It has been a bit over nine months since my last entry on this site; I guess the longest I have gone in ten years without an adventure outing of some sort. Back in March, three days before I was to fly to Norway for a month of hut-to-hut skiing, I fell on the ice beside my house and tore the rotator cuff in my right shoulder. Thanks to the work of a wonderful physiotherapist I am somewhat more mobile now and so it is time to head off again.
1964 … “I can’t stand to see you off, likely forever, standing on the side of the road.”
My mother would not go with my dad and sister who drove me to the outskirts of Calgary, in August 1964. I was going to hitch-hike to Montreal where I had a one-way boat ticket to Southampton, England, for the beginning of a walk- about that had no planned route or duration.
So, a bit over fifty years ago I headed out of London on a newly acquired bike, with a wood framed back-pack, strapped to a rear carrier, that lasted about half way to Brighton, where I had hoped to get in one day. I had 80 lbs of stuff I considered necessary for summer and winter in any part of the world. Among these essentials I remember the complete works of Shakespeare and the first volume of the ‘World of Mathematics”.
The bike was more suited to light riding around London and so every cobble-stoned village in France that I hit claimed a number of spokes. I could ride pretty fast, but I knew nothing about bikes or bike travel. In Spain I traded in the bike for my thumb and rode around Europe, N. Africa and the Middle East on it for the rest of my year away.
2014 … In the last 15 years I have put about 200,000 kms on four well researched bikes and have pared down my travelling needs to about 30 lbs. On the downside, the 50 years on my body balances the advantage good equipment and experience makes, but I am still going and that trip fifty years ago proved to create an appetite that has never abated, nor been sated.
I am flying to London in a few days and will spend two months cycling with a little hiking in Britain. I will start by attempting Lands End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland (LEJOG), a cross Britain cycle trip that draws thousands each year. There is no specific route. You make your own way, but it is about 1000 miles, and I will try to do it in a little over two weeks. I am meeting my son and family in Scotland to watch the Ryder cup and will then continue cycling back and forth, with no real agenda, south towards London. I hope to find some nice cycle routes through places Like the Yorkshire Dales, and possibly hike a bit in the Lake District and possibly Snowdonia.
Every inch of Britain had been trod upon and written about, and so as adventures go this might be pretty tame, but I am on a bit of quest. During my short cycle ride across the south of England fifty years ago, on my way to France, I fed my thirst and flagging spirit with frequent visits to country pubs that were such a surprise for me at that time. Wish me luck in my search for interesting spots, pleasurable experiences and the ultimate in British pubs.
I hope to make the odd post to this blog, so join me if you will.