It’s time for another adventure! I have been looking forward to a few of the Dykxhoorns travelling around France and decided the best way to pop up in Paris was on two wheels. Unfortunately, it meant that I saddled the blue babe down with a really heavy load. In addition to my usual cycling and camping gear, I included a bag of real person clothes and makeup so I would feel like a lady whilst traipsing around France with my people. On the first leg of my journey, rather than grabbing the tube to south London, I had extra time so I left from my doorstep. The day was sunny and lovely, and I happily pedaled through London and then wove my way through little towns and villages towards the High Weald area.
Hilariously, when I stopped for coffee and to fill my water bottles at a coffee shop, I helped myself to the water contained in the metal keg beside the cash register. I was baffled momentarily as to why my bottle was filling so slowly, then I realized with horror that I was filling my bottle with olive oil!!While I debated if this actually might be the new cycling superfood – EVOO – I eventually decided to dump most of it (although, enough stuck around in my bottle that I had EVOO-tinged water for the rest of the trip).
A few hours later, I stopped for a washroom break. I squatted in a along a lovely path, and immediately regretted my decision, as I had clearly chosen a place rich with stinging nettle. My legs were immediately covered in red, stinging welts, but it could have been far worse, had I shuffled over a few inches. However, as fate would have it, I had olive oil in my water bottle and was able to use it as a salve for my stinging flesh! It was quite miraculous.
I rode for a while, periodically stopping to rest and snack. Because I was carrying an unusually heavy load, I was quite afraid of my wheel buckling, so I eased myself very carefully over potholes. However, I didn’t escape without getting a flat. At the end of the day, I found this charming bit of forest on the edge of an empty field, which would be my home for the night. As the sun went down, I strummed a few songs on my uke, belting out some Dolly, until it was time to snuggle down in my colourful cocoon and sleep. I was up early the next day, continuing south towards Newhaven. I stopped in Lewes to eat ALL THE FOOD and drink a lot of coffee. I ended up meeting a few lovely older gentlemen who told me about good routes to take on the way to Paris and extolled the beauty of cycle touring in Japan (now officially on my list!). Leaving the charming town, I followed a bike path along these towering white cliffs. It was a beautiful leg of the journey.I didn’t stop for a lot of photos, taking pictures mostly with my mind as I slowly cycled south, although I did stop for a few stunners. I also loved this serene stone church and its overgrown graveyard. I had previously decided that I would need to make some raspberry and nettle tea when I got back home, due to the amount of suffering and flesh they jointly stole from me. So, I was delighted to savour the fruits of a thorny blackberry bush when I stopped at this church as divine retribution. And eventually, I made it! It was around noon when I rolled into Newhaven, so I had a few hours to kill on the beach before I caught my ferry. The views were ok, I guess… 😛 I felt like a real champ, as I navigated the route this time. I got lost far less than usual, which was such a treat! I realized that the Garmin watch I have had for years could help me with my directional issues, and it was marvelous.
These were the routes that I mapped on my Garmin. I did wander off course more times than I care to admit, but this is approximately where I travelled.
The British bit:
Remember, this is all part of my “Pedalling for Mental Health” challenge, where I am hoping to raise money for mental health research. If you are able to support this great charity, please donate here!
Today’s distance: 90miles/145km
Total miles logged: 632miles/1,015km