Today is the last day of the trip and it’s a big ride. It’s about 100 mile back home and goes through the Cotswold Hills. The plan was to meet my dad at 14:30 halfway in Burford, as he wants to cycle the remaining 53 miles with me. I’d told friends and family that I’d be back home at 7pm so I had a bit of a lie in and went for a coffee in Andover.
The route I had planned was really nice. Staying off many of the main roads I pieced together a route through some really small country roads. I was in good spirits with the sun on my back and knowing I was on my way home.
When I got to Burford I stopped for dinner and met up with my dad. We rode the Cotswolds together and met up with my sister a few miles before the end.
It had been a long day but I had made home. I got a fantastic greeting from my friends and family who were waiting for me on my drive. Thank you to all those who came to see me arrive. It was a nice end to an absolutely amazing trip.
I worked out that I’ve completed around 6,300 miles in total, the enormity of this still hasn’t sunk in. To me, each day was just a ride, free time, seeing new landscapes and meeting new people you wouldn’t normally get to meet. Some parts were tougher than others but not one day was so hard that I felt like giving up. I’ve always had the support of my friends and family, this has always been on my mind when times have been hard, like climbing some very long, steep mountains in Slovenia, or several days of constant rain through Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
What I have enjoyed most about the trip is experiencing a continent from an entirely different perspective. On a bike all your senses take in the environment around you. Seeing some absolutely breath taking natural landscapes, exchanging glances with locals in remote villages, swapping stories with fellow travellers from every corner of the world, taking in the smells of the countryside, spotting wildlife I’ve not seen before, feeling the intense heat in the mountains on the Mediterranean coast and the cool breezes in Scandinavia. The list could go on and on.
I didn’t plan the trip meticulously but I was lucky that everything went smoothly. Although I must admit, everything i took with me (see my equipment list) was used at some point. I don’t feel I had taken anything with me that I didn’t need, or was missing anything when I needed it. In a way I wish more things had gone wrong, this might have challenged me more, plus everyone loves a story of peril and misadventure!
I would encourage anyone to do something similar. The experience is so liberating and each day so fulfilling.
If you have anything you’d like to ask me about the trip feel free to email me.