Day One

Ferry was a very smooth crossing , thank Goodness after my last experience of ferries !
Weather was overcast but dry this morning and found the ferry crossing after 2 km which put me straight into the right cycle route. First impressions very flat excellent cycle tracks can see why people rate holland.
Followed LF1 to Castricum , it not the traffic you have to look out for its the wild cattle ! 20120531-162208.jpg
Then close to my camp site I rode past this 20120531-162401.jpg
Fields full of flowers , absolutely beautiful. Once I got to the campsite just got tent up before it threw it down for half hr, but then it’s got slightly brighter so I’ve rode into town and stumbled upon the most fantastic cafe and chocolate shop so had a coffee , toastie, and Choc bomb ūüôā so far so good . So heading back to camp now and will update at weekend when free wi fi !

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On your marks

Its Monday 9.50pm as I start to type this post. I’m sitting in the kitchen having a beer and chilling out. Its my Sons 19th Birthday today , so another milestone in my life.

¬†The panniers are all packed and weighed up, rear panniers both exactly 6.3kg each, dry bag 5kg, front panniers exactly 5 kg each, bar bag 3 kg.a total of 30.6 kg., 4 stone 7, or 66 lb take your pick it’s the same either way.

Some of that is food provisions for the first week which will get lighter, and I probably am being over-cautious with what I’m taking!

I’m ready, the bike is ready,It’s now very much a reality.

I would like to thank everyone who has been a massive support in helping me get to this point. Family , friends , people whom I have yet to meet, but will one day, and you the readers. A special thanks to one particular person who means the most in my life.

So with that now done , it’s the vets tomorrow with the dog to see where we go with him , something I’m really not looking forward too, and then take the rest of the day as it comes!

Ferry on Wednesday afternoon.

Last few days

The last few days have been a mixture of emotions.
All my preparation is done, all my bags just about packed. last minute items now bought, bike serviced and a superb job they have done too.

Friday was a day which started bad, got worse then finished great. Firstly my sisters Audi estate car was hit side on and is now an insurance right off. The car did its job and she has whiplash,and bruising but otherwise fine.
Then we noticed a small lump which was on my dogs throat has suddenly got bigger to the size of a golf ball, so straight away to the vets and the news is not good. He believes it is a tumour . Ive brought him home for a few days and back on Tue morn to make a decision .This on the day before I leave.!!
My Sons 19th Birthday is on Mon so I took him out for a meal on Friday evening . After the events of the morning this was a welcome relief to be able to spend quality time with Lewis. We had a great night, great food and throughly enjoyed ourselves.
On Saturday I set off in the glorious sunshine we are having of late to cycle 53 km to meet up with a friend for the weekend. No long after setting off I found a large flexi arrow lying in the road and not one to miss out on a good photo opportunity I quickly named him “Alfie” the arrow and he is coming with me around Europe to highlight some major sites. His first job was at the angel of the North Statue near Gateshead.

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In the picture you can also see I tried out my Solar charger¬† in a proper situation on the bike. My iPhone was 55 % charged and when I plugged it in the charge went to 67 % so only a 12 % charge in 3 hrs¬†of sunshine.¬†It does state min 4 hrs¬†of sunshine to charge the AA’s ¬†but I already know it charges the booster back up batteries I have for the phone no problem, along with my other gadgets. First impressions , pretty good but time will tell.

So after a great Saturday and Sunday daytime I set off to cycle the 53km back home, again in sunshine and really enjoyed the ride back. Few things to do tomorrow and then its back to the vets with Mitch on Tue morn, Ferry on Wednesday.
Life is full of ups and downs !!

What a day

The sun was shining bright in a cloudless sky, the first time in a long time. I had spent yesterday , packing the panniers, and hugely cutting down on all the clothes I intend taking along with making sure everything fits in the panniers . Ive taken an idea out of a fellow bikers packing list and have half a empty pannier which I can use to fill up with food while on the road, so today took advantage of the weather .

AT 8.45 I set off heading towards Morpeth, but then passed the factory who did my graphics on my van and I got the idea could they fit Geordie on a bike on the frame somewhere. Not only did they do the job there and then for me , they fitted the graphics on both sides of the top tube, £5 well spent. Now we really are ready for the off.
I had no particular plan , (never really do) and headed off North, Through Hepscott, then Pegswood where all my family originate from . Ive not been to the cemetery where my grandparents and relatives are buried for a long time so thought it only fitting that I pay my respects to my grandparents, aunts and uncles.

From there I headed up towards Ellington, then to Amble on the coast. Warkworth and its fine castle was only 3 miles further so that was my target. Once there I headed to the river for a break and took a pic of George and the “Gaffer”. Now the belly was starting to feel hungry half an hour later so back to Amble for fish n chips which were fantastic, you could tell the fish was fresh off the boat into the pan. . Half an hour later I was underway but this time came back along the North sea coast and castles route 1 . A credit to Sustrans, and Northumberland county council. Duridge bay was one of my favourite places as a kid and it was a good feeling being back ,seeing the stunning miles of golden sands in glorious weather(pics are below). As I was riding along the 5 miles of coastal path I had my iTunes on with the MIni XI Speaker and the tune that came next was U2 Beautiful Day, my favourite song, I thought “Alex Life does not get much better than this”
Cracking on at an average of 18 km per hr I was back home by 3.20 pm. to a well deserved can of John Smiths Bitter. A total ride of 89 km
What a day ūüėČ

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Sunday Ride

After the shocking weather we have had of late, the forecast for today was better. No wind , dry and bright. I woke up at six o clock , then quick breakfast and out on the bike.
Before setting off I changed my cycle computer to km as opposed to miles, also it dawned on me thats its only 10 days to setting off.
That made my mind up to have a trial run down to the ferry terminal , to see how long it takes. Sat Nav set, not that I needed it, and off we went. George has had a degrease¬†wash and brush up and fresh “Green oil” applied to his chain, all his bits lubricated and was in fine fettle. Exactly an hour later we were at the ferry terminal . I rode along to North Shields Fish Quay, then spotted the ferry coming down the Tyne. So took the opportunity to take a few pics . It was a strange sensation watching it dock and thinking in 10 days I will be on board but going in the opposite direction.
After 20 mins I rode to Tynemouth, grabbed a coffee ,  then back home via Whitley Bay and Seaton Delaval. By the time I got back The sun was out in all its glory and a very good friend made it for lunch which was an added bonus.

The forecast this week is for fine weather so I may eventually be able to give my solar charger a good trial run . It works fine on the window sill but I want to see how long it takes while out on the bike. As Im all done work wise I have the chance to take advantage , and get few more miles on the clock.
Now one thing I have noticed a lot lately is that while Im¬†out always take the chance to say “Morning” to fellow riders and pedestrians. I reckon that today I must have said it to approx 50 odd people, and one thing that struck me was how many “Racer Cyclists” just ignore you! Pedestrians , Mountain bikers, Mums and kids, others going slowly,all speak back,¬†but not many racers!. I wonder why?¬†Is it because Im¬†on a hybrid with Pannier¬†racks¬†, bar bag,¬† casual cycling shorts ,¬†with a plain cycling ¬†top and not clad in skin Tight Lycra, go faster helmet and overshoes! Seems to be those riding in two’s that ignore you most. Im not tarring everyone with the same brush just its a strange observation!
So here are a few pics of todays ride.

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