Bike-Ride To Australia 2nd-November 2011

Bike-Ride To Australia 2nd-November 2011 Le Nouvion to Margut 81 miles. A much better day today despite nearly riding headlong into a lorry first thing! That’s two mornings on the trot now. Maybe it’s my medication!

The mornings are so dark and misty. I spend the first couple of hours cycling in the dark! And there are not many hours of daylight. No sooner does it seem to get light than it’s getting dark again. It makes the days very short! Because the days are so short, I think I’m going to give up on the idea of camping! Besides, I’ve not seen a single campsite since arriving in France!

I know staying in hotels, motels or whatever turns up is going to cost, and it’ll blow my £40 a day budget! But hopefully, I’ll crawl the extra cost back when I’m in Asia. I’m not ruling out camping. And if a campsite appears at the right time, I’ll use it. But going on what I’ve seen so far. I don’t expect to see any!

French countryside
Autumn colours in the French countryside

After deciding not to camp anymore, I’ve felt a lot more relaxed. Like I said earlier, I’m not ruling out camping completely. I’m just not going to beat myself up if I can’t! I think I had it in my mind that if I couldn’t find a campsite, I should be wild camping! But with the days being so short, that just gets miserable and lonely!

Cycling has been hard going again! Apart from being very hilly this morning, I’ve had a relentless headwind, which has been with me since arriving in France! I must make a mental note before going to sleep tonight. To ride on the right-hand side of the road when I leave the hotel in the morning!

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Bike-Ride To Australia 1st-November 2011

Bike-Ride To Australia 1st-November 2011 Seclin to le Nouvion 71 miles. Cold start to the day, I’ve had to put gloves and fleece on. I didn’t get off to the best of starts this morning either! As I cycled out of the hotel, a car approached me, on my side of the road! As it got nearer, they began tooting and flashing their lights. What the hell is this idiot doing? I thought to myself! He must be a foreigner! Then as I approached a roundabout, it dawned on me! It was me who was the foreigner on the wrong side of the road! Once back on the right side of the road! Things didn’t get much better, I’ve had a strong headwind all day, and it started to rain at around lunchtime.

That’s It

By about 4 o’clock, I’d had enough and stopped off at the first place I came across an Auberge, which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere! I asked if there was a restaurant nearby or somewhere to get something to eat. I wasn’t expecting to stop so soon and hadn’t bought anything for supper. Yes, here in the Auberg was the reply, but unfortunately, we’re going out for the night! There is a supermarket a few km’s down the road, though. Thank you, I said. I’ll see how I get on after a shower thinking I can’t be bothered to get back on the bike today! I’ll just have another night of hotel camping, but without food! Although that’s not strictly true, I always carry some basic provisions in my panniers. So I can always have pasta or noodles.

After my shower, I was just about to start getting my cooker out when the landlady came back. She’d only cooked me a three-course meal served with some beer! I couldn’t thank her enough and asked how much I owed her. Nothing, think of it as a donation to your ride. Just enjoy your meal. I’m sorry it’s not anymore! Just leave everything on the side along with your key in the morning! Not much! There were cheeses, cold meats, bread and coq au van!

What a lovely lady, I might not bother camping and just stay in Auberges from now on!

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Bike-Ride To Australia 31st-October 2011

Bike-Ride To Australia 31st-October 2011. Capel-Le-Ferne, England to Seclin, France. 93 miles. I’d forgotten the joys of travelling with only two of everything, especially at this time of year. Clothes never dry overnight, and you end up putting them on wet. Or don’t wash them! But after nearly ten hours of cycling, I don’t think it’d be fair on anybody else! Or me, for that matter!

After telling you about my failure to check the tent and bike yesterday, I discovered something else I should have checked on! I’d forgotten my toothbrush! Again nothing major, and I brought one later in the day. I just hope there’s nothing too substantial that I’ve forgotten! At least I know I’ve got my passport, two days clothes, tent and bike! So what else do I need?

I was up nice and early again today, and it was an easy downhill ride from the campsite to the ferry terminal in Dover. I had a bit of a shock at the ferry terminal when they charged me £30 for the ferry! The overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre doesn’t cost me that! But hey, if that’s what it is, then it is! I certainly wasn’t going to turn around! Goodbye England, bonjour France!

Lorry in France
Some things just don’t translate too well

The clocks changed on Saturday, so we lost an hour. It gets dark very early, especially here in France. I spent the last two hours of the day cycling in the dark. Unable to find a campsite, I found a cheap hotel instead and still managed to stay within my £40 a day budget! Although to do so I had to cook supper in the room, on my camp stove! You can’t beat a bit of hotel camping!

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Bike-Ride To Australia 30th-October 2011

Bike-Ride To Australia 30th-October 2011 Brighton to Capel-Le-Ferne 80 miles. Good facilities at the campsite last night, thanks to my mate Mick for telling me about it. It was good to see the old trick of turning up late and leaving early to avoid paying still works! Unfortunately, it didn’t work tonight. I arrived too early!

A nice early start this morning. I was on the road by 6 o’clock, just as it started to rain! After negotiating the hills around the Seven Sisters Country Park and Beachy Head, I reached Eastbourne and decided to stop. I found a lovely little café and ordered a full English fry-up, knowing it would be my last one for quite a while! It also gave me a chance to dry off after it had been raining ever since I left Brighton.

Seven sisters country park
Seven sisters country park

I should have checked some of my gear before leaving home! Firstly my backlight battery’s were flat! Then when I put my tent up, I realised that some of the sleeving that guides the poles had ripped! I suppose with over four years of packing the tent away wet, has finally taken its toll! At least it’s not got to last too much longer. I mean, it’s not as if I’m away for long!!

I hope to catch an early ferry to France tomorrow, my first foreign country, on this trip, and I’ll feel as if truly on my way!

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