With 3 weeks to go before day 1 of the bike ride everything is beginning more and more real. Long considered logistics are now becoming reality, and if I’m honest it’s all a tad scary. Here are some of my worries, and a few desperate pleas for help. (There is also some elation at having hit £10k raised but this has disappeared in organisational concerns!)
Some of you might know that I’ve done this ride before – but that was with another rider, and with a support vehicle allowing flexibility during the day, free accommodation at night, and transport back home after 2 weeks in the saddle.
Doing the ride solo is a completely different kettle of fish.
I’m in advanced stages of planning what to carry on the bike – knowing I need to be self sufficient. If something goes wrong I’ll need to be able to get it sorted there and then, but carrying too much weight will have an impact on my ability to cycle long distances day after day.
In terms of overnight accommodation – most nights are sorted but I’m still in need of accommodation in Jedburgh, Pitlochry, and Inverness. Everywhere else I am sorted but the nature of doing this ride solo means that some days I’m really having to crank out the mileage (up to 90 miles) whereas other days I’m down to 55. I know I’ll struggle with the long distance days, and I live in fear of something going wrong (or just not being able to do the mileage), delaying the entire route. To alleviate this I’m also interested in offers of accommodation in Wellington (nr. Taunton) and Huddersfield/Halifax.
Problem number 2 is transport. I am hoping to arrive in John O’Groats on Tuesday the 22nd of July, and then need to return to Plymouth. By train the minimum cost is £165 – but this would tie me to a date. With 16 days start to finish I can’t risk throwing away that kind of money on a ticket, but I can’t find flexible tickets, and the cost on the day is sure to be much more. This is money that between leaving 1 job and not yet having lined up another I don’t have. The elation of hitting 10k has now completely gone. I’ll be honest, this is really stressing me out and I can’t see an easy solution. I’ve got a few vague contacts to push, but if anyone has any ideas I’d love to hear them.
Update – after sending out some panic appeals someone has generously offered to cover the cost of my travel from Wick to Plymouth!
Asides from that, the bike gets its final service this weekend, maps are being cut out and numbered, and I’ve even ordered some snazzy, colour co-ordinated sunglasses!
So – here’s to optimism, and the hope that everything will come together.