2nd March 2011
Morning of the send-off and nerves were beginning to mount. Nothing to be concerned about though and by this time we could begin to feel the faint twangs of excitement, something that had been lacking over the past few weeks.
Despite a late start, both of us managed to arrive at the Newbury town hall in good time to meet the infamous Mayor of Newbury. Sure enough 20 minutes later there he was in all his adornment clutching his bike and rearing to go. The amount of photos everyone was
taking, you would have thought the two of us were going to be married with the Mayor as the priest. This of course was not the case! Enough photos in the Market Place and it was off to the school, where we were further surprised to be cornered by ITV Meridian and told we were to give an off the cuff interview in front of the camera. Apart from that the school was a lot of fun and the children were very engaged throughout the whole process. The send-off finished in the Newbury Manor where LANXESS had put on quite a spread for everyone. Mass from WaterAid gave a 25 minute presentation about WaterAid for those who were a little less familiar, and Kim from LANXESS said a few words of encouragement before we took to the road for our first day in the saddle.
It was a lovey day for our first 30 miles of the trip, clear, sunny and cool; little did we know that, that cool would soon turn to cold, very very cold. We spent our first night in the garden of the Fox and Goose pub who had very kindly agreed to let us camp the night. We woke to find our tents and bikes white from the heavy frost during the night. Cannot say it was the best night’s sleep but sleep it was none the less.
3rd March 2011
From the pub to Brighton turned out to be 62.5 miles which was quite a lot for only the 2nd day. We managed it with a quick stop in Steyning for a delicious lunch at Hayley’s house (thank you Hayley) and just in time for our good bye drinks at the Lion and Lobster pub.
It was a wonderful evening and lots of people turned up to wish us well, we even had good bye cake (thank you Liz) and plenty of drinks, perhaps a few too many.
4th March 2011
Friday morning, and it was time for us to wave good bye to the UK. Hayley Zierold, Martin Lawrence and Ben Whatley decided to accompany us on the short 9 mile stretch from Brighton to Newhaven where we would take the 9:30am ferry to Dieppe. As the ferry pulled out of the port we could see the three of them waving us off from the Harbour wall until we were out of site. Four hours later we were ploughing down the open roads of France (on the wrong side of course).