Distance travelled: 26.87 miles
Cumulative distance: 1019.30 miles
Distance remaining: 3980.70 miles
Percentage complete: 20.39
Villages visited: Bawdeswell, Foxley, Themelthorpe, Guestwick, Wood Norton, Stibbard, Little Ryburgh, Great Ryburgh, Colkirk, Horningtoft, Potthorpe, Brisley, North Elmham, Billingford.
Today I reached my first major milestone, as I passed 1,000 miles. The ride, however, did not quite go to plan. Firstly, the new bike rack that I’ve bought and attached to the car didn’t work perfectly… in other words, my bike nearly blew off the rack into the path of another vehicle at 70mph on the NDR. I’ve since worked out what the problem was and fixed it, though, so no problems there.
I then forgot to put my spare sunglasses and inner gloves into my jersey pockets; didn’t need the inners, but the sunglasses… well, we’ll come to that. After about 100 yards my pump fell out onto the road, which was a portent of things to come!
I got into a gentle rhythm and was up to around 14mph when trouble resurfaced in a big way. I’ve ridden through all kinds of mud, farm filth, sand, puddles that were more like lakes… so when I saw mud on the road ahead I carried on straight through it, taking care not to make any sudden movements…
…and then the back wheel slid out from underneath me, and I wound up face down in the middle of the road. I felt okay other than a couple of grazes, and the bike seemed alright, so I carried on.
And then, around the next corner, came a huge tractor with a giant rotating brush attachment on the front. Whatever it was I’d just ridden through, the farmers were certainly aware of it and were coming to clean it up! The mud was pretty grey and clayey, so I’m not sure if it had diesel in it or something, but it could have been worse.
I then saw a couple on bikes riding towards me, so I flagged them down and suggested that they alter their route rather than risk the same fate as me. We rode and chatted together for a most pleasant couple of miles, before I decided I should probably put my foot down and try to get some speed up. I was still aiming to collect Katie from work at 5pm, so I stepped on it.
The next issue was with the aforementioned sunglasses. I’d started the ride wearing my fully tinted shades, but as the sun began to get lower in the sky they didn’t offer me enough light to ride safely, so I took them off. I’d usually wear my cycling glasses, which have yellow lenses, but having forgotten to put them in my pocket I had no option but to ride without eye protection.
And then, on a sharp downhill travelling at close to 30mph, something flew into my eye. Pain! Panic! Aaaaargh! It took a good mile or so for the pain and eye-watering to subside, and for my vision to return to near normal.
Once I’d cleared the bug from my eye, though, the rest of the ride was marvellously serene. There was very little traffic, apart from the school bus that I chased for a few miles, and I managed to get my pace back up to 15mph by the end of the ride.
I got back to Bawdeswell just as the light was fading, and captured the village church at dusk. I had wanted to stop and capture the setting sun a few miles earlier, but my momentum carried me ever onwards.
Meanwhile, Katie had decided to get a bus into town after work anyway, so I made a detour on my way home to visit my parents for the last time before lockdown.
I wonder what the next 1,000 miles will bring? I’m aiming to get to 2,020 miles by the end of 2020, so fingers crossed for an absence of windy days and icy nights…