Day 28 - Weymouth (the end)
Most of my entire route in purple
There was an alcoholic at the hostel last night. I was sitting in the reception area, reading a book and the paramedics arrived, 10 minutes later they came down the stairs and reported that the lady was “fine and just had a bit too much to drink” 10 minutes after that the lady came down the stairs and started verbally abusing the man behind the counter when he wouldn’t hold her drink for her while she made an epic quest up the stairs to fetch something, I’m not sure she knew what. It took some time before she could open the door to go upstairs and 10 minutes after that she couldn’t open the door to come back in “can you open the door please” “you just need to push it” the receptionist said, obviously having given up on her, or thinking it would be better to leave her trapped in the stair well. When somebody else opened the door for her her attitude had completely changed and she was calling the receptionist “my lovely” and telling him how much she likes staying here. Curiously although she was acting completely irrationally, she didn’t sound drunk.
I was sharing the 12 bed dorm with a Lacrosse team and a few other people. It was hot, too hot for the thick duvet that was provided. My sleeping companions were well behaved and respectful, but I didn’t sleep great, and was awake at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep.
Breakfast was included in the £25 price and the buffer started at 7:30am, I got there at 7:15am and everything was ready. Boiled eggs, cereal, toast, fruit juice and coffee.
I wanted to replace my gear cable before leaving, when I inspected it I realised I would need to cut the cable to be able to remove it “no problem” I thought “I’ll use my amazing multi-tool from Day 3. It had a wire cutter on the pliers, but like every other tool on that device (with exception of the hammer) it was completely useless and only managed in folding the wire and jamming the pliers.
Frayed gear cable
I asked in the hostel “strange question, but have you got a wire cutter I could borrow?”, initially the guy behind reception was enthusiastic and suggested he could get a tool from the maintained cupboard, but when he consulted his boss my request was denied “I’ll find a DIY shop then” the onlt problem was it was 8:30am and no shops would be open, but there was a Poundland “have you got pliers?” “all the way to the back on the left” I went all the way to the back on the left and it took me some minutes to realise that the pliers had sold out. I would have to cycle on and try not to change gear to often and get to a bike shop later.
I climbed out of Bath on familiar roads, I must have cycled from Bath to Weymouth ten or more times. The next town would be Radstock, and as I descended the big hill that leads into it I saw a big group of cyclists in high-vis jackets and helmets, it occurred to me that it was cycling proficiency training, but they seemed to old for that. Opposite this random group of cyclists was an unrelated cycle shop.
Heat blasted grass
I didn’t want to go in and ask to borrow a tool without buying something, I needed new brake pads, I paid for them and “… can I borrow some wire cutters, just need to change my gear cable, won’t be 10 minutes” “sure”.
Equipped with the wire cutters cut the gear cable, and pulled off the rear part of it, but I couldn’t figure out how to remove the front part. The gear cable has a round piece of metal on one end which holds it into the fear lever, and I couldn’t figure out how to remove it.
I went back to the shop and asked the guy if he would mind “normally we don’t do maintenance on Saturday, too much footfall” he said, but he wheeled my bike into the workshop as he said this. He was shocked by the state of my chain, and by the fact that the derailleur hanger was bent, that the rear wheel was buckled and that the tires were bald “I can’t fix the rear gears” he said “don’t worry, they’ve been like that for 3 years, it only needs to get me through today”.
The bike really is in a bad state, but it was in a bad state before I rode 2,600 kilometers, it’s surprising how far things can go and which things are actually problematic. Four years ago I had an accident which damaged the frame, and provided me with an cheap, unsuitable, back wheel, the engineer that repaired it suggested that I get a new frame, that this one couldn’t be repaired, but I’ve done about 8,000 kilometers since then, and the only issue is that the cheap wheel is slightly buckled from the weight of the luggage.
I stopped next in Shepton Mallet, there is a Cafe there - the “Madhatters” , at which I’ve traditionally stopped for breakfast, but since I had reasonably large breakfast this morning, I ordered sandwiches, which took too long to prepare and were underwhelming. The next stop was Castle Cary where found a bakery and got two generously sized cakes - a Lemon Shortbread and a Rocky Road, they were also cheap (£1.20 each). I ate one 5 kilometers further down the route, and the other in Sherbourne while sitting down in front of the Abbey which was founded in 705AD and is next to one of the oldest public schools in England.
The weather today was near perfect, cloud cover all day and only the slightest traces of rain. The miles rolled by quickly, aided by my familiarity with the route.
The Ukranian flag has been a very common sight in both Ireland and England
I passed over Cerne Abbas, missing the chance to see the Cerne Abbas Giant and came to Dorchester, from where it was a short ride to my parents in Weymouth.
Looking onto Weymouth bay
This is the end.