Cycle trip to Glasgow
I just finished a half-marathon in 2:00:57. I accomplished a challenge from which I wouldn’t expect I would. After a big refill of energy, a shower and my first cup of tea I sat down. “So what’s next?” I asked myself. The first thing that came up in my mind was the summer holidays. “Why am I not going to do a cycle trip?” was my seconds question to myself. This is something I had in my mind for a longer time already. “Yeah, why not. Let’s check how far Glasgow is from Deventer”. It seemed to be a proper distance of 1800 km from Deventer to Glasgow and back, while passing the sea by boat.
About 4 months later I stepped on my new bicycle and headed for Glasgow.
I was able to warm up quite nicely by first cycling about 75 km to De Bilt and stay on a campsite, followed by a day of 95 km cycling to Hook of Holland from where I would take the ferry to Harwhich. I arrived in the morning, but I did not know what time it was, nor I knew where to go.
One of things I did not bring with me, was my telephone. No, this was not an accident, I did it on purpose. 2 weeks without a phone, was part of my goal as well. A telephone is useful for almost everything, and exactly that useful and handy is why I wanted to try to do it without. That means that I had no idea what time it was and that I couldn’t use any maps. So the first thing I did was to buy a map at a gasstation. Here I met a Danish cyclist who gave me some very useful tips about the roads in the U.K. and so I started my trip.
After cycling for a few miles I met a Dutch cycle couple who were heading to Wales and would pass the same city as I would. It was a nice start and they were very experienced, so they gave me some more useful tips. That day I cycled all the way to the beautiful city of Cambridge and cycled 110 km. It was one of the toughest days and it seemed endless, but perhaps that was because of the hills to which I was not used to. I couldn’t find a camping nor hostel, so I tried to camp on a random grass field near one of the many farmlands. I was not sure if it would be legal and accepted by locals. I think that nobody even noticed, so everything was fine.
It was getting dark. I did not know what time it was, or how much distance I actually covered, or for how long I have cycled. I just felt tired so I went to sleep just by feeling. The next morning I woke up without knowing how late it would be, or how long I slept. I was not used to this and somehow I wanted to know, but then I realized that it doesn’t really matter. I am on holiday and enjoying every moment I have. The time just seems to make things go faster by planning all kind of things during the day.
Days passed while I did nothing more than sleeping, eating and cycling. I camped in the wild near Leicester, Manchester, Kendal and Lockerbie. Sometimes my motivation was struggling me, but I knew I would regret my decision if I don’t finish this trip. I cycled on dangerous roads which looked like highways, I cycled through the fabulous Lake District and even had strange feelings while sleeping on the hills of Lockerbie.
Then the moment was there, after cycling for 6 full days I arrived in Glasgow. I wanted to stay in Glasgow, but all the hostels were fully booked and I had to find a campsite near the city. This task seemed to be more difficult than I thought and. It was raining all day already and the day was less beautiful than I was hoping. I found a random grass field far away from the city, so I decided to not return to Glasgow but continue to Edinburgh. This is also a disadvantage of not having a phone. I was not able to book a hostel in advance or find another place to sleep without having internet. I had to deal with it.
Arrived in Edinburgh I ended up in a sunny, busy and nice looking city. There was a big festival going on which was present in the whole city. I enjoyed the moment very much and celebrated it in one of the many pubs. Now I felt like I accomplished the main task. However, I still had to go back to Harwich and the Netherlands and so I continued straight away.
I did not have a specific route anymore and I tried to avoid the big cities since it is really difficult to get in and to get out of them. I found some more places to camp in the wild and enjoyed it, however, a shower would have been nice sometimes. During the last two days in England I got a flat tire twice. I covered great distances and I definitely went beyond my limits. The longest distance I cycled was about 180 km, I found out later. With an average of 125 km a day for 14 days I surprised myself by far. I arrived in Harwich 5 days sooner than I planned before.
On the ferry back to Hook of Holland I met some more cyclists who all have their own nice and unique stories.
I just did it. I accomplished another goal. This cycle trip might be the kick-off of some greater cycle trips in the future.