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.
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.
The UK countryside between Portsmouth and London is very picturesque, and I saw many nice villages on the way.
I took a few breaks to have sandwiches, but millions of breaks trying to figure out which direction I should be heading.
And lots of hills in West Sussex and Surrey too. Nothing major, and a few other cyclists out enjoying the morning.
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.
It was nice to pass over the M25 – now officially back in London.
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.
I headed East along Millbank to Westminster.
Then North up through Camden towards Enfield.
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.
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.