Sunday, 3 April 2011

Scrumpy, Savage Ducks and Men in Leather

So, here I am. Day Four and my first opportunity so far to post. Where are all the WiFi bars in Britain? Anyway, I'm sat in a biker's pub, piss wet through. That's biker's as in motorbikers, by the way. Big men, wearing leather, full of tattoos. Not gayboys like me in my Lycra with my nuts dangerously on display. So, with that in mind, apologies for any incoherence in this post. I'm writing this while drinking a pint of 7.3% scrumpy at half past five in the afternoon. I'm trying to look hard. I'm not sure it's working.

Here's a brief run down of the weather over the last four days:

Day One: Rain. Wind in my face.
Day Two: Rain. Wind in my face.
Day Three: Rain. Wind in my face.
Day Four: Lots of rain. Wind in my face.

You see a pattern emerging? I'm not going to bang on about the weather, but the times I got lost I just felt from which direction the wind was coming and headed that way. It always turned out to be right.

So where have I been? The ride to Douglas supported by brother Dave was great, with the ITV film crew at the beginning and end adding a tinge of excitement. The massive potato pie and a chance to see the family was perfect at auntie Rita's in Blackburn. But cycling through Blackburn itself was nostalgically depressing. As was Accrington and Burnley. The campsite just outside Holmfirth was lovely, even when the ducks tried to invade my tent in the early hours. Yeah, I showed 'em who was boss. But Holmfirth itself was fairly ordinary. Why was it chosen as the set of Last of the Summer Wine? No idea, but I paid careful attention when cycling up its hills in case geriatrics in tin baths came careening down. Matlock was odd as usual. All the smells of Blackpool - minus the shit-filled sea - but I'm miles from the coast. And Halifax, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Derby were all much prettier than I'd expected. We're not talking Paris but still.

Anyway, I'm on course. Tomorrow I plod on with a full day, with aching legs and a sore arse to Northampton, and then it's only a short hop on Tuesday 5th to the home of the Open University, Milton Keynes. And there I meet my fellow cyclists who will help me to reach London. Two capitals, one week. C'mon! It's all going well. Bring on Albania!

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