Bike Journal: England / Wales 2013 Sean Nichols’ Bike Journal detailing his trip around England and Wales in September and October, 2013 en-ca Mon, 21 Oct 2013 02:21:54 -0600 Mon, 21 Oct 2013 02:21:54 -0600 Travel Bicycling Home-brew CMS, FTW! Bike Journal: England / Wales 2013 48 48 Oct. 03, 2013: Macclesfield, Cheshire, England Mon, 21 Oct 2013 02:21:54 -0600 20131003 It rained overnight in Ripley. I awoke this morning to fog, wet roads, and a heavy mist that kept collecting on my glasses, forcing me to stop to wipe them off &mdash; not that I could see much through the fog anyway.<BR /><BR /> An unfortunate beginning to the day I'd chosen to go through the Peak District, which I had anticipated being one of the most scenic parts of my trip. The weather forecasts are predicting this will be the wettest and rainiest day of my holiday, however I do have a schedule to keep as I will need to be in Chester by Saturday AM to pick up my race package, so as they say, &#x201c;needs must.&#x201d;<BR /><BR /> The A6 entrance to the Peak District goes through the Derwent Valley, with its many <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="0" ALIGN="absmiddle" WIDTH="16" HEIGHT="16" /></A> <A HREF="">picturesque mills</A> that in fact are a UNESCO world heritage site. Quite picturesque, if a little touristy. The waterwheel in Cromford is still in operation (probably for tourism reasons), and makes a really neat sound as it goes around.<BR /><BR /> Along with the mills, the Derwent Valley also came with some very pretty forests and waterfalls. The trees broke up the fog enough that I could actually see some distance for a change. Evergreens in the UK are sufficiently rare that they never fail to take me by surprise! I passed a number of bicycles on the road &mdash; it's a popular area for touring.<BR /><BR /> Pretty soon I was out of the valley, out of the trees, and the fog was back. Biked for a spell through what I think were mostly sheep pastures with little rock walls, a little like something out of <EM>Braveheart</EM>. Stopped for a late breakfast / early lunch at the Bull-I'th Thorn inn and pub. The place has been around for about 700 years, and has been a tavern and coaching inn since 1472. The place plays up its medieval history shamelessly, and is stuffed to the rafters with antiques, memorabilia, suits of armor, the works. It definitely has character!<BR /><BR /> The meal was the only true &#x201c;traditional&#x201d; meal I've had so far. (Sure, curry and fish &amp; Chips are both pretty British staples, but I'm referring more to the historical sense.) Inspired by the miserable weather outside, I got a big plate full of the &#x201c;Roast of the Day&#x201d; &mdash; read: roast beef, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and veggies, with the whole lot drowned in six helpings of gravy. It was actually pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Thus sated, I trundled down into Buxton where I found an internet caf&eacute; and was able to make my first blog postings since London.<BR /><BR /> Whereupon the drizzle finally grew into a full-fledged rainstorm, and after 2 hours on the computer, I emerged into a sky sheeting down through the fog. Between the long lazy lunch and the time in the caf&eacute; I was already rather behind time, so as much as I would have liked to hang back, I decided there was nothing for it but to head out into the rain and make the last push over the final finger of hills, then down into Macclesfield.<BR /><BR /> 8km up through the fog and rain and heath I reached the top of the hill, at which point the Cat and Fiddle pub loomed out of the mists like something out of a <EM>Sherlock Holmes</EM> story and marked the border from Derbyshire into Cheshire.<BR /><BR /> &#x201c;It's a pity,&#x201d; I again thought, looking out over the moor, &#x201c;that the fog is preventing me from seeing much of this otherwise very beautiful and dramatic country.&#x201d;<BR /><BR /> I wiped my glasses off, took a few photos, then hopped back on the bike for a swift descent into Macclesfield and the flatter lowlands between Manchester and Liverpool. <UL> <LI>Up through the forested parts of the country.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Hard to believe this came from my camera, it <EM>so</EM> looks like a stock waterfall photo. Like a picture-book.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Up into the peak district. The weather was being very English.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>The Bull-I'th Thorn pub. It was quite the place! Full of... character.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Character.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Seven. (Retroactive: I missed the sign coming into Derbyshire yesterday evening.)<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Eight.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>A bit of a shame that it's so foggy. This must be gorgeous country when you can see it.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>The Cat and Fiddle looms ominously out of the fog at the crest of the hill.