Day 43 : Am I There (epilogue)

I went to bed around 1am on the ferry, and wasn’t looking forward to getting up at 5.45am to have breakfast and get ready, but then in a Phileas Fogg moment I realised I had the extra hour from going from France to the UK.

Carry on abroad
Carry on abroad

Today’s navigation was a bit of an issue. I had found a route online that someone had posted of a nice way to get from Portsmouth to London by bike, but I had no way of getting it onto my Garmin satnav, so it remained on my phone. However once I’d got into the countryside, I couldn’t use my phone as I had no reception, so I stumbled my way towards London just generally heading East and North.

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Ahh – the English coutryside

The UK countryside between Portsmouth and London is very picturesque, and I saw many nice villages on the way.

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“A lifetime of laughter is wished for you” – a bit weird.. laughing all the time like a mad man..

I took a few breaks to have sandwiches, but millions of breaks trying to figure out which direction I should be heading.

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Dapper horsey

And lots of hills in West Sussex and Surrey too. Nothing major, and a few other cyclists out enjoying the morning.

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The Brooks leather saddle is actually rather comfortable for long distance touring

My geography knowledge of Surrey and South London is completely lacking, and by pure chance I found myself going past the foot of Box Hill which is much used by cyclists. I’d never been here before so thought I’d have a go at going up it. It’s not actually steep at any point along it’s route, it’s just persistent, so I found it easily manageable after all the hills I’ve been doing for the past 6 weeks. I might try it again soon without all the touring gear. The toilets at the top were out of action with a note saying ‘sorry for the inconvenience’ – not sure if this was an intended pun.

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Cycling up the short road from the Rheinfall in Switzerland.. now that was a hill

It was nice to pass over the M25 – now officially back in London.

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Traffic looking good on the M25!

After bumbling my way across South London, I eventually found myself on Cycle Superhighway 7 – this is a painted blue lane which meant I didn’t have to worry about navigation any more as it would guide me into central London. I’m not sure what the ‘super’ refers to – I think it is the number of obstacles in the bike lane such as parked cars, people and broken glass.

Once I got close to the river I made my way across it, glad to be in an area I was more familiar with.

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Tate Britain

I headed East along Millbank to Westminster.

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Big Ben just about to chime 7

Then North up through Camden towards Enfield.

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Nelson’s column

Traffic was awful across the whole of London as it was Saturday evening. It was only when I reacheded Palmers Green that the traffic petered out and I could cycle without interruption.

The final 10m
Made it!

I had a nice welcome home, with champagne celebration and dinner with tasty veg from the allotment. Cycling adventure over! What next?..

Portsmouth to London, 160 km. Total distance cycled = 4,152 km.

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