everywhere. No way I’m gonna lug all that up and over the Himalayas. Really lovely to be eased into this journey too with a strong easterly headwind making things all the more effort.
What a time to be leaving the UK. There really seems to be so much going in the news at the moment that it is almost impossible to keep on top of it all. Will there be more rioting in Stokes Croft? Will the Tescos there ever be able to open for any significant length of time? Will PC Simon Harwood be prosecuted for the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson? How far will the domino effect of the Arab revolutions go? What will the next big Wikileaks scoop reveal? Will the British ditch the joke which is FPP and vote in AV? What are the implications for the Muslim world (and the Visa application process for visiting these countries) of the death of Osama Bin Laden? etc etc etc.
France tomorrow, where arguably the real journey starts….