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> </UL> <CENTER><HR WIDTH="50%" SIZE="1" /></CENTER><BR /><BR /> &#x201c;This is <EM>really</EM> going to hurt,&#x201d; I remember thinking as I tumbled and slid down the highway, my face scraping along the pavement.<BR /><BR /> It's the face that I remember most. Scraping and scraping seemingly without end until I was sure I couldn't possibly have much face left to scrape. With each impact I expected to come to a halt, only to feel myself back in the air as I endured another bounce followed by another impact.<BR /><BR /> I don't recall being particularly worried about dying. I thought about it, briefly, but not with much in the way of concern; rather just the simple observation that it hadn't happened yet.<BR /><BR /> But the pain that was later to come: that was on my mind. And ponderances about what kind of face I would have for the rest of my life. I suppose I'm more vain about that sort of thing than I like to think.<BR /><BR /> I also remember being pretty certain that whatever else happened, that was the end of the holiday. &#x201c;So this is where this one ends. On an empty highway. In the fog. And the rain. With no-one around.&#x201d;<BR /><BR /> Unless you count the sheep. My friend Nigel blames the sheep: &#x201c;It's all their fault.&#x201d;<BR /><BR /> Indeed, the sheep actually have been blamed for some accidents on what I have since come to learn is classed the <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="0" ALIGN="absmiddle" WIDTH="16" HEIGHT="16" /></A> <A HREF="">the most dangerous road in the UK</A>. But not on this day; they were safely and obliviously munching on grass in the field adjacent.<BR /><BR /> Or at least seemed to be, from what little attention I paid them. Equally little attention as I paid to all the signs warning motorcyclists about going too fast. I didn't know then the reputation that the road had, and didn't make the connection between a motorcyclist going too fast, and a bicyclist doing the same.<BR /><BR /> However that activity been the cause for most of the deaths: motorcycles going too fast around bends that suddenly turn out to be sharper than they had appeared. And that's exactly what happened to me.<BR /><BR /> Two bends from the top of the hill, I started going around; I leaned, sharply, into the curve. The wet road, the gravel, the backpack making me top-heavy. The bicycle slid right out from under me and I, leaning forward into the rain, went down face-first. And bounced. And slid.<BR /><BR /> &#x201c;This is <EM>really</EM> going to hurt.&#x201d;<BR /><BR /> Except, actually... it never really did. I'm extremely lucky, in so many respects. Lucky that it was only the second bend from the top of the hill so I hadn't yet reached full speed. Normally on steep hills I get upwards of 60km/h; in this case &mdash; without the benefit of having looked at my speedometer &mdash; I figure at having been closer to 50. I'm lucky, in some respects, that I did land on my face: if I had landed on my back, I think there's a good chance that spinal injuries would have become involved and some form of consequent paralysis. I'm lucky that I didn't black out and go unconscious (always wear a helmet, kids!) or sustain any brain injuries of any kind, not even so much as a mild concussion.<BR /><BR /> I'm lucky that a motorist came by within seconds who didn't think twice or ask a single question but instinctively piled me and the bike into his car and brought me directly to the district general hospital in Macclesfield. I stood up from the crash (more than a little surprised that I <EM>could</EM> stand up) and didn't feel any pain. For a brief second I wondered if my holiday might not be over after all, before I remembered my face and noted that not being able to see a thing out of my left eye other than &#x201c;red&#x201d; was probably not the greatest sign. I realized I must still be in shock, and so made to get myself and the bicycle off the road while I could still easily do so. Had barely made my way back up the hill to the bike and pulled it aside when a car came by, slowed, stopped. The driver took one look at me, my shredded clothes, the blood everywhere, and told me to get in. I made some stupid platitude about not wanting to bleed all over his car, but he was having none of it and insisted I get in.<BR /><BR /> The 25 minute ride to Macclesfield was one of the longest 25 minutes of my life, as I sat there wondering about the future. I needn't have, particularly. Chris, as it happens, is an accident investigator and had a pretty good idea of what to do in the immediate aftermath. In his care we got to the hospital where I was cleaned up and to no-one's greater surprise than my own, discovered that the face that I was sure was half gone had in fact only sustained a couple of cuts and gashes. A bit ugly, sure, but easy enough to patch back together with some minor surgery and a bunch of stitching.<BR /><BR /> So here we are. Soon enough I'll be heading out with Nigel to stay at his place in Wales; a bit earlier than planned (he lives only an hour or two away &mdash; I mentioned how I was lucky). I have a date with the plastic surgeon in Manchester tomorrow. And after that, we'll see.