Monday, 29 May 2017

The Final 24

The last two-and-a-bit-weeks have both flown by, and dragged.
When I landed at Gatwick earlier in May, I had a to-do list as long as my arm, and it was all I could think about.

The logistics of finding accommodation, consolidating my possessions in London, getting my trusty Surly serviced, seeing friends, and still finding time to relax was really stressing me out.

Before I left London for the Cape Town summer, I had split my possessions between a secret location near Gatwick, and an equally secret location near London's busiest rail station. As a result, my cycling and camping gear was spread over quite a large area.

Each day leading up to Departure Day had a number of chores/activities attached to it, that, if completed, would allow for the following day's activities to be done. Sometimes I couldn't see the end, and could see no way of finishing, but somehow the list reduced and the days passed.

All this to do on top of moving house every 3-5 days.

Once my gear was sorted it was time to focus on Shirley, the Surly LHT I am flying over to Vancouver.
The team at Brixton Cycles have always been good to me, and this time round were nothing less than exceptional.
A full service and rear wheel rebuild later, she was ready to go. Or so I thought.

On my penultimate house move, from Raynes Park to Clapham Junction, the rail on my saddle sheared off, leaving me with one rail and a loaded bike to move. An awkward ride later, my bike was unloaded and I was off, back to Brixton, hoping they would have an equal replacement for me. They didn't but found me a Brooks demo saddle, a Vegan one, to use for a few days.
I have never ridden a Brooks but have heard many things about how comfy they are, and also how they need to be broken in. This option, the C17, is rubber and cotton, and is said to be already broken in.
I have since bought one, so we'll see!

Throw in the fact that I also ordered new tires for the ride, a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus. In the wrong size! They had to be returned and a replacement pair ordered, express delivery.

Yesterday was another packing day, the final one. Shirley is in bits. Physically, not emotionally, and wrapped and boxed. I really hope she arrives unscathed, but I have a few spare days scheduled in Vancouver prior to setting off, just in case. The panniers will be packed and wrapped in the morning.

Today, the sun has risen, on a warm, but cloudy, bank holiday in London. My final 24 hours in London have arrived.

Looking back, I could never see this day arriving. I haven't allowed myself to get (too) excited, even when others are very envious/excited around me.
My mindset has changed, everything has suddenly become very clear. Events happened at exactly the right time, for the right reasons. Equipment failures pre ride, instead of during. Unexpected offers of accommodation. Random acts of kindness. Friends being just that.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have stood by me in the planning and preparation phases of this adventure, those that offered me accommodation, fed me, accepted deliveries for me, and are now storing (most of) my worldly possessions. To those having me to stay in various parts of Canada, I'll see you soon.

Tomorrow I fly to Vancouver and get the adventure underway.

It's the final 24 hours. 

Starting now.

Monday, 8 May 2017

The months Past and Future

Looking back over a summer spent in Cape Town, it is hard to believe that the time here is up. It feels like only yesterday that I arrived.

Since then there have been beach days galore; breakfast on the beach, drinks on the beach, sandcastles built on the beach, cricket on the beach...(you get the point).

When not at the beach I was out cycling, firstly prepping for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which was blown out by strong winds, and secondly for my upcoming cycling trip to Canada.
Down time was spent poring over maps, making contact with Canadian friends, planning routes and alternative routes, and generally trying to learn as much about Canada as possible.

Lazy days in Kalk Bay, having late breakfasts, and lunches, whizzed by. Sunset drinks in Noordhoek, and feeds at the Food Market. Cuddles with my new niece, Skye, braais with family and friends, early morning running and cycling; each day was filled with activities.

Then the British contingent arrived. Thanks to all those that made the trip over to SA for various reasons, I am glad we managed to catch up and celebrate those things that needed celebrating.

Relaxing time away in the Cedarberg and Warmwaterberg hot springs was greatly appreciated, as my brain was saturated with all things Canadian.

Those were Months Past.
Now for Months Future.

A quick stopover in London to say helloooo to friends, watch a rugby tournament dressed as a Greek god, and to swap wheels. A carbon road bike for a full steel touring bike.
And to make sure my camping gear is in working order.
That's kinda important.

I have a long list of things to complete before my flight to Vancouver at the end of the month, and a fairly rammed social calendar to make things even more exciting.


The trip to South Africa has been amazing, and the trip to Canada, I can only imagine, should be as mind-blowing.
SO much lies in store in the next few months, I am quite excited to say the least.