Day 12: The End

Last modified 2023/08/25 11:11

map Highly Accurate Map

There was a flash in the sky, followed 30 seconds later by a deep rupturing grumble from the sky and a gust of wind, but the storm didn’t start until later and the continuous cracking and booming was at least partially the reason I didn’t sleep very well. In the morning I had to decide if I was hungry or not, and I decided that I was and at 07:30 I walked out in my socks into the small dinning area of the F1 hotel and helped myself to a pretty good continental breakfast (especially for the €5 price).

The ferry sailed at 10:30 and I wanted to be there at 9:00 at the latest, it was only a short 30m cycle to the ferry, I was prepared for the worst, as it was pouring in rain all night, but when I left the rain was light and it had stopped completely by the time I got to the ferry terminal. I was welcomed by the border guard who gave me some words of encouragement (“courageous” I think he said) and was soon waiting with the motorcyclists and one other cycle tourist in lane 1 reading my book and not getting a coffee from the shop that was closed, 20 minutes later we were on board.

abord Helipad

I had reserved a cabin for the crossing for €39 as there were “no seats” available (which would be puzzling if you were to walk around at the huge number of vacant seats on the ferry), but having a cabin was a good luxury. I could leave all my gear, sleep for some hours and was able to charge my gear, I also did a 20 minute work out (push-ups, sit-ups, squats and planks) and had a shower afterwards.

I did some “work” on my strava TUI and read more from my book. I was able to get 2 hours of WiFi by first using the free hour on my laptop, then using another free hour by using my phone and sharing the connection with my laptop.

beer Beer

Some 8 hours later I was kicked out of my cabin and I went down to attend to my bicycle, several other bikes were stacked on top of it and I decided to wait for the other cyclists, and I sat down on the floor listening to the oddly satisfying almost deafening deep rumblings, whirrings and screechings of the ferry’s … well whatever those noises are (hydraulics? docking mechanism?).

I had a small chat with the other, older, cyclist who was curious about my front panniers and was the second person to ask me about the weight distribution on this trip “capacity, I got them because of the capacity, but I suppose it helps with the weight distribution yeah, but I’m thinking of getting a more lightweight bike like yours, this one is a tank”.

floor Sitting on the Floor

We were both going to Portsmouth Harbour train station, he to Waterloo and me to Weymouth via. Southampton. He suggested we go together, but we got separated and I cycled to the station alone. I got a ticket for £36. The train was already at the station (which is a terminal station) but it was locked. I got a shitty Subway wrap for dinner and waited.

train Bike on Train

The rest of the journey was uneventful, 1 hour to Southampton, a 10 minute wait for the Weymouth train, then another 1.5 hours and I was home at 10:20, I checked my fridge and was shocked that there was no beer in it, so I made a final cycle ride to the local Co-Op and sat on my sofa and watched 2 episodes of the “Patriot” on Amazon Prime Video.

And that’s the end of this years cycle tour. It was shorter than any previous tour.

  • No Training: This tour was another reminder that training - even a 100k some weeks previous - is a good idea. I jumped straight into a very tough ride to Plymouth on a very heavy bike with a huge number of steep hills and fucked up my knee for the next week. It probably would have been fine if I was able to work up to it though.
  • No Internet or Phone: it was quite good to be disconnected and only being able to use WiFi when the opportunity presented itself, although it was sometimes tricky to publish the blog.
  • Bike is Old: Like the guy said, my bike is old. At least it needs some pretty heavy maintenance. I’d consider trying something different next time.
  • French: It was good to practice my French, and I haven’t spoken so much of it for many many years. It was rusty but it came back to me, like riding a bike.
  • Strava: This is the first time I made GPX recordings. I recorded them on OSMAnd+ (which is the mapping software I’ve been using for over 10 years) with a recording interval of 1 minute. It didn’t seem to drain the battery problematically. As I had the recordings I was able to upload them to Strava.
  • More Batteries: This year I took 2 power banks with me, and never had to resort to charging my phone via. whatever power may have been left in my laptop. In all the two power banks could have easily lasted for 4-5 days (or longer if I was being more efficient).
  • No Twitter: For several years I have been publishing my bike tours under @biketourdan on Twitter but due to the fact they shut down the public API and a series of other things I no longer use that service. I have instead published on Strava and my personal Mastodon account. Maybe next time I can find a dedicated bike touring Mastodon instance.

There are probably more lessons to be learnt but that’s it for now. Until next year I guess.