<BR /><BR /> <CENTER><HR WIDTH="50%" SIZE="1" /></CENTER><BR /><BR /> I write the above from the point of view of being in the waiting room at Macclesfield District General Hospital, where I spent the remainder of October 3<SMALL><SUP>rd</SUP></SMALL>.<BR /><BR /> But of course it is no longer October 3<SMALL><SUP>rd</SUP></SMALL>: it is in reality over two weeks later. I have been back in Canada for ten days and much has transpired.<BR /><BR /> That rainy evening on <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="0" ALIGN="absmiddle" WIDTH="16" HEIGHT="16" /></A> <A HREF="">the Cat and Fiddle</A> was indeed (in most respects) the end of my holiday. I spent the following week at Nigel's house in Glyn Ceiriog in the Welsh highlands with him, his wife Jen, and their lovely dogs. (I'm not a huge dog person, but for them I will make an exception &mdash; for <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="0" ALIGN="absmiddle" WIDTH="18" HEIGHT="14" /></A> <A HREF="">Zo&euml;</A> especially, who is my favourite dog in the world and of whom I am fonder than I am of most cats, even.)<BR /><BR /> I never did run the Chester Marathon, or much else (although I have done a spot of running in the last few days here in Canada, I am still working back up to anything long). I slept, a lot. I made multiple interminable trips to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, where after hours and hours in waiting rooms, my face was patched up by a most excellent surgeon to the point that now, with my stitches removed, you can hardly tell anything happened at all unless you look really close.<BR /><BR /> (Some photos for the curious: there's a bit of blood, although I am holding back on the more gory ones: <UL> <LI><A HREF="">T + 2hrs: cleaned up a little bit and in some fresh clothes, with bandages on the face</A></LI> <LI><A HREF="">T + 4hrs: probably the goriest of the bunch, when they took the bandages off to take x-rays</A></LI> <LI><A HREF="">T + 6hrs: changing the dressing before discharging me into Nigel's care</A></LI> <LI><A HREF="">T + 5days: in London on my way home; one day after surgery, and I'm almost looking normal already</A></LI> </UL>)<BR /><BR /> Travelling by bicycle is one of the best ways to see a country. Until now, I'd never really considered that axiom as including hospital waiting rooms, but there you go. Yet another way I was lucky: I discovered that medical coverage in the case of accidents is 100% free in the UK, even if you're a sketchy foreigner like me. I have not had to pay a single penny for the care I received. I don't know if we extend the same courtesy to our visitors, but I would sure like to think so.<BR /><BR /> My arm has turned out to be the most problematic aspect, even though I didn't even realize anything was wrong with it for a day afterward. I seem to have a torn rotator cuff. This means I cannot raise my arm more than about 40&deg; away from my body. This will require more surgery to fix, and it is hard to see when it will happen. Eventually, but it will likely be weeks.<BR /><BR /> In the meantime I cannot ride a bicycle, as I cannot lift my arm up to the handlebars. Mine (which I brought back to Canada with barely a scratch on it - there was even still air in the tyres! A true testament to <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="0" ALIGN="absmiddle" WIDTH="16" HEIGHT="16" /></A> <A HREF="">MEC quality</A>) is still sitting in the box I used to ship it back. Even once the arm is operated on, I will likely require therapy and who knows what else, before I am back to 100%. I also feel more than a bit of nervousness when contemplating getting back on the saddle. But one thing at a time.<BR /><BR /> Despite the above, I cannot complain too hard. Considering all the things that <EM>could</EM> have gone so, so, so much worse; I figure that what I experienced &mdash; other than the fall itself &mdash; was pretty close to a best-case scenario. As I wrote above, I never really experienced much in the way of pain, even; notwithstanding my initial expectation.<BR /><BR /> This last Monday was Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, and while my situation is perhaps a little different from those that originally inspired the holiday, it held more resonance for me than it really ever has before. 2013, it frequently seems to me, is the year that the Universe has decided I needed a little bit of perspective.<BR /><BR /> For now, while I feel like I'm pretty much back to normal (other than my arm, although even that is seeing some improvement both just on its own, as well as with me gritting my teeth and forcing it into doing things it would rather not do) I'm still obviously not quite there yet. I'm still sleeping a lot, and recovering. I'm even more moody than usual, but hopeful that will eventually pass.<BR /><BR /><BR /> One thing is for sure: the aborted holiday is not yet over. I still have a marathon over there to run, and friends I didn't get the chance to see. There's still a hill that I have to beat some sense into (albeit with a bit more care this time).