Friday, 16 September 2011

allez allez

hi everyone

a quick blog as we're leaving in james's mum's car for plymouth in around an hour so are currently in a last minute frenzy of putting little things in ziploc bags and squeezing rogue bits of air out of our compartmentalising drybag thingys.

went to see the tour of britain stage 6 setting off from taunton this morning. i was well excited to see all those cyclists at such close range. james wasn't as excited as me, but perhaps he would be if they were women cyclists. they interviewed mark cavendish, who was typically deadpan and non chatty, but it was just before the race, so fair enough we thought. we watched them all whizz past us for all of about 5 seconds then watched the support cars go past which was possibly more exciting as you get to check out all the swanky bikes on their rooves.

then did some faffing in town to get last minute things. here are the stats so far anyway on my journey:

thursday (day -1)
9.45am: set off from home with a bit of a wobble as i tried to wave goodbye to helie and mum. mum followed me down the hill in the support car as she was going on somewhere else. 
cycled: 8.5 miles (home to station, manchester victoria to manchester picadilly station, taunton station to james's house)
travelled: lots more miles, but on the train. very nice quiet train but no tea and coffee came round after 1pm which was a bit of an issue.
interesting bike related fact: i locked my bike up at manchester picadilly so i could run to starbucks and get a coffee. i had my eye on it the whole time as it was still loaded with panniers. a security guard went over and got on his walkie talkie, so i ran out of starbucks (shouldn't've been in there anyway, should've been busy throwing bricks through its windows and all that). he said he had to report it as it was unattended luggage. i said oh ok, don't worry it's just my tent and clothes and stuff. he said ok but don't leave it unattended. i said ok, well can you just stay with it while i run back to starbucks as i paid for my coffee but didn't get it. he said ok. this is one of the main reasons that cycling with someone else will make life easier, you can't leave your bike and stuff if you need to do anything, even if it's locked up, and it's hard/impossible to carry all your panniers and tent and handlebar bag around whilst leaving the bike locked up. needing the loo for a whole hour after the coffee wasn't that much fun.
another interesting bike related fact: i nearly fell over backwards when trying to haul the bike on the train in manchester. a man in taunton helped me carry it off the train....
interesting non bike related fact: i met some old people on the train to manchester who had a grand nephew who works in madrid.

friday (today) (day 0) (because tomorrow is day 1) (obviously)
cycled: 14 miles according to james's computer, 7 miles according to mine. something strange going on there. sabotage perhaps.
calories consumed: no idea, but i ate some chocolate brownies and a banana amongst other things. apparently we need to consume 4000 calories a day. that's fine with me, i like eating. ate one of the muffins mentioned in the muffin the mule blog, which are now completely flat, more like scotch pancakes than muffins. haven't lost any of their taste or nutritious value though.
last minute purchases: a spanner and some more spoke reflectors for the front wheel.
interesting fact (both bike and non bike related): james is bringing a fishing rod. imagine our delight at having freshly caught free fish for dinner. will keep you updated how that goes. at the very least the fishing wire might come in handy for something. like garotting people. 

that's it as i have to go now. au revoir from england.

ps i've got my valiums at the ready in case the ferry is too wobbly. also a bottle of red wine. i find this is a winning combination, last utilised on the plane back from india after discovering valiums for 28 rupees for 10! do you know what a bargain that is folks. 2 free small bottles of wine and a few of those later and i woke up in a daze on the plane wondering where i was and what was happening, but at least i wasn't panicking and hyperventilating at being on an aeroplane. given the wine was free courtesy of finnair, that's got to be the best value for money getting wasted (for medical reasons) i've ever experienced.


  1. Hi, Why are you over justifying the existence of James on this trip in this post? Or belittling his role to bag watcher! Get it together pickles!
    Love the weasel penguin, completely lovely, the haggling was vital and your bounty well earned. Have a lovely day tomorrow...Pedal, pedal like the wind Amigo. X

  2. that bike is gonna feel like a lump of lead after 2 jellies and a bottle of red.