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  • Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    My First Days on a Bike

    Two hours after sunset, the forecasted rain finally started to fall. I stopped on the side of the road to peer over a stone wall to see if the field on the other side was suitable for a tent. 

    A series of shorter stone walls divided up the land into sections. The hoof-tilled mud and the scattered cow patties meant cow pastures. An open gate on one meant I’d likely be left alone and untrampled.

    The issue was getting the bike over the first wall, which was five-feet high. I dropped my gear onto the other side and used the stones that jutted out to climb on top. I lifted the bike on top and balanced it on its side. I hopped down, feet sinking into the mud, and then pulled it the rest of the way over. 

    It was initially very strange to pull away on my bike and not feel the pack on my shoulders. I'd have this split-second feeling that I forgot something important, like when you realize you don't have your seatbelt on when driving. When setting up camp, I had to get used to the fact that all my gear wasn't in the usually places. I didn't realize how much I had gotten used to a routine.

    The next morning, I looked up and saw a herd of cows trudging toward me through the mud. That open gate I thought led outside, only lead to an adjacent pasture. I held up my hands and gave them a, “Woah," then a "Good morning, fellas. Please go away.” They looked at me briefly then ran back to where they came from. I have to say, commanding twenty tons of stampeding animals like a Jedi feels pretty good. 

    I've never seen an aqueduct before, so had to stop for a photo

    Here is the view from the top.

    Testify!

    Cobblestones are not the best surface to cycle on, but I loved this little hidden pathway in the city. I walked along side my bike and shared my cookies with the ducks.

    Some days, cycling through England isn't all that different from hiking through it.

    I know I'm not seeing the more remote English countryside on this route, but that was on purpose. I wanted to see the English towns and meet English people.
    But whenever possible, I take the scenic route.

    A lot of my route has been on repurposed disused railway lines

    I had to stop for a photo. Doctor Who fans will know why.