Mission: Bike 1000 miles with all our belongings in saddlebags from one end of the United Kingdom to the other. South to North. Sea to Sea.
Day 1 Lands End - Launceton, England (95 miles)
We started off our adventure in Cornwall with two of the hottest days of the entire summer. These were also our hilliest days which only made it more interesting!
Highlight: We found at as we were eating dinner at 7:30 that we needed to get to our inn by 9 pm or else we wouldn’t be able to check in. We still had more than 2 hours to go (at our normal pace) so we ditched the food and sped off hoping that somehow we would be able to make it. After biking down a dirt path for 2 miles we hit a highway which we had to cross but the only way to was an overpass which was under construction. Without a moment’s hesitation my mom followed me in the muddy pasture filled with cows as we walked our bikes towards the highway. Once we had finally reached the road we were greeted by barbed wire which we eventually managed to get our bikes and ourselves over holding the wire apart for each other. Long story short we made it to the inn with 5 minutes to spare muddy and exhausted. It was quite a first day.
Day 2 Launceston - Taunton (78 miles)
Highlight: An all you can eat Asian buffet which in my defense after a month of pub food was a nice change up.
Day 3 Taunton - Bath (60 miles)
Highlight: A 2 mile descent through a nearly pitch black cycling tunnel into Bath. Every few feet were speakers playing relaxing music while also changing colors making the whole ride down really surreal. Then to top it off a relaxing 2 hours in the hot springs of the famous Roman city of Bath!
Lowlight: I slowly rolled into the center square of tourist-filled Wells only to keel over still attached to my bike pedals as I struggled to unclip. Out of the hundreds of people watching, one kind British man approached me and asked if I had had too much to drink. Good times.
Day 4 Bath - Brecon, Wales (80 miles)
Highlight: Almost getting blown over by crazy winds while crossing the 3000 foot Severn Bridge from England into Wales.
Day 5 Brecon - Church Stretton, England (50 miles)
Highlight: The inn turned out to be 7 miles closer than we had thought, a welcome sight after a hot day.
Day 6 Church Stretton - Chester (55 miles)
Highlight: We spent half the day at the Shrewsbury Food Festival pigging out on a ton of different British delicacies. Afterwards I hopped into one those giant inflatable hamster balls and took on a bunch of small kids trying to knock me over. Lets just say it was the biggest American win since 1776. Veni Vidi Vici.
Day 7 Chester - Clitheroe (70 miles)
Highlight: I got lost in a very remote part of the countryside with no cell service and an excited little kid named Arthur guided me through cow pastures and over streams (I carried my bike through most of it) to the nearest road. I gave him a little reward and smiling he ran off. It was a really cool moment that made the whole day worthwhile.