Saturday, 24 July 2010

Ride on the Right

Up earlier than normal - 7:30, as I want to make Dover in good time. The climb out of the campsite is brutal, I'm enjoying them more each day! I stop off at the Battle of Britain War Memorial, I have the place to myself as its a grim rainy grey morn. There are two replica Spitfires and a stone statue of a pilot gazing out across the Channel. A marble wall contains over 3000 names of men who lost their lives during the battle from July - Sept 1940. I read about a pilot who's plane went down not far from the memorial site during a coastal patrol, he was 24!! Makes me feel very lucky to have such an oppotunity, I hope I can recall this when I'm having a strop and considering jacking it all in!

I get to Dover, stock up my food supplies, send some postcards and head to the ferry terminal - smilling all the way. I enquire about the cost and am pleased to find it's 14 pounds. It's all very new and exciting, my trailer and I attract plenty of dodgey looks. I strap up the bike and make my way to top deck for my last views of the white cliffs. I laugh out loud at my own stupidity - turns out I'm on the ferry to Boulonge. Oh well, adventure starts here! I check my map and realise my boob is only a minor one.

I make my way out of town in a general Eastish direction. My first taste of French countryside, I like it! I haven't seen anyone for miles, tired old farmhouses turn up every now and then, but no-one seems to be around. Find a camp spot by a small reservoir, it's nearly dark so I get set up. I listen to firework from 10 till 11, obviously not as far from civilization as I thought!

Distance 74 km

Tough day today, heavy rain & tunder storms made for less than ideal conditions. I start getting frustrated with not knowing where I am, my map is not nearly detailed enough so I'm pretty much folowing my compass. All hotels I saw were closed - not that I intended to take one but I wondered if the campsites would be the same. I meander through towns trying to find some quiet countryside. Town after town after town, 'FUCKING MAP!!' I shout at the inanimate object - think I'm getting hungry too...

I find no fields despite my extra hours in the saddle and so opt for a industrial estate. It's pretty quiet, and there are plenty on grass verges to pitch up. I head to the bottom of a culdesac, pick a spot with the lowest density of empty vodka bottles/used condoms and make camp. Various chavs in various hot-hatches cruise past until the early hours, a cheeky burnout then zoom off. I felt surprisingly threatened by it all, expecting them to come a harass me etc. Perhaps the tent added to ly feeling of vunerability. Not the best nights sleep...

Distence 138km

Harldy a killer day, directional nightmare, I'm coming to terms with the concept that I wont be putting in 100+ mile days. Felt my first tail-wind today pushing me on down the road - felt good! I'm looking forard to more of them! Felt better on the bike today after my sulking day yesterday. Feel like I'll need to 'man up' if I'm to make it all the way. I made some rules for myself today, I wonder if they will stick, perhpas I'll make more of them. So far we have:

  • No pushing EVER
  • No lifts
  • No looking for somewhere to sleep pre-lunch
I find my way into Lille, and as I'm in need of a wash, particularly if I want to go explore the town, I cop out and get a cheap hotel - WIMP!! I find a nice bar with good beer and get some food. I'm irritated that I feel so much better now I've indulged, suprising what a roof a wash and a meal can do! I write my journel and chat with the waiter - who lived in Yorkshire for a year.

Distance 68km

Note: I've noticed in my journel that I'm mixing my tenses rather alot, I dont have time to re-read or spellcheck my blog entries so apologies if they're hard going!!



  1. Good work James, shame Le Mongey kept you up all night! Love reading about your adventures keep it up.

  2. Oi Matt my boom box days r over!! Keep the blog up Bones its a good read, by the end of it I might have read a book, the second in my life!!

  3. James, What an adventure - and it's only just beginning. Very impressed. Keep it up. I am enjoying reading this very much. Looking forward to the next installment.