<BR /><BR /> It will take, as I wrote above, some time before I get back on a bicycle. But when I do, once I am riding again, I'm going back over there. I am getting myself up to the top of that hill, and I am going to finish this holiday.<BR /><BR /> <CENTER><HR WIDTH="50%" SIZE="1" /></CENTER><BR /><BR /> To be continued . . .<BR /><BR /> <BR /><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/meal.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s meal: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">"Roast of the Day" roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, the works</SPAN>. My first (and as it turned out) only "traditional" British meal of the entire trip (although one might argue about curry being more traditional now). Very very drowned in gravy, including the veggies, etc. Like I said: traditional!</SMALL></EM><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/road.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s road: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">A610 - A6 - A5012 - A515 - A54 - A537</SPAN>. 56.8km, 2h37. And then cut short. To say the least.</SMALL></EM><BR /> Oct. 02, 2013: Ripley, Derbyshire, England Thu, 3 Oct 2013 08:54:30 -0600 20131002 Rain this morning. Mostly light, then pouring as I arrived in Leicester. But by the time I had wandered around the town centre for a bit, hung around the market and stopped for a pint (a good one!) it had stopped and held off for the rest of the day.<BR /><BR /> Remained a bit foggy, though. But that's ok; at least it was dry. And it was mostly a day of sightseeing in cities. Had a long-ish lunch with Andy in Loughborough. Wandered around Leicester as I said, then again in Nottingham. So didn't make it too far. But fair enough: that was always the plan. Did get flaked out on by a friend in Nottingham &mdash; frankly also not too surprised there.<BR /><BR /> Consequently headed out of the latter around 5:30 so as to find some place to stay that (I thought) might be cheaper and a bit further along my route.<BR /><BR /> I'm not convinced that was the best plan. Trying to leave Nottingham at rush hour? Yeah... that was dumb. It took me over an hour and a quarter to make the 5-ish miles to the M1. Would've been faster to walk, etc. <UL> <LI>Leicester Market. Coolest market anywhere!<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>&#x201c;Voted Britain's Favourite&#x201d;<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Leicester clock tower<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Castle<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Cathedral<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Brightly coloured birds at the Aviary in Queen's Park, Loughborough<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>More bird<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Six<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>BUNNY<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>One of my favourite parts of Nottingham has always been the hills<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Nottingham market square. Where all that stuff in &#x201c;Robin Hood&#x201d; alledgedly took place, etc.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> </UL> Then I arrived in Ripley just after sunset: my map said it was the last large-ish town for a while, so figured I'd stop there. Only found two inns: one was already full and the other, closed entirely. At the former I asked around to see what else there was in town. After a bit of chatter, they pointed me to the v. corporate chain motel out on the highway. Sigh. Well, if that's what there was, that's what there was.<BR /><BR /> Afterward, looking at Google, it seems I would have had at least two other places to try. Oh well.<BR /><BR /> For dinner I finished off the last of the parmesan, avocado and focaccia I bought at Borough Market in London. Will definitely have to try some more somewhere.<BR /><BR /> Should have done so at the Leicester market, but for some reason it didn't occur to me. That one has got to be the coolest market ANYwhere. I love it to pieces.<BR /><BR /><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/weather.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s weather: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">13 and rain</SPAN>. Well, rain in the AM. Mostly overcast and foggy in the PM</SMALL></EM><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/road.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s road: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">B6047 - A6 - A60 - A52 - A610</SPAN>. 94km, 4h16. A short day (distance-wise) and quite slow. Speed totally killed by the rush hour traffic out of Nottingham.</SMALL></EM><BR /> Oct. 01, 2013: Market Harborough, Leics, England Thu, 3 Oct 2013 08:13:32 -0600 20131001 A little late headed out of London, but not terribly so. A mostly overcast day throughout the day. Which is just fine for biking!