Here for Required Stage |1 |2 |3
|4 |5 |6 |7
|9 |10 |11 |12 |13 |14
Northern France, England, Wales, Ireland & Scotland
7th June to 11th July 2000
proposed period off the tour would cover the 12 day period from Paris to
London which meant that I had to officially sign off.
It was early evening the same day that I was reunited with one
third of my family when I flew into Southampton.
a complete rest from the bike for that period was not to be as there
were 3 of my American Odyssey companions who were anxious to complete a
UK Audax Randonneur ride. So
against my better judgement I was persuaded to join them, it was after
all only a 200 Kms ride with a start and finish in Salisbury and not too
far from one of my family. That was on the 18th June and 2
days later we re-joined the Odyssey party in London.
UK route then took us to Winchester with the mid-day checkpoint at the
CTC HQ at Godalming in Surrey. I
am reminded here of am amusing incident whilst I was riding through the
leafy suburbs of Surrey with a group of around 24 companions.
was (as usual) bringing up
the rear of the group as we approached a junction with a pedestrian
crossing, and no pedestrian in sight. However before half the group had
passed over the crossing a very smart Senior Gent appeared at the
crossing and waited impatiently looking from one cyclist to another in
awe as we sped by, as if we were aliens from outer space.
Shaking his head as I passed by the Senior Gent looked at me and
said “ and you are b***** old enough to know better.”
next stage took us from Winchester to Bath where we were due for another
rest day and this took me into my own territory where all my companions
were looking to me for advice on points of interest etc.
It had also been planned from the start of Odyssey that there
would be for those interested the option of an organised ride and a pub
lunch on the layover day in Bath.
to the efforts from Dave Amesbury and the Bristol CTC DA the ride was a
great success with over 80 turning out which on a layover day would be
unheard of. Am not quite
sure if it was the unofficial ride or the Pub lunch at Bradford-on-Avon
was the main attraction.
ODYSSEY IN BATH WITH BRISTOL CTC
arrival of Odyssey 2000 in England and Wales coincided with the
Millennium Festival of Cycling jointly
organised by the CTC and Sustrans to celebrate the opening of 5000 miles
of the National Cycle Network.
Having looked in advance at the proposed Odyssey route through
England and Wales I decided to go off route and use as much of the
network as possible over the next few days.
plan was circulated to my
Odyssey companions and much to my surprise something like 80 of
them decided to join me. The route
from Bath to Cardiff was for me and my group along the Bath to
Bristol cycleway and over the old Severn Bridge into Wales.
I first registered for Odyssey back in 1996 I had no idea that there
would be an overnight stop in Cardiff and just 15 miles from my home in
the Vale of Glamorgan. The itinerary from Cardiff was north to Holyhead
en route to Ireland.
my plan was to continue to use the National Cycle Network along the Lon
Las Cymru known in south Wales as the Taff Trail. This was fully
supported again by at least 80 of my companions and luckily for all of
us, but me in particular the weather all the way from Bath to North
Wales was excellent there were overnight stops at Builth Wells and
Barmouth. This must have
been the only period in the whole year that I did not need to refer to
the official route sheet.
was during the last few days in Wales that I began to think to myself, I
can do Ireland and Scotland any time (like when I get older).
So when Odyssey left Barmouth for Holyhead and Ireland yours
truly signed off and took the train back to Bristol to complete my three
R(s) reading, writing and relaxation.
on 8th July I took the train with bike and baggage to the
granite City of Aberdeen
where I would rendezvous with Odyssey on 11th July prior to
the start of the next stage commencing in Scandanavia.
many folk who venture into a World Cycle Tour have the chance to visit
family and friends half way around, but this was my good fortune in
also gave me the opportunity as we approached the point of no return, in
other words we passed into the second half of our bike ride around the
world to reflect upon the previous 6 months, and anticipate what may be
in store for the rest of the year.
personal thoughts at this stage of Odyssey were that it was indeed the
experience of a lifetime, albeit a very demanding one. There have been a
few dark moments when I have thought to myself “what the heck am I
doing here ? or there must be easier ways to see the World ??
said that it would be impossible to cover this itinerary within one year
if you were to undertake a solo or self organised trip. When you have a
pre-planned itinerary, two meals a day, plus a bed or camp site
organised for you it makes the daily ritual of getting on yer bike and
riding for 6 to 9 hours more manageable and acceptable.
has also made me appreciate the many things we take for granted at home,
and how much we have on our own doorstep within the UK and Europe. There
is so much natural beauty in Europe combined with the culture and
history, compared to the New World.
fact that we are burning up many calories every day, has also been an
opportunity to indulge in gastronomic delicacies in many of the
countries on our itinerary without putting weight on.
all brings me to :-