A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke” – Scott Stoll
(sourced by Maggie Hughes)
Having fuelled up the night before on a huge Indian meal, courtesy of ‘Amins Spice’ (the best Indian restaurant and staff in the world) I woke feeling calm and truly felt that this was not out of reach or impossible anymore... on second thoughts, it never has been!
Durham to Dover
The start was tough I'm not going to lie! Day one mentally was a battle, for the first 30 miles I didn’t stop, drink, eat or listen to my music. Instead I processed what I was beginning. On my journey I met a veteran cyclist who distracted me from my thoughts for 10 miles on route to Otley (where I was staying with my good friend Jasper) and let it slip as to where I was heading - I really don’t think he believed me! Twenty miles from Otley I'd made arrangements to meet Richard, a fellow cyclist I’d met through work, who was a local to the Yorkshire hills and an excellent cyclist. These miles flew by chatting and enjoying the road to Otley. Day one came to an end and I was relieved to see Jasper and his family whom I’d met before and felt at home with.
Next stop Nottingham - a final goodbye to my sister.
Having just seen her the weekend prior to heading off she gave me a card which quoted some of my favourite lyrics:
"Don't be scared to walk alone
Don't be scared to like it
There's no time that you must be home
So sleep where your darkness falls.”
John Mayer (Born and Raised)
If there’s one album I’ll have on repeat it’s this one for sure. Very inspiring music for the road and one's dreams.
I set off to make my way down to Watford, near London. On the approach to Leicester city I was clipped on the hip and shoulder by the side of a car. My position sharply corrected as the car's wing mirror went on to hit my handlebar end! The driver took a left and pulled over. On approaching the car, ready to ‘talk it out’, he was checking around in the car and was surprised to see me! On asking, ‘Are you aware you hit me?' he replied with a blank face to my surprise, ‘No, I thought I’d hit a speed bump.’ He hadn’t even seen me. I suggested he should check his left wing mirror - sadly he was more concerned that it might be broken than how I was! A very elderly gentleman, whom I advised needed to be more careful and left it there. Meanwhile, I had a labradoodle having a fit because it doesn't like cyclists and its owner, unaware of what had just happened, was trying to introduce me. On telling her what had just happened she replied,‘Well you look fine.’ Feeling the love for cyclists as I head south!
That night I stayed with my first of many ‘Warmshower’ hosts, Paul, who was an outstanding host; a good start to this lifestyle.
On wiggling through London (Day 4) I set sail for France. On arrival my thoughts focused in on the adventure ahead - this is the beginning, the unfamiliar roads and the kindness of strangers; let’s have it!
I cycled up the coast to Bruge with roads flat as a pancake. I noted that the respect for cyclists throughout Belgium was amazing; I'd gone from feeling invisible in the UK to cars waiting for me to pick a road off the roundabout.The safety on these roads was awesome!
Now in the Alsace on the 10th day having a well deserved rest. I'm heading into Germany tomorrow - 3 days on the road to see an old friend before the Austrian Alps.
If you want to find my proposed routes for the year please look at the ‘Where’s Ste' (only by computer) page; right at the bottom of the page you can scroll to see each route. Also, look at the main frame for the ‘Follow My Challenge’ tracker, which has been updated, so it will start in my current location rather than at the beginning.
Looking forward to what lies ahead... I already feel I’ve met so many amazing people. Thanks for following and for any support you’re providing.
Go Be You,