All donees – your messages of encouragement were an inspiration and your donations were so generous. How could I possibly fail to finish the ride when I knew you were all behind me and thinking of Karen. I would like to ask the anonymous donees to please consider letting me know who you are so I can thank you personally.
The weather looks good again and I’m ready for the final 31 miles. Once I’m dropped off at Tredegar park I will take rt4 to Machen and then on to Caerphilly, Nantgarw, and Pontypridd.
It’s then off rt4 and up the Rhondda valley through Porth until I get to Ferndale where Karen and I were married, and then on to Maerdy where Karen was born and where I first visited her home 37 years ago.
I’m feeling rather emotional as I write this but im looking forward to completing the ride for Karen.
178 miles down, 31 to go.
Things were going well so I decided to put in some extra miles and have got 14 in the bank. That leaves 31 on Day 4, most of it uphill.
Bath to Bristol was ok as expected and the weather was good. The big difference was getting through Bristol to the Severn Bridge 50 minutes faster than on the trial run last weekend. It’s amazing how much easier it is when you know where you are going and don’t get any punctures. I hope it stays that way.
Crossing the severn bridge was as amazing as last week and you really get to feel the bridge swaying in the wind. It was then into the unknown heading from Chepstow to Caldicot but it turned out ok with no wrong turns. Caldicot to Undy was a bit trickier as the road turned into a farm track for a few miles and it was like the kango hammer experience all over again. It also didn’t help cycling into a strong headwind. The wind turbines along the road were going faster than my pedals. However, I really wanted to try and get ahead of the game because of the hills on Day 4 so I kept on going to Tredegar Park in Newport.
The route included a crossing on the Newport transporter bridge which had to be seen to be believed. It is one of only 2 of its type left in the world. The last part of the ride also included a very hairy mile or so on the dual carriageway a48 with cars and lorries swerving around me at speed.
Unfortunately, tomorrow will not be a happy anniversary, but it will be a memorable one.
119 miles down, 90 to go.
After getting a head start from Kintbury as a result of day 1’s efforts I managed to make it to Woodborough at 11am for a second breks of poached eggs on toast and a scone. Very nice too.
Then I decided the next stop would be Trowbridge for a drink and a snack but halfway there my advance party reported the pub was closed and up for sale so we rearranged for Bradford on Avon.
I must have been getting distracted by the new arrangements because I promptly got lost in Devizes. A very nice lady went out of her way though to help me back to the canal. I still can’t comprehend how I messed that up.
It was then a very very rutted and bumpy towpath ride to Bradford on Avon for about 9 miles and at the end of it I felt like I had been holding a kango hammer for over an hour.
Then headed on to Bath where I will soon be looking for another carb load blowout dinner. Tomorrow is changeover day for the support team with Nat taking over from Tony O’B. Still no punctures. Long may it continue.
After a seafood linguine in Newbury it’s off to bed at 9:30. Alarm set for 7am with porridge on the menu for breakfast and then a 25 minute drive to Kintbury to pick up where I left off.
Will go through Hungerford, Little and Great Berwyn and Burbage before stopping for an early lunch in Woodborough at about 11.
Then off to Devizes and the amazing Caen hill locks and all along the canal until Trowbridge where the plan is to stop for a small snack at about 1:30. Then it’s on to Bradford on Avon, Bathampton and Bath, going over the incredible Dundas aqueduct on the way.
I aim to get to Bath between 3-4pm provided no punctures, bad weather or serious wasp type incidents. I will then be saying a farewell to my support team of the first 2 days of the trip.
Thank you Tony O’B, I couldn’t have done it without you.
Well it’s 8am and time to start the first leg to Newbury. I must admit to feeling a bit nervous but I have put new tyres and inner tubes on the bike, so what can possibly go wrong? It’s also the hottest September for years, so cycling next to the canals could turn out to be a real bonus.
I will be heading north west and passing the Chelsea FC training complex at Stoke D’Abernon at about 8:30 so hope to get a few pennies thrown into the donation bucket by some hard up footballers as I pass by. It’s then on to Cobham, Byfleet and the Basingstoke canal and Saturn Trail until Frimley Green for a tea break at about 10:30.
I then head off to Blackwater, Yateley, Eversley, and Mortimer for lunch at about 1:30pm before continuing to Padworth, Aldermaston Wharf, Thatcham, and Newbury. I’ve cycled most the route in various stages over the past 2-3 months so am hopeful of not getting too lost.
I have been overwhelmed with all your messages of support and generous donations, you have been absolutely brilliant.