Tuesday 29th May
I packed up the tent and travelled the 5 miles to the Tilbury Ferry. It started raining just as i got inside the Ferry, what a great little crossing, it meant that I could avoid cycling all the way into London and back out again.
It was absolutely pouring down, the weather forecast showed that this was going to stay for an hour so I took shelter in a cafe. When it stopped I followed national cycle route 1 towards Cliffe, it was awful and absolutely covered in litter, I think that is what has cut all the way through my new tyre! At one point I got to a gate I couldn’t get through, luckily I was next to an unmanned level crossing out onto the road, there were some national rail workers who opened up the gates and help me across.
My next stop was to visit my uncle at Gillingham football stadium. I met everyone and had some photos taken! I felt like a celebrity! (Photos to come later).
This is when the day took a turn for the worse, the thunderstorms started and the rain was absolutely pelting down! This wasn’t forecast! Cycling was not possible so I had some lunch and then a nap on the sofa in his office. The rain stopped at about half 3 so I went back out on to the road. There was no way I was going to reach my end point for the day so I had some help finding a hotel another 20 miles along the road.
I headed out of Gillingham, immediately my white top was splattered in mud, it got everywhere! The roads were very wet but I was making good progress until I hit the country lanes, there was no other diversion as the only other route is the A2. I sat stuck behind traffic on nearly every turn, when there was a path I went up on to it. When the traffic stopped the flooding started.
This is a bike path come river!
I kept having to divert my route and it was taking me such a long time, would I ever get this 20 miles done. I then came across a piece of road where the water was very deep, cars that had tried to get through had been waiting 5 plus hours for rescue vehicles with flooded engines and damaged cars! Luckily the locals told me that there was a footpath cut-through round the back of the houses, fantastic!
Not much further along the road it was flooded again. I sat and watched the cars go through it and it looked about manageable but hard to judge. A kind driver said he would watch me go though and rescue me if I got stuck! So I gave it a try and got through with just some wet ankles!
A while later and covered in mud I managed to reach the hotel. I’m pretty disappointed that I’ve only managed 40 miles today, it’s been one of my hardest days on the road. I’ve now got some catching up to do!