Final preps done. I’m nursing one last cup of good old fashioned tea in the Gatwick airport departure lounge, waiting to board my flight to Cape Town. It’s not yet sunk in that I am about to attempt my global exploits. I say “attempt” because time will tell if I have the stones to finish it. Last night I had a pretty fitful nights sleep, though that may be accountable to the stereotypically poor English weather shaking the windows of my friends’ top floor spare room.
It’s not the fact that I plan to cycle in the region of 100 miles a day five days a week that is the source of my doubt; but the looming solitude of being solo on the road with only myself for company (that would be off putting for most people). After all we are. by nature, social animals.
If I do decide to throw in the towel, I suppose I will have to hide on a beach somewhere for the year, the Caribbean perhaps as I hear they have particularly flavoursome rum. Of course, if I do that I will keep up the illusion that I am an adventurer on two wheels and photoshop me and my bike in locations around the world. After all, I wouldn’t want to disappoint my many many followers. Fingers crossed that, despite the discomfort of the ample saddle sores, I will plod on.
I was given some advice from the adventure sportsman Daniel Martin. He has a wealth of long distance cycle touring knowledge and I would be wise to heed his words:
“Times will get tough. I made an agreement with myself that I would have no problem with me quitting but I could only do it after I’d had a big breakfast and was warm and well. Eat rich, sleep poor.”
I’m already reaping the rewards of this trip in the form of kind words of encouragements and, more importantly, many pints at my leaving bash. But I’ve been taken back by the generosity of friends of friends or family. Firstly, donations are beginning to trickle in, but also offers of a hot shower and a bed for a night or two.
When I get to Cape Town, still slightly tainted from a two day hangover (attributed to the aforementioned free pints) my friend’s father is collecting me from the airport and showing me the sights for a day or two; cheers Brian! I will probably shake him down for a donation for his troubles as well.
I look forward to meeting all sorts of people on this jaunt and I’m not really worried that I wont make it back in one piece. What I’m worried about is that I might “find myself” and return to the UK as a hemp wearing vegan.