<BR /><BR /> I started the day by staying off the major highways and sticking to the B roads and &#x201c;lesser&#x201d; A roads. After switching over to a major highway later on in the day, I discovered I liked them much better. Moreso than in Canada, the traffic levels aren't that much different, and the green A roads at least have a shoulder along part of their length. Which is very nice.<BR /><BR /> Drivers here are courteous to a fault around cycles &mdash; indeed to the point where they make me nervous. It's a strange thing: the roads are so narrow that the drivers are used to navigating around any number of random obstacles jutting out into the roadway, and having to squeeze through gaps with inches to spare, if that. Yet at the same time, they will queue up behind a bicycle for what seems like miles slowing down to half the speed limit and refusing to pass even when there is more room in the lane to do so than some entire roads are wide.<BR /><BR /> <EM>*shrug*</EM> <UL> <LI>Two<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>High Street in Hitchin. Neat.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Three<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Sculling on the River Great Ouse in Bedford<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>More sculling<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Four<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>The village of Finedon doesn't seem to have much to distinguish it... but it has one of these?<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Five<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Sunset over Leics.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Old rail station (?) in Market Harborough. Reminds me SO MUCH of several of the template buildings in Daggerfall. Waiting for night so I can go hunting spiders!<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Cathedral, Market Harborough<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> </UL> Market Harborough wins the award for &#x201c;Coolest Town Centre for a town I'd never heard of.&#x201d; A market town obviously (hence the name), but it also has a cathedral and a cool old rail station (at least I think that's what it is?) and some neat lanes and so forth. Some of the lanes are maybe 3 feet wide?<BR /><BR /> Apparently it was also a battle site in the English Civil War.<BR /><BR /> Shops close way too early, though. <BR /><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/weather.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s weather: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">17 and partly cloudy</SPAN>. Well, more just overcast than p.c.. But good biking weather.</SMALL></EM><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/meal.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s meal: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">Fish and Chips at St. Mary's Chippy</SPAN>. Fish! And Chips! Yum. Still doesn't measure up to that experience on the cold blustery day in Hunstanton, but really, what would?</SMALL></EM><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/lodging.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s lodging: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">The Village Inn</SPAN>. Decent enough. Ales on tap were ok. Nothing special.</SMALL></EM><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/road.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s road: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">A110 - A111 - A1000 - B656 - A600 - A6</SPAN>. 141.8km, 5h39. Nice and fast day today. Not too many stops.</SMALL></EM><BR /> Sep. 30, 2013: Enfield, Middlesex, England Tue, 1 Oct 2013 04:01:45 -0600 20130930 Spent most of Sunday finishing up on all the work that I <EM>didn't</EM> manage to get done before leaving Calgary. I know, I know; I said I wouldn't. But hey: it's all done now!<BR /><BR /> That worked out well enough, because Hari had a big football match he wanted to watch that afternoon, so the both of us spent the day kicking around his place. Went out for some Indian food afterwards, a couple pints and that was the day.<BR /><BR /> Then on Monday did touristy things down in the city. Mostly a lot of wandering around looking at neat stuff while Hari played tourist guide. Spent some time in the Museum of London, which was interesting enough. Had lunch at Borough Market just over the Thames and I bought a whole pile of things (mostly variants on Parmesan cheese, hee <IMG SRC="" ALIGN="absmiddle" HEIGHT="16" WIDTH="16" />) to stuff in my backpack for the trip. Was so excited by the market &mdash; and the cheeses &mdash; that I forgot to take many photos. But it's not like I was bereft of same for the rest of the day. <UL> <LI>The (400-year-old) New River in Enfield<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>More of same, approaching Enfield Town<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>The Guildhall (city hall) in City of London<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Bringing out the Mace for election day services (as it so happened)<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Excuse me, I think your skeleton is showing...<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Wall and turrets (former), City of London<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>A cheese grater, a gherkin and a walkie-talkie.