I had been itching to get a bike for months. Finally, I had it in my hands and there was no excuse. A quick ride home from Canary Wharf and I had already planned a ride to Wales for the following morning. Google Maps said it was 250 miles away.
Tent, food, torch, a small selection of clothes and enough water to send a camel into the Sahara for a while. I set off the following morning.
Like my legs, my newly acquired, top of the low range, bargain speedometer, needed a few miles to warm up until it kicked into action.
For added excitement, Google Maps played an enjoyable game of hide and seek with the directions. Later on it would switch tact and suggest taking the next Right off the bridge into the canal or to turn down a non-existent road. This led to the obvious question, “Google are you drunk?”.
I rode through parks, along the canal and out of London, stealing secret views of hidden spaces, and made it to Reading.
I was disappointed that I hadn’t made it further on the first day, but after a BOGOFF deal at Pizza Hut, I put it to bed. I awoke the next morning to make it through countless miniature villages and on to Bath.
By this point I had spent far more than I anticipated, including a night at Travelodge, and to keep things interesting, Google enticed me up and down hills and literally around in circles. Riding on cycle paths along canals started to wear thin and by this point “path” was a loose term. They were scattered with medium to large rocks that made cycling at any speed impossible, reducing me to a strolling pace.
It wasn’t long into the day, when I noticed a silhouette on the horizon. In short, I realised that there was a direct route along the country road above me. I had thought that Google’s cycle feature was taking me along cycle friendly road’s, and when none existed I would be directed to cycle paths. In fact, it was only taking me on roads, when a cycle path didn’t exist. This was a frustrating. I should have planned better.
Bath was beautiful. I was lucky enough to stay with my cousin who lived up the steepest hill in the world, in the pitch black after both my lights and phone ran out of battery.
The final day was the most enjoyable. I looked for direct roads on my phone. I rode over the “Old Severn Bridge” (yes that’s its name) and into Wales. I rode through parks and woods, each more mesmerising than the next. It never surprises me how beautiful Wales is.
Finally, I make it just outside Swansea, when my phone politely informed that it was about to die. I sent an SOS via WhatsApp’s “share my location”, and at around 10:30pm, I get rescue for the last few miles into Swansea.
I spent an awesome week in Wales, riding along the sea front, into Mumbles and to the beach. I wasn’t tired or any hungrier than I usually was, but I did wonder if I was turning into the Thing.