Saturday, 30 July 2011

All four corners

Passing through Kent today it occurred to me that I had now visited all four corners of Britain - John O'Groats, Durness, Land's End and Dover. Another milestone.

Today is Bundy's birthday, and yes, I did phone her this morning. Asked if she's looking forward to me coming back home, she replied "well, yes and no". She's got used to being on her own, just as I have. It's going to take a while for both of us to re-adjust.

On the ride I've seen perhaps a couple of dozen roadside memorials, at least two of which have been to cyclists. It's touching how relatives want to remember the spot where their beloved was killed, but also somewhat macabre. In many cases the flowers have long withered, the teddy bears are soggy and the photos are peeling.

When I reached Hythe this morning, I caught my first glimpse of France. Now there's a thought....

Today's route, once I reached Hythe, was mainly off-road, on National Cycle Routes 2 , 1 and 15. These were excellent, except at Dover, where I chose 'the alternative wheeling route to Deal'. Now wouldn't you think that means it's suitable for bikes? I should've learnt my lesson; earlier in the ride I chose the 'coastal route' rather than the road route and nearly got stuck in cow pats and sand dunes. This one started with a gentle ramp, and then came the steps - three sets of them, a total of nearly 100 steps. That 'wasted' half an hour, but at least the views from the top of the White Cliffs was spectacular, with individual buildings clearly visible across the Channel.

At Ramsgate the route took me along the busy clifftop promenade, where the cycle route was shared with pedestrians and children on bikes. One youngster, no more than eight years old, decided to turn right in front of me and - crash! - I hit him broadside. My first 'accident'. I was fine, except one of the panniers had fallen off and the front mudguard had become detached. The little lad was fine too, apart from a grazed knee, but he said to his parents, "I'm never going to ride my bike again". The parents, fortunately, were just as concerned for me as for the lad, and didn't blame me at all.

I ate my first blackberry today, a useful source of free food over the next few days, hopefully.

Today's 'thought'. Never say, 'I haven't got time...' or ' Sorry, I didn't have time to....' Always make time, especially if you're doing something for someone else. Just think of those hours you waste watching TV.

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