Friday 3rd May – April update

Started to look at riding to South Africa from England, but it doesn’t seem to be possible, not without flying over certain countries in northern Africa, there seems to be a lot of threats of terrorism, kidnapping and general unrest, according to the Foreign Office website, so given up on that one for the time being and turned my attention to central America, which apart from the normal warnings of crime and violence seems a much easier place to ride, although I might do that as part of a big tour next year or the year after and then do the Pan American highway which runs from Alaska to Argentina.
Had to go nearly a week without any bike at all, after I’d broken the handle bars on my trusty old Marin that I’ve had for over 20 years and my touring bike was still away, also being repaired!
Pretty embarrassing when I broke my handle bars, it was right in the middle of Chichester town centre. I’d just cycled the nine miles from home and was just about to get off when the bar just snapped sending me sprawling over the road, right in front of a load of old dears and an oncoming bus, the bus was only going about 10mph so there wasn’t any problem. Although it did make me jump back up pretty fast, what with seeing a bus bearing down on me and the scores of people that were all around also looking at me! No sooner had I hit the ground than I’d picked myself and tried to pretend that nothing had happened! But of course that wasn’t going to happen was it, a group of old dears that were stood close by came over and started fussing over me and asking if I was ok,

“Are you ok sonny?” one of the old ladies asked

“I’m fine, thank you, my handle bars have just snapped as I was getting off” I replied,

“You could have really hurt yourself, what happened did you just fall off?” another old lady asked,

“No! My handle bars have just snapped, look! But I’m fine thank you”

“Well as long as you’re ok and nothings broke we’ll be on our way, you had a narrow escape there perhaps you should be a bit more careful next time you get off your bike!” a third old lady in the group replied!

Don’t think anybody had noticed that my handlebar had broken; think they just thought I couldn’t ride a bike!

The driver of the bus who’d also stopped, was next to start fussing over me, asking me the exact same question, “was I ok?” to which I obviously replied “yes I’m fine, thank you, my handle bars have just snapped” but at least she could see my broken handle bars and didn’t keep repeating the question. All the people on the bus just sat there looking at me and of course with all these people fussing over me and a bus stopped in the middle of the road it just drew more attention, I just wanted to go away and pretend that nothing had happened. I was grateful that people did actually bother to take the time to see how I was though.  After I’d eventually convinced everybody that I was ok and that nothing apart from the bike was broken they all left, leaving me to quickly park the bike up in the bicycle racks and make a hasty escape, to the nearest pub!

Got a phone call to say that my touring bike was ready for collection, so decided to make a weekend of it and went down to Cornwall, it was only a 300-mile Detour! Good weekend, went for a couple of walks, one at Lands End the most westerly point in mainland Britain, where we nearly got blown away, the other in St Ives where we stayed. Lovely little fishing port St Ives, although I don’t think there’s too much fishing going on these days, I think it’s probably very busy in the summer with thousands of tourists, I can imagine that the character of the place completely changes, but out of the main season in mid April it was a lovely quiet little town. It’s got some really narrow cobbled streets with small independent shops, loads of art galleries (just my sort of thing, not!) and a few nice pubs which seemed to be frequented by locals, my favourite one being the Sloop Inn dating back to the 14th century.  Found a nice little fish restaurant and had John Dory, first time I’d had that, really enjoyed it, it’s a white fish with a firm texture and fairly sweet.

On the way home, we went via Lizard Point the most southerly point on mainland Britain, just to say that we’d done the most southerly and western point in mainland Britain that weekend! Can’t really say that there was much at Lizard Point, but then we only drove there and didn’t do any exploring!
Works still been a bit quiet, although I’ve been working for most of the month, got one or two jobs lined up for next month but nothing major, so might disappear on a short tour!

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