This is it then, the night before the off. My panniers are finally packed, everything else (almost) is boxed up and ready to drop round tomorrow for storing in my pal’s loft (how can I still have so much stuff?!). While everyone else in the house is kicking out zeds, I’m on here to record this auspicious moment. I.e. the moment I try to nod off while a million thoughts race through my head about things I’ve still to do, forgotten to do, would like to do, or would rather not do. Ordinarily, I would place in the latter category such activities as ride 54 miles into sleet and a headwind. But I’ll make an exception tomorrow and the strange thing is I can’t wait. The moment when I finally roll out has been a long time coming (or so it feels), with a fair amount of teeth gnashing and sleepless nights, so to get to the point when all those worldly concerns fall away will be bliss. Rain, snow, slush, bring it on!!
Four weeks ago I was pretty spun around by the whole experience of finishing my job and then the next day moving out of the house I’d lived in for twelve years. It was a stressful weekend, partly because such a hurried move throws everything into disarray. I was extremely fortunate to have such good friends in the folk who work at the Jack Badger workshop. They welcomed me into their home and provided amazing support in helping to prepare me for this trip (it’s been like Scrapheap Challenge here for the last few days getting my bike ready). I was able to quickly find equilibrium here – it is a very cosy set up, round the clock tea and toast helps too! – so now, strangely, I find myself almost resisting the next upheaval as much as I did moving out of my house. It’s alarming how quickly new routines and comfort zones establish themselves! I think I will miss living here more than my old house!
Anyway, the die is cast. Tomorrow I will get on that bike and ride it, wobbling up the hills bound for my old climbing friend Steve’s in Staffordshire. An easy day on any other bike, but I suspect it’ll take me 5 or 6 hours with all the weight I’m carrying. Sorry I haven’t yet shared the musings on kit selection. I will do soon, now I’ve finally chosen it – although I might yet change my mind about sleeping bags again in the morning. This cold weather is making me question the wisdom of setting off without my best winter down bag, but it’s useless most of the year (way too hot), so I’d need to take another one as well. I’ve gone for a medium weight down bag and super light down bag + silk liner to double up for the coldest nights and just hope I can sleep. I think I’ve remembered all the essentials but can’t shake the feeling I’ve overlooked something vital. Ah well, I’ve got my passport and my bank cards. Everything else is just ballast really!