So I made it to Bath and had a great sleep in my little single bed. Bikey McBike Face was safe overnight in the pub cellar and I had my fix of ready made porridge first thing Tuesday morning. I was awake at 7am and pottered about re-packing my bags.
I felt pretty good which I was surprised at. I was really worried that I’d wake up and not be able to move but this 41 (nearly 42) year old body let me ride another day. Before setting off I had a stretch with my newly learned yoga skills which Jay from Namas Jay in Cardiff had taught me.
I checked on the weather so I could figure out what to wear. Warm rain was on the cards so I chose shorts. Less material to get wet. Plus remember that skin is waterproof. I packed up and headed out of beautiful Bath (in the rain).
Now, I have a map for pretty much every inch of the French part of my journey but nothing for the UK leg. I’ve been relying on signposts and Google Maps. This isn’t a good strategy. Even getting out of Bath caused me a headache as I searched for Route 4, probably adding 2miles to my day. When I did find the canal tow path there was a little diversion up a not so little hill. Early morning grind!
It was worth the slog as I was treated to miles of canal tow path out of Bath towards Trowbridge. It was stunning and awesome to see so many canal boat dwellers along the way. The wildlife and smell of wild garlic made me appreciate not being on main roads.
Salisbury was my goal for a bit of a rest and to charge my phone. Remember the lack of maps? Top tip: treat each long distance journey as if you don’t have a smart phone and you’ll be fine. Low battery approaching Salisbury wasn’t a good sign.
I made it to Salisbury (49miles) and headed to the cathedral and found a lovely tea room. You know the type where you have posh sarnies, your tea comes with an actual strainer and you hold your little finger out when you slurp away. Luckily it was almost deserted as it was peeing with rain. I ambled in looking like I’d just ridden 50miles through endless puddles of tow path mud and spray from main roads. Tea cake and a cuppa for me, plus a sneaky charge of my phone which only crept up to 4%. Not much use for the next leg to Southampton which was about another 24miles. Might as well have swapped my phone for a cathedral brick and took that instead.
I took my usual clueless way out of the city and headed towards Southampton. Extra miles getting lost. I managed to head in the right direction eventually but totally missed the signage for Route 24 and ended up on a dual carriageway. Oops. I did a couple of miles then thought that I was being a bit stupid. My 11 miles an hour was no match for 70mph traffic so I took the next exit and rolled into God-Knows-Where-Village. The lovely people at the local post office pointed me in the direction of West Dean (after giving me a bit of a look up and down).
Thanks to their directions I made it there and picked up Route 24 through to Romsey and on to Southampton. Pre-phone-death I’d already messaged my friend Justine to get her address written down on paper. Plus I scribbled myself a rough map of how to get there from the city. Note to self: don’t rely on your damn phone!
Aaaaand finally at something past 5pm I made it to Southampton and was met with a bowl full of pasta with tomato, chilli and cheese. Awesome. Day 2 done.
Wednesday is Southampton to Newhaven in more warm rain ☺