I visited the World Curry Festival on Saturday, it was so disappointing.
Some thoughts over on The Culture Vulture.
I visited the World Curry Festival on Saturday, it was so disappointing.
I visited the World Curry Festival on Saturday, it was so disappointing.
Some thoughts over on The Culture Vulture.
After the ride this year I really want to do something similar next year, after a good deal of the last 3 weeks spent watching the tour de france I have decided to do a ride from the Atlantic coast (roughly near Biarritz) to somewhere just south of Perpignon on the Med. In doing so I plan to take in quite a few of the larger mountains in the Pyrenees.
The route profile will look something like this http://www.pyractif.com/cycling-packages/road-c2c-classic.html
Ever since I supported the Jane Tomlinson Appeal End to End ride in 2008 I’ve thought that it is probably the best way to challenge yourself while seeing some of the best, and most out-of-the-way bits of our country. Unfortunately attempting the ride in 9 and a bit days meant that everything got a bit much. I do want to stress that overall I had an amazing time and am so glad I did it, however there were frequent moments of frustration, tiredness, pain, stress, sunburn and getting very very bored with cycling.
Starting the end to end at John O Groats is a bit more difficult (in my opinion) than starting it at Land’s End. For starters John O’Groats isn’t near anything, at all. The nearest train stations are Thurso and Wick (both 20 miles away). As we were doing the ride unsupported we needed to get up to the start with all our stuff but nothing more, so we hired a car in Leeds, drove to Inverness and dropped the car off. We then wheeled the bikes over to Inverness train station and had a 5 hour train journey up to Thurso.
Having set off from Leeds at about 5am we arrived at our b & b in Thurso at about 6pm. Thurso is far away.
On looking at the maps for day 1 it immediately became clear that I had miscalculated when I’d worked out that Thurso was ‘quite near’ John O’Groats, it isn’t, it’s 20 miles away. This meant that our 100 mile first day was now going to be at least 120 miles. Not a fantastic start.
Day 1 saw us making a suitably early start and setting off into the fog, wind and drizzle for John O’Groats (not quite the predicted sunshine). After about an hour and a half cycling into an incredibly demoralising headwind we arrived at the derelict hotel, carpark, postcard shop and public toilet that marks the start of the end-to-end. It was at this point that I took the first of many tumbles due to not practising properly with my cleats. I unclipped my left foot, shifted my weight to the right and promptly overbalanced and fell over. Idiot.
The scenery in the far north of Scotland is pretty stunning but also desolate and hilly, there isn’t much to see apart from lots and lots of heath. The last 10 miles into Lairg at the end of day 1 were fairly miserable, I hadn’t eaten or drunk enough and my body was going on strike. A valuable lesson learned.
Day 2 to Grantown-on-spey was the shortest (apart from the last day) and easiest day by far. Everything seemed really straightforward, I’ve no idea why. We managed to cut a fair few miles off the planned route by going over some hills, but even they weren’t too…hilly.
Day 3 was by far and away my favourite day, it was mega in every way – mileage, scenery, hills but it was absolutely brilliant. We headed straight over the Cairngorms which was AMAZING, we cycled past 2 ski stations (Lecht and Glenshee), did 5 or 6 big climbs and it was generally unforgettable.
The following day which took as round past Edinburgh and then down and across to Annan was one of the hardest days, I think it’s fairly obvious now that the hills completely took it out of me, I’ve no idea how the Tour de France guys do 3 or 4 mountain stages on the bounce (well, we know how some of them might). The number of wind farms we passed indicated that we were at least lucky not to cycle into yet more headwinds but it wasn’t much fun and was really one of those days when you just get your head down and keep hoping for the end.
The next day took us back into England, everyone we spoke to in Annan referred to the terrors of ‘Shap’ awaiting us, Shap turned out to be a little village near a quarry – my thoughts were ‘what was all the fuss?’ yes there had been a bit of a hill but nothing too bad. Turns out the Shap that everyone was referring to was a big old climb after the village that wasn’t too steep but just went on, and on, and on…and on. It didn’t help that half the road was closed, this meant that trucks, coaches and almost every other vehicles whistled past, not bothering to slow down or even try to give me a bit of space – fun times. Down the other side we hit Penrith at rush hour, which was interesting and resulted in us getting a bit lost. But we eventually made it down into Lancashire and, after getting shit on by a seagull, ended up at Mick’s parent’s house near Lancaster.
