The nerves are setting in.
All of a sudden this is getting very real, I have spent the last few days having appointments with consultants, doctors and nurses to check that my back will be okay on my journey and to book my vaccinations and discuss things like malaria tablets etc. I have been to my bank to ensure they don’t switch off my cards as I travel across different borders, they even ordered me a new card as the one I had was worn. I visited a local charity shop to buy a dummy wallet so if I get mugged and have my wits about me I can give them a load of expired cards and fake I.D.
I have packed all my belongings and loaded my bike four times to get it balanced just right and cycled a dozen miles to see if all is well, and it was. I bought a new ultra light sleeping bag on impulse as it allowed me to get a plastic plate in my pannier to eat off. I very nearly bought Ortlieb Classic Roller panniers but I’ll wait until my Aldi ones drop to bits and replace them on the road.
I have changed my tyres for ones which aren’t cracked and are wider, not much but I can feel the difference, also as getting the wheels off was hell, as the racks get in the way, plus the alloy wheels I was given have collapsed bearings. I nearly bought another bike but again if this one fails me I’ll get another one on the road or buy a £99 bike from Argos and use the parts to repair mine.
I really need to avoid buying stuff as the budget won’t really allow it and any purchases only means the journey is harder. I have built a very inexpensive USB charger using an AA Battery holder and a LM307 circuit board bought off eBay, which means I can charge my USB devices using 4 x AA batteries in an emergency and it actually works.
I have planned stage one from London to Brindisi in Italy and have requested to pitch my tent near welling in London on the cycling hosting website warm showers. I will also meet up with Robbie Ferri who is cycling from London to Brussels in 24 hours for charity, so we’ll have a cold beer in Brussels to celebrate his achievement.
This next week will be tying up loose ends, saying my farewells to friends and family as well as arrange my food for the first 3 days and a dummy run to the train station at 07:00 am with my bike fully loaded.
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