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Southwark Cathedral with the Shard poking up behing it<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>The Shard looms over Borough Market. (Om nom nom cheese shops.)<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>More of Southwark Cathedral<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>At the Anchor pub: Hari's pint seems to be empty; oh dear. (And so was mine - time to move on to the next one!)<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Um.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Millenium.<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Henry VIII stands guard over St. Bart's Hospital<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Metropolitan Drinking Fountain &amp; Cattle Trough Association<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>London<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>The Jerusalem. 1720. Some decidedly <EM>non-commercial</EM> beers here<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>#GiantProblems<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> </UL> Met up with Guy for dinner (more curry: when in London...!) then came back.<BR /><BR /> First thing tomorrow AM I hit the road. <BR /><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/meal.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s meal: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">curry, curry and more curry</SPAN>. Saathi's in Enfield was good, but nothing particularly special. All three of us really enjoyed the Cinnamon Lounge in Stoke-Newington!</SMALL></EM><BR /> Sep. 28, 2013: Enfield, Middlesex, England Sun, 29 Sep 2013 11:42:28 -0600 20130928 Finally finished all the work I needed to get done - only a day after my departure?<BR /><BR />Flew to London via a stopover in Edmonton for a few hours. The airport there has a neat program where they have a couple of stages set up around the terminal and essentially hire musicians to come in and perform. Which is a far better deal than you get at most other departure lounges, where the alternative to boredom often involves paying exortionate amounts for overpriced and cruddy airport food.<BR /><BR />On this stopover, I was entertained by a couple of very pleasant girls who sang some old jazz songs, a couple of numbers from <EM>Les Mis&eacute;rables</EM>... and then finished up their set with back-to-back renditions of <EM>Eye of the Tiger</EM> and <EM>Don't Stop Believin'</EM>.<BR /><BR />I couldn't help but wonder if they knew Kate...?<BR /><BR />Other than that, slept most of the way on the plane, little surprise there. (I needed it!)<BR /><BR />Arrived mid-afternoon, had no trouble at all with the bike; just walked straight through everything and was out of the terminal in maybe 20 minutes after touchdown. THEN. Well. I hadn't counted on the bloomin' London traffic when crossing the city to get to my friend's place, and it was verrrry slow going.<BR /><BR /> Most of the way there were bikes zipping around traffic, going every which way. I suppose I will have to get used to this idea soon enough. In the meantime my Calgary instincts remain very much in place and I sit there, in the middle of vehicles, patiently awaiting my turn to proceed.<BR /><BR /> <EM>*ahem*</EM><BR /><BR /> London double-decker buses have the worst-tasting exhaust <EM>ever</EM>.<BR /><BR /> Maybe 5 miles out of Heathrow I passed through the Hounslow town centre, where there's about 5 blocks worth of pedestrian mall, on which were set up all manner of street market stalls. Each one looking more appetizing than the previous, until I came across one selling Mauritanian Lamb Biryani. At that point, my willpower gave up entirely and I just had to stop. Very glad I did! Most excellent.<BR /><BR /> Night fell not long after that, and it was well past dark by the time I got to Oxford Road... even more so by my arrival in Enfield where I'm staying with a friend. So not many pictures. But I hope to take pictures over the next couple of days - will be in London until Tuesday.<BR /> <UL> <LI>Bye-bye!<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Street market stall in Hounslow<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Bengal Bertie's<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> <LI>Where it all began<BR /> <A HREF=""><IMG SRC="" BORDER="1" /></A></LI> </UL> We went out for some ales after my arrival, but I was pretty bagged by then so I forgot to write down which ones, and even really what I thought of them. Maybe tomorrow... <BR /><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/meal.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s meal: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">Lamb Biryani</SPAN>. From a street market stall in Hounslow. A++ would nom again.</SMALL></EM><BR /> <IMG SRC="/bikejournal/categories/road.png" ALIGN="bottom" HEIGHT="32" WIDTH="32" /> <EM><SMALL>Today&#x2019;s road: <SPAN CLASS="blag_underline">A315 - A402 - A502 - A105</SPAN>. 44.2km, 2h53. Breathing bus exhaust most of the time.</SMALL></EM><BR />