The next two days were, in a word, ridiculous. We were just outside Lancaster at the start of day 6, we were aiming for Bath by the end of day 7. This is far. Turns out, it’s too far. The plan was to ride about 120 miles from near Lancaster, down round Chester, into Wales to just outside Welshpool. The following day we would then ride down the border between Wales and England, cross the Severn, skip round Bristol and end the day in Bath, I didn’t have a precise figure on what the intended mileage was on this day but it was further than the day before (i.e. 120 miles). Stupid. Then the sun came out and I got hilariously sunburnt.
Turns out it’s really bloody hilly between Lancaster and Bath. Powys, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Monmothshire, all places I’ve not been to before, these are all places I can now tell you – through experience – have lots of hills.
We made it to Welshpool ok, admittedly we were both very sunburnt and we didn’t finish until it was dark – and I had an interesting encounter with a cattle grid (in case you were wondering, yes a bicycle wheel can slip between the grids) but we made it.
We tried to reroute the following day, originally I’d had us going all round the houses to try and avoid hills and towns and main roads. However we decided to just go for it and head in as straight a line as possible for Bath.
Straight lines, experience now tells me, are rarely flat. We made it across the Severn ok but by then it was about 6 o’clock and we still had to get to Bath which was a way away, not sure exactly how far but far enough that by the time it started getting dark at about 8 we were still about 2 hours ride away. By this point we had two options, finish early or ride, in the gathering gloom, down a main road in the vain hope that Bath would show itself before too long. We chose the first option and decamped to a fairly posh b and b in Chipping Sodbury (I don’t think the owners were hugely impressed with two very dirty, very smelly, very sunburnt cyclists turning up out of the blue).
The next day we set off early in an attempt to make up the miles we’d lost. That morning proved we’d made the right decision, the main road was hilly and incredibly busy – it also had no lighting so in the dark would’ve been lethal. Bath is pretty but, sods law decreed, is also built in a little valley, all downhill to the town centre and all uphill for miles on the way out. GREAT. But we made fairly good time, made up the miles and finished the day in deepest darkest Devon (a few more counties ticked off along the way).
The next day saw us entering the final part of the trip into Cornwall. Now, confession, I love Cornwall but the 1 and 1/2 days I spent cycling there tested my affection to its complete and utter limit. Cornwall is horrible to cycle in, horrible. The roads are a succession of unenjoyable steep uphills and downhills, they are also narrow, busy and poorly maintained. Rubbish. The penultimate day saw us finishing near Redruth.
Every bike ride I’ve done has resulted in me becoming obsessed with the stats that crop up. Unfortunately I managed to break my phone a bit so the only numbers I can share are:
travelling 992.3 miles in 95 hours cycling over 9 and a half days. Throughout the ride we were always trying to keep above an average speed of 10 miles an hour so it’s good to see we managed that.
Despite giving up the daily blog pretty quickly (after day 4 I was too grumpy every evening to want to tell everyone about anything) I did manage to keep up fairly regular stream of Tweets which may or may not be of any interest. If they are, here they are, if not then…ignore everything that follows…
Up at 5, now heading to inverness. When did it start getting light at 5.15!? #end2end
Just passed a snowplough outside Glasgow. SNOWPLOUGH!? #end2end
@leedsmet thanks guys currently in inverness waiting for train to thurso.#end2end
Misty, cold, lots of seagulls. About to have breakfast then set off for john o’groats #end2end
Two facts to shock and disturb, chamois cream is cold and mick doesnt like baked beans.#end2end
Cycled 20 miles, freezing, foggy, windy. Now we are just at john o groats!
At bettyhill, horrible day has turned absolutely amazing.#end2end http://twitpic.com/4nz7wm
Finished day 1, slightly longer than planned at…120 miles! Glorious weather apart from the bloody head wind we had for 50 miles.#end2end
Blog about day 1 at http://ashmannblogs.Wordpress.com #end2end
@emilyjmacaulay thanks! Currently trying to work out if we can make tomorrow shorter without having to go over any more hills. Not possible!
