Day 2: Mission to Mission
Mission is an apt destination for the day’s ride.
Imagine me pedalling along in the sunshine. It’s 3.30pm and I’m whizzing along merrily, dreaming of the hot chocolate (thank you Ruth) and marshmallows that I’ll cook up at the campsite. Yep, it just 10km to the campsite and then I reach…
The Bridge That Goes Nowhere.
I had heard that two years ago there was a ferry. But the ferry stopped and they built a bridge. Or, I should say, started building a bridge. The barriers, rubble and closed road signs suggested that it wasn’t finished. A guy in a van drinking coffee in a lay by confirmed it. I need a wee, I want a snack, I am not impressed.
Ordinarily I would at this point do one of the following: whinge, moan, phone for a lift or jump in to swim across (depending on my mood). Monty didn’t want to swin. Daddy Rock taxis don’t pick up from this area. And nobody was around to listen to me whinge or moan. So there was nothing for it but make a 39km detour.
Cycling West on day 1 is not great for morale but luckily Monty and my legs were feeling fab. We whizzed off. Then we came to a proper bridge.
Now, imagine the M1 goes up some tiddly suspension bridge high into the sky over a gaping river. I should point out I am scared of heights. But this is it, this is the only way across I tell myself. I grit my teeth I pedal up the steepening ramp…
And then I notice the bike path. I turn promptly around and cycle the wrong way down the M1. Hop onto a bike path and then puff up some sort of bicycle helper skelter until I am again in the sky. Oh… Eek!
I try not to look down to the pinprick people on the ground. I am cycling in the sky. I hold my breath. I enter a meditative state of focus by reciting all the local stopping stations between London Paddington and Hereford. I am still cycling in the sky. I recite all the stations from Bournemouth to Newcastle. Eek. I am still in the sky. I wish I had committed more train lines to memory for occasions such as this. I start reciting the infinite series hoping that I will reach the other side of the river before I run out of numbers. I reach 16,384 and – phew – I’m across.
It is now getting to be late in the day so I cycle as fast as I can. Thankfully there aren’t any more bridges to contend with. I skid into the campsite at Mission just before 6pm.
I pitch my tent and celebrate the end of the day with a hot chocolate and marshmallows. Mission Complete.