We spent the morning organising my final few days and working out when I could get home. I’m pleased to say that, barring any further issues, I will be cycling back into Wokingham on Friday 1st June! It’s an odd feeling as I’m so happy and proud of myself for actually being able to complete this challenge, but at the same time it’s been so fantastic that I don’t want it to end!
The roads were quiet today (maybe something to do with everyone’s bank holiday celebrations the night before) and for the first few miles we saw more cyclists than cars. A group of three riders passed us heading towards Battlesbridge and slowed down for a chat. I told them about my journey and we discussed riding in general – it was great to meet such nice people and for me the interaction and ability to spread awareness was enough. So when we finished for the day and I checked my Justgiving page I was shocked to see a generous donation from Martyn sitting there – thank you so much!
Nadjie, the local breeze champion who we rode with yesterday, had put us in contact with another lady who was excited to ride with us today. Sue is another breeze champion for the area and we met her in Battlesbridge – she has been following my journey and keeping up with the blog posts since day 1 so she was very exited to meet me, as I was her! It was getting warmer by the minute so we quickly got going along the picturesque country lanes.
Sue was a terrific rider and very confident riding alongside me so we just chatted and chatted all morning. Sue had planned to ride a couple of hours with us before heading back and by 10:30am we had made it all the way to Southend on Sea – further than Sue had expected to get. I think warm weather and good company makes me faster! We stopped for breakfast at one of Southend’s many, many cafes and to our delight we lucked out and chose a great venue right on the sea front with views of the pier – the longest in the world at 2160 meters!
We cycled another 500m down the promenade together for a photo op in front of the beach before saying our goodbyes to Sue. Thank you for joining me this morning it was so lovely to have your company.
We continued east along the segregated cycle path, occasionally having to put on the breaks as oblivious pedestrians stepped out into the path without looking! Coming towards us was a man on a hand cycle who turned out to be Jonathan Walters – a bit of a celebrity in the disability sport world – so it was a pleasure to meet him. We chatted for a while about touring and riding before continuing on and up the hill out of Southend.
Our next stop would be Canvey Island on the Thames estuary. This was a very built up place and definitely geared towards tourism – and it was especially busy as it was a sunny Bank Holiday Monday. We rode along the front and on a short section of the gravel path on the sea wall before stopping to get sugar doughnuts and a drink. It was quite a juxtaposition to the majority of my trip and I think there was probably more people in this one place than I saw in the whole of my time in Scotland!
I was intending to ride to Tilbury and get the ferry over to Kent at the end of today, however the ferry doesn’t run on bank holidays! Therefore I would be camping in Orsett which is five miles away from Tilbury and crossing early tomorrow morning. Danny cycled with me to the campsite before riding another 20 miles back to Chelmsford to pick up his car (much easier and quicker than trying to get the train). He drove back to me and we had dinner at a local pub before saying goodbye. It wasn’t difficult this time as I knew I’d be seeing him again at the end of the week!
I’ve posted my schedule to the Facebook page so please take a look at that if you are interested as to where I will be for this final week. For those of you who don’t use Facebook, here it is:
MY FINAL WEEK SCHEDULE
Tuesday 29th May- Orsett, across the Thames (Tilbury Ferry) to Herne Bay/ Birchington
Wednesday 30th May – Herne Bay/ Birchington to Rye
Thursday 31st May – Rye to Brighton (approx finish time 5pm)
Friday 1st June – Brighton to The Two Poplars Pub Wokingham, finish time approx 5pm, I will have dinner there and stay around for a few hours please come down after work and have some drinks.
If you would like to join me on the final leg into Wokingham, you can find me at the Manor Farm Tea room, Wood Lane, Seale, GU10 1HR at 2:30pm. We can have a cup of tea, and cycle the last 20 miles! I’ve got route files for some Wokingham loops of varying distances so please ask.