@Mike_Tomlinson ha, my arse is doing alright. Mick has started moaning about his!
On the a9 into inverness, suddenly there is a lot of traffic.#end2end
In inverness, making quite good time. Mick is looking for a pannier, think he’s jealous of mine.#end2end
Finished day 2, currently in grantown on spey.Got our first sight of the massive, snow covered cairngorms, uh-oh.#end2end
Deep heat applied. Put way too much on, it buuurns.#end2end
day 2 post up at http://ashmannblogs.wordpress.com – nothing very interesting to say, brain is all tired. #end2end
Leg spasm, bad
Hard day, everything creaking, bike, shoes, knees. This is where we are #end2end http://twitpic.com/4ov0tm
Finished day 3. Mega. Blog to follow after I’ve made myself stink less.#end2end
Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail. Today I’m the nail.
Day 6. Have got to head through Lancaster at rush hour and then down towards Welshpool, its gonna be a long day.#end2end
150km done, 40 to go. A long day, but, we’re in Wales! #end2end
Have just worked out we can cut 20 miles off tomorrow AND get to cross the severn, ace! #end2end
About to set off for bath. Day 7 #end2end http://twitpic.com/4qf9in
@calebdorey our detour is to avoid gloucestershire, too many hills!
@calebdorey currently discovering that herefordshire isn’t exactly flat!
Didn’t make it to bath, ran out of legs and light. In chipping sodbury at a very swanky b and b. Today was still 110 miles tho.#end2end
Made up the miles lost yesterday. Just past bath.#end2end
The mendips, now who thought that was a good idea…#end2end
At taunton, hip has just seized up. Painful! #end2end
Near tiverton. Stopped at a garden centre for coffee and to use the facilities #end2end
Lovely couple at local chippy donated cost of our meal to @janesappeal, ace!
Bloody hell, we seem to have found cornwall’s hilliest road. Imagine a series of w’s as the profile, for 16 miles.#end2end
John o’groats to land’s end is a very long way. But we’ve just FINISHED! #end2end
900-odd miles cycled, knees and ankles ruined, sponsor me please WWW.justgiving.com/ashley-mann #end2end
just tallied up our mileage.992.8 miles in 95 hours of cycling #end2end
I stopped doing the daily blog because I was never quite in the right frame of mind at the end/beginning of each day. I was either knackered or bleary-eyed and grumpy and didn’t want my record of what was an amazing trip to be recorded in that frame of mind.
I’ll do a proper round up with photos n that asap
The morning was possibly the least fun I’ve ever had on a bike. My knees were screaming at me, I had no energy and everything seemed to be taking ages. Add to that the dreary towns and weather, the shit roads, traffic and the fact I fell off again and it was no fun at all.
Things picked up a lot after lunch, my knees shut up and started to do what I asked and the sun came.out which makes such a difference. We also had a huge downhill run of about 15 miles. The last few miles were hard but the countryside was beautiful.
Back into England today.
Proper blog to come. The day was long, hilly, hard and amazing
Today went incredibly well, we managed to shave about 10 miles off the route by taking a bit of an anti-detour that involved a slightly scary run down the A9 into Inverness.
So far we’ve avoided anything that could be called a real hill, especially compared to what we’ve got to look forward to tomorrow, 110 miles and a run over the Cairngorms. We got our first sight of them (Cairngorms) today, they’re huge and covered in snow – intimidating to say the least.
There were a huge amount of slugs over all the smaller roads we went down today and signs that it had been raining heavily, something that we managed to miss completely (hurray!).
So, probably about time for bed, we’ve got things to look forward to tomorrow like ‘the devils elbow’ and the ‘spittle of glenshee’, neither of which sound huge fun (they may be the same thing).
Wish us luck!
Today was the longest I’ve ever spent on a bike. We cycled just shy of 120 miles and it took us about 10 hours. It was hard.
The day started with breakfast at 7 and then we set of for what I has been told was a shortish ride to john o’groats. Shortish turned out to be 20 miles and instead of the forecast sun