December 2016 Update

Frosty morning in the New Forest

After arriving home from my tour in India and Nepal at the end of November things soon returned to normal. A little bit too normal for my liking!

Whilst I was away on tour I’d managed to stop taking any medication for my back, which was good news as it was the first time I’d been able to do that in nearly 5 years! But after being off the bike and back at home for a few days the pain soon returned and I was once again having to take painkillers.

This is as far as Garry got

With my back hurting once again I decided to go away on my bike to try and ease it. Unfortunately, I only got as far as Portsmouth 20 miles away before the wind got up and I had to take shelter in a pub. It never really got that windy at all it was just an excuse to stop as I really wasn’t that enthusiastic about going away, particularly as I didn’t know where to head for and as I’ve said before, I’m not any good at just going out on a bike ride just for the sake of it!

All ready and loaded to go away

A couple of days later I was looking at the mileage that I’d cycled whilst I was in India when I realised that I was just 105 miles short of the 50,000-mile mark on Passepartout!

With the 50,000-mile mark, so close I now had a reason to go away cycling as I decided that I wanted to complete 50,000 miles before the end of the year!

Unfortunately work commitments and bad weather were both against me and it wasn’t until after Christmas that I was able to go away.

Crossing Southampton waters on the way to Hythe and the New Forest

Once again, I headed towards Portsmouth and managed to keep going this time and not end up in the pub!

I crossed the water at Portsmouth catching the ferry to Gosport where I then followed the coast to Southampton. Once in Southampton I again caught another ferry this time to Hythe and then on down through the New Forest, which as you know is one of the places I quite regularly cycle to.

The sun going down in the New Forest

It was a lovely sunny day albeit a bit chilly and I was enjoying being back in the saddle.

Cycling through the New Forest was as lovely as it always is. After 75 miles, I reached Christchurch where I decided to stop for the night in a hotel, I did contemplate camping (very briefly) but I didn’t think that there were any campsites open at this time of year, well certainly not the one I normally stay at!

Little harbour at Hill Head

The following morning I was going to come back home via the Isle of Wight another place I like to cycle to, but after a bit of consideration I decided to cycle back the same way that I had cycled down, following national cycle route 2.

A frosty morning in the New Forest

By the time, I’d got home I’d covered 150 miles and surpassed the 50,000-mile mark.

The Queen Elizabeth in port at Southampton

So, at the end of 2016 I’ve covered 50,046 miles in seven and a half years!

Christmas was the normal affair of family meals and plenty of drink!

September 2016 Update

At the beginning of the month I went for an eye test which went surprisingly well, considering all the other ailments I seem to have, with my sight not really much different to what it was 5 years ago and in fact the optician said that my eyes were very healthy!

Garrys new glasses
Garrys new glasses

A good sign I thought, maybe things are looking up on the health front, two days later I was brought back down with bad toothache and I had to have canal root treatment!

I also had my daughter’s wedding this month which went extremely well with everybody having a really good time especially the bride and groom. It was also such a proud moment for me seeing my little girl getting married, although I did feel very uncomfortable having to wear a suit all day! But I also enjoyed the day and I think my speech although rather short was well received, which was just as well, I only finished writing it a few hours before the wedding!

Vicky and Garry
Vicky and Garry

Now that the wedding is out of the way I’ve got my passport back and I’m allowed to go travel again, I’ve just got to wait for Vicky and Paul to come back from honeymoon and then I’m off literally! I’m picking them up from the airport early on the 4th October then it’s a quick trip back to Bognor to swap over cars then they take me back to the airport to catch my flight to India!

My original plan for this trip was to cycle around the south of India and then back up to Kolkata, but after realising that I could now cross into Myanmar I changed my plans and started to pursue that, as Myanmar was one of the countries that I wanted to cross on my world cycle ride in 2011 but at the time you weren’t allowed.

Indian street
Indian street

Although I’d already booked my flight to Mumbai (which wasn’t the ideal starting point for a trip to Myanmar) I still had enough time to cycle across India cross into Myanmar and then cycle down to Thailand and fly home from Bangkok.

To enter Myanmar at the Moreh/Tamu crossing which is the one I would use you need to get a MTT permit which can be obtained from Exotic Myanmar travel for $80 and apparently it takes about three weeks to get. So whilst my passport was away having my Indian Visa stamp put in I started to make enquiries about getting the MTT permit. It was whilst making these enquiries that I discovered that Myanmar changed the rules and you now had to leave by the same port that you entered you could no longer leave by a different port , not after crossing on the Tamu border crossing anyway. After making some more enquiries with Mr Kyle at Exotic Myanmar travel the very kind man I’d been corresponding with, he confirmed that yes the rules had changed and you could no longer enter at Tamu and leave by a different port and to top it all I’d have to pay another $80 for another MTT permit to exit at the Tamu/Moreh crossing!

After once again not being able to cross into Myanmar I’ve know decided to head up to Nepal and Kathmandu. A; because I like the sound of it especially when somebody asks me where I’m going, Kathmandu I can say, it just has a nice ring to it!

B; in the faint hope that the rules might change on entering and leaving Myanmar and at least I would be heading in the right direction, for a while anyway, although I haven’t got a visa or permit for the country but their minor details I’d work those out on route!

And finally C; I had a bet a few years ago with my good friends Dave and Helen to see who could cycle to Kathmandu first!

Chaotic Indian roads
Chaotic Indian roads

August 2016 Update

Punting on the river Cam Cambridge

The month started off with Julie on holiday, so I decided to take a few days off work as well, so we could do something.

