Day 1. Marble Arch – Folkestone

Click here for the routemap

Good Morning,

I’m currently sat in the Executive lounge on a Danish Seaways ferry. By ‘Executive’ it means you get your own keycode to get in, a complimentary pastry and unlimited vending machine coffee. As an added bonus today, we are joined by a German film crew led by an 18 stone Frau who is constantly barking orders to her minions! All this for a bargain £10.99!

Well yesterday’s ride down from London caught me by surprise as soon as I stepped outside the door of the Airbnb just off the Edgeware Road. It was bitter! 2 degrees max. Failing to consider this possibility! I had only packed shorts, fingerless gloves and no warm top. Out of the wind it was ok but once moving the wind chill dropped considerably. Downhill bits made me teeth hurt and I was relieved when the relatively flat route from central London produced a decent hill to pedal up.

By the suburb of Eltham I was frozen and sought hot coffee in a Tesco Express. Whilst in there, I approached a young spotty youth who was replenishing the Mars Bars and asked,

“Excuse me, do you sell gloves?”

There was a pause……. Not a short one but a verging on awkward one. He then averted his gaze upwards and squinted slightly as I waited with great anticipation for his reply. You could hear the cogs turning here. You could see here was a chap that didnt really pay attention at school. Without a word, he disappeared for 20 seconds and then returned clutching a packet of bright yellow Marigolds. Well I guess technically he was right. I asked for gloves and he produced some from aisle 3. Obviously my reply was lacking context. I then explained that I was after the type of gloves that keep your hands warm. His reply being,

“Oh right! I fawt ya were cleaning or summink!”

Cleaning? Dressed as I was? Cleaning?

I pressed on and out into suburbia. The sun was trying its hardest to percolate the morning mist without much success. By 9am it still wasn’t showing any sign of warming up and by Dartford I’d had enough. But wait! What is this? Like a shining light by the roadside there appeared………….. a Halfords! 20 minutes later I was kitted out in cheap Chinese-made cycling apparel in the form of leg warmers (lycra type tubes), gloves and another top. Not the best quality (in fact, with it being the end of the season, it was all the crap they couldn’t sell over the winter or even in the spring sale!). Beggars can’t be choosers and I was warm at last!

Yesterday, Kent played host to some Scando-Baltic headwinds. Nothing too strong but enough to make a difference and to keep things cold. All the way down the A20 from Maidstone, I did battle with this bloody wind.

At some point somewhere, I stopped off at a filling station and was lured to the hot food counter. In the display cabinet were a couple of sausage rolls. Hot pastry containing a few ounces of processed ‘meat’. They looked good, they smelt even better. The fact that pastry induces indigestion in me lasting days didnt even occur. I snapped them up, tucked in and they were………..bloody awful. Why do we do these things to ourselves? We know it’s going to be bad but still, time after time, set ourselves up for a big disappointment! I departed once again feeling pretty sick and kicking myself for not just having a simple ham roll!

25 miles later, the town of Folkestone appeared over the last of many horizons where a warm welcome and bath awaited. All in all a good but chilly day and glad to get this part out if the way.

Mileage for Day: 76.3 miles

Total so far: 76.3 miles

Today is 65 (+ 11miles to the ferry) or so miles from Dunkerque down to the south of Lille. Should be much flatter than yesterday with less winds too with any luck.

Au revoir x

Published by stevepullan170571

My name is Steve Pullan and I'm lucky enough to live in a fabulous part of the country in Devon. The moors and open countryside are on the doorstep and that lends itself to some fantastic cycling (if you don't mind the west country rain and the hills!). I've always been keen on cycling but since moving to Tavistock, my enthusiasm has hit an all-time high. In 2014, I decided to make use of it and take on the Land's End to John O'Groats challenge. I rode solo and unsupported and did intend to keep costs down by going armed with a tent and sleeping bag but due to an appalling winter and being unsure of what spring had in mind, I opted for the B&B option. The ride covered a little over 917 puncture-free miles and involved quite a few climbs both in the far north-east of Scotland and also Devon and Cornwall (I've had been reliably informed that Devon and Cornwall is by far the worst part of it and I have to say, I agree). The whole trip was completed in a leisurely 13 days with about 81 hours spent in the saddle. Each day I posted a blog on this site just to share this great experience. I also raised over £2000 for Cancer Research too. Following on from the LeJoG, the experience has given me the bug and desire to explore more on two wheels and in Aug 2015, I set off for a 6 day jaunt across the channel in France. Once off the ferry in Roscoff, I pedalled 400 odd miles to my parents' house south of Cognac in the south-west. The France2015 blog details that ride. No doubt there'll be other jaunts in Europe to come! Update: September 2018 - A solo ride from London to the Mediterranean in aid of the Brain Tumour Charity. - This ride came to a bit of a premature end after 260 miles with a knee injury. However, it is now rescheduled for 29th April 2019. Details of everything are on the blog pages. Thanks for reading.

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