In just a week's time I shall be saying goodbye to regular stops with family and friends as I enter the French part of my escapade. I think my experience will change significantly when I cross the channel, not just because of the funny languages and having to cycle on the wrong side of the road, but because I will no longer have destinations to hit every day or two with people to visit. When I reach Calais, I just have to head south until I reach the coast and then take a left. I won't have to cycle up closed roads in order to reach a destination because all other routes into the city seem to be dual carriageways or motorways (Coventry), nor will I have to listen to my GPS beeping at me telling me I've gone the wrong way as it tries to lead me to an address. However I will miss the company of those I know well (or those who know someone well that knows me well) and the kindness they have continued to show me over the past week.
I've woken up to various sights and sounds this week: sustained sunshine for the first time on the trip, the sound of my brother snoring and the sound of a gun being fired (not sure which was loudest!) It appears that hunting starts at first light in Yorkshire. Thankfully it wasn't in the wood I was residing in that night. Yesterday I was joined by my brother for the trip from Tewkesbury to my parents' house in Wiltshire and enjoyed having some company again whilst riding. Now I've got a few days off at my parents in order to finish off the final things I didn't get a chance to do when I was down at the start of February. It will also give me a chance to straighten out my brake lever and let my bruises recover as I took another tumble yesterday just a mile or so from home as I hit a curb and again experienced the drawback of clipping one's feet into pedals. Anyone would think I had never ridden a bike before!
So what are the lessons from the week? If you want to cycle south into Coventry consider another form of transport, don't dress up as a fox in Yorkshire and England are definitely going to win the 6 nations!
A response to some comments I have received:
Unfortunately I have been receiving a number of derogatory comments since the start of my journey which I feel have been unfair and disrespectful, all of which have come from those I have know well. People seem to have forgotten that some of the greatest of man's accomplishments have been made whilst sporting a pair of tights! The last week has taken me on a journey through areas where these men have been appreciated and respected. On my way down from County Durham to Wiltshire, I passed Sherwood Forest, home to the greatest tight-wearing outlaw that ever lived. I then made it through Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, the most celebrated (tight-wearing) play-write in history. It made me think that men who wear tights are a special, select breed. Think of all the best superheros: Superman, Spiderman, Batman etc. Even SuperTed wore tights.
Next time you see a man in tights, don't let your mind trick you into thinking they are not cool or attractive, but instead think about the extraordinary things he is about to achieve.