Initially we were going to ride the bikes to the Isle of Wight but as per normal the weather changed and it became very unsettled with strong winds and rain showers. So we looked at getting a cheap break abroad somewhere, but at this time of the year there’s no chance! So not really knowing what to do we went to London for the day and ended up in Camden town,

The Camden Lock sign
The Camden Lock sign

what a surprise that was I’ve never really been there before I’ve only ever passed through it. I thought it was an absolutely brilliant place, the market area reminded me of a combination of the souks in Marrakech and Luang Prabang in Laos where there was a narrow alley lined with food stalls and communal tables to sit at and eat, admittedly there wasn’t as many food stalls and the communal tables weren’t all crammed along a narrow alley but Camden still had the same sort of feeling about it!

Both Julie and I really loved the place and we will definitely return! It’s always good to find somewhere new that you’ve never been to before especially when it’s in an area that you go to frequently!

After our day in Camden and the weather still not very good we loaded up the car and set off to Cambridge for a couple of nights again somewhere that I’ve only ever passed through in the past.

Kings college Cambridge
Kings college Cambridge

We found a lovely campsite just on the outskirts of the city in a place called Trumpington, which to me has a really nice sound to it, a jolly sound, Trumpington! Maybe I’ll retire there I like the sound of the name so much!

From our base in Trumpington, we had excellent access into the city via cycle routes, in fact there were two very good routes one that followed the side of the road and the other was a cycle superhighway completely free from traffic.

What a charming and delightful city Cambridge is, what with all the different campuses of the university and the river Cam running around it.

Apart from the university, Cambridge is also famous for the punts that ply the river cam so we decided to do the tourist thing and took a trip on one with a young girl called Grace as our guide,

Grace our tour guide
Grace our tour guide

who was very young indeed but really knowledgeable and informative about the different colleges that lined the banks of the river Cam and she also gave us some of their history, although her punting skills were a bit debatable as we managed to have a head on crash with another punt at one point! But no harm was done and poor Grace couldn’t apologise enough!

Originally we had planned to go home on the Friday but not really having any real reason to head home we decided to stay for another day and went for a lovely bike ride up along the river Cam heading away from Cambridge to a place called Waterbeach were we sat and had a spot of lunch at a pub before making our way back to the campsite at Trumpington!

Along the river Cam
Along the river Cam

Saturday morning came and once again we decided to stop for another night, although this was a lazy day, well for Julie anyway she was happy hanging around the campsite reading her book whilst I was chomping at the bit and had to go out for a ride!

The previous night when we arrived back at the tent there was another tent next to ours with a bike outside, which obviously got me all excited, a fellow tourer I thought and sure enough it was! So of course I had to go and have a chat. Her name was Jessica and she was cycling to Germany. It was really good to talk to her and listen to all the enthusiasm and expectations she had for her trip.

The rest of the month has been spent with me working all the time and no chance of being able to go away on a tour, also next month is also fully booked out with work but at least I’ve got my daughter’s wedding on the 16th of the month, speaking of that I suppose I’d better get on and write that father of the bride speech!

July 2016 Update

The Solent

Once again it’s been a busy month, unfortunately with work and not cycling though, although I’m not complaining it’s always good to be busy and I’ve still managed to do a few things.

The first weekend of the month I got dragged to Brighton shopping for a dress, not for me I hasten to add! Julie wanted to get a new one ready for my Vicky’s wedding in September. I’m sure she’s already got loads of dresses but apparently it has to be a new one for some reason!

The thought of having to go shopping was filling me with dread, its bad enough having to shop for myself (which doesn’t happen very often) let alone for a woman!

Upon arrival in Brighton Julie said that she knew what part of town she wanted to look around as there was a collection of different shops in a relatively small area, so we made our way from the railway station through the lanes

The north lanes Brighton
The north lanes Brighton

towards the shops, obviously stopping to look in a few shops on route, me being forever hopeful that she would find a dress in the first shop, which obviously never happened! Once we arrived at the main shops Julie announced that I didn’t need to go with her and I could go and do my own thing and we would meet up later, I certainly didn’t need telling twice and as quick as a flash I was off straight to the nearest pub,

Garry enjoying a pint in Brighton
Garry enjoying a pint in Brighton

which is where I stayed until it was time to meet up with Julie!

Not a bad day at all in the end and Julie did manage to get her new dress and everything that goes with it, apparently you can’t just buy a dress you have to have shoes and a bag to match!

Had a bit of a result from Busch & Muller the company that manufacture my front light, which isn’t just a light it is also a charger for my phone, but for some reason it had lost the ability to charge my phone. Thinking that it was just a new cable that I needed I searched the internet looking for one but couldn’t find one. In the end I wrote to Busch & Muller who after a few correspondents asked me to send it back to them and they would see what they could do.

It wasn’t more than a fortnight had passed when a parcel arrived at my house from Busch & Muller containing a brand new light!

What incredible customer service considering that the old light was three years old and completely out of any guarantee or warranty! Maybe this is my first sponsorship, sort of!

The weather has been really nice so nice in fact that myself and a few of the other blokes I work with decided to take the day off work and sail to the Isle of Wight.

A motley looking crew
A motley looking crew

So Dave whose boat it is, Giles, Dave and I all set off from Dell Quay, Chichester at about 8 o’clock in the morning to catch the morning tide.  We had a pleasant sail down the Chichester channel and into the Solent where it was a little lumpy before arriving at Seaview on the Isle of Wight where we disembarked and went for a few beers before setting off back to Dell Quay; it was a really good day out with plenty of beer drunk and some good sailing.

Garry’s YouTube video of the boys day out