Just keep going!

I left the lovely Sandysike house this morning after a huge English breakfast which was greatly needed.

After a few miles I stopped for coffee (yes already!) as I wasn’t too sure which road to choose. It’s amazing the effect you have when you get to a village with a fully loaded bike. People are already super friendly in the UK but when you’re a woman travelling alone and on a bike it get to another level! Kids ask me questions and people are curious about why and where. I had forgotten how social solo travelling actually is. Anyway I talked to a rather old men on his way to Glasgow by foot and two other cyclists who had come up from Cornwall.

Not long after was the border to Scotland.

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The first miles were rather flat and the road not too busy. I put some music on and felt great. It quickly became steadily uphill but not as bad as yesterday. I didn’t push my bike once today!

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There wasn’t much around apart from green hills, sheep, horses and beautiful stone houses.

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Crossing the river near Langholm

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Slow travel is the best

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And after 50 miles (80km), I reached Hawick where I’m staying  tonight before reaching Edinburgh tomorrow (hopefully). I feel great even though my butt hurts, I should maybe get another saddle at some point…

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Hawick

I’ve learnt 2 things again today:

1/ that it’s good to start early so I take more time to have breaks and take photos

2/ that it’s wise to close my mouth while cycling so no insect get it (I wonder where the one getting in my nose end up?)

And last but not least, today’s soundtrack: “A moon shaped pool” by Radiohead, The National, Calexico, Nicolas Just and various Nova Tunes compilation.

May tomorrow be as awesome as today 🙂

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From hiking to cycling

I know nothing about bikes. Well, I know how to ride one of course. Although to be completely honest I’m not sure I’m very good at using all those gears properly yet. So when I left Penrith station today with my new old bike fully loaded, I felt a mix of excitement and “what on earth are you doing now” kind of feeling.

I’m use to riding a bike around or to work. But one day, while I was at work day dreaming about the coming 4 months trip to Europe, it came as a evidence. I needed more and I would ride a bike around bits and pieces of Europe while visiting my friends and family.

So I started reading about bikes. A lot. And I talked to my friends who’d done touring before (thank you so much for your  patience and tips). And I read books and blogs. A lot.

I won’t bore you with more details about which bike to choose and why but I ended up going for a second hand Long haul trucker Surly bike that I pimped a bit.

So there I am at Penrith station this afternoon, heading towards the hills. It is nice and hot in northern England at the moment which makes the English countryside even more gorgeous.

25 miles later I made it to my first destination, Brampton (Cumbria). I have no idea where I’ll end up tomorrow but today I’ve learned 2 things:

1/ Do not underestimate British hills

2/ Do not underestimate yourself

Edinburgh here I come!

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Waiting for the train at Manchester station

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Trying not to rely on GPS and phone too much

 

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Freedom!!

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Lovely Sandysike farm

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Riding through Cumbria