There seems to be a strange obsession of cycle tourers to name their bikes. Over the past few months I’ve contemplated many names, but it was only two days ago that the name came to me- and it’s with great satisfaction that I introduce to you Wilson. Many of you may remember Wilson from Castaway, and it’s from this film that my Dawes Vantage is named. There are many reasons for the choice. For one, I will be suffering from incessant loneliness over the coming months on the road, and a companion to communicate with will be much needed. Also, like Tom Hanks I have a tendency to randomly talk and sing to myself, especially on the saddle! Some may even argue that there are certain similarities in appearance:
I’ve come over 500km now, passing through some of the most spectacular countryside of England and Wales. The rolling hills and farming villages of The Peaks District and Staffordshire in England were just stunning. Once I crossed the border into Wales the fantastic scenery continued, especially through the Brecon Beacons National Park. But with superb views comes some tough climbing, and yesterday morning I weighed in Wilson at a hefty 49kg!
It’s been tough going for myself and Wilson since leaving Leeds on the 31st. I had hoped to challenge people’s perceptions of British weather back in Oz, but it really has been ten days of wind, rain and snow. One particularly bad day saw me cycling in 2-3 degree temperatures with freezing horizontal snow pounding against me for hours. By the time I took sanctuary in a café, my hands and feet were frozen solid. I thought I would avoid snow until Central Asia, but on the plus side the snow has brought some spectacular scenery through the Brecon Beacons.
I was hosted with my friends for a few days in the Welsh countryside. A big thank you to both Mark and Susan for the delicious food, warm fireplace and soft bed! As I didn’t really do any training for this trip the regular breaks off the bike over the coming weeks should ease me back into shape! One of the advantages of starting this journey alone is that I’m able to go at my own pace and slowly build up my fitness. However, on my days off my mates got me out for some long walks in the Becons; it was fantastic getting out for a last walk together, but I with a long ride the following day I only did three of the four mountains.
On Sunday when I cycled along the scenic Taff Trail from Brecon to Cardiff I was joined by Ifan, Ryan and Tom. Together we cycled all the way to Cardiff, arriving at Ifan’s home after 11pm (where we demolished the biggest pizza imaginable). It was a great experience cycling through the evening, and I’ve never been more thankful for the shelter of a home with the rain continuing all night.
This afternoon will see me cross the Severn Bridge into England, where I plan to explore Bath and Stonehenge before cycling along the coast to Dover.
Last week Cycling4Cancer featured in an article in the newspaper This is Wiltshire.
The Camden Narellan Advertiser will also be following my journey each week over the next couple years. To read the first article please click here.
For my favourite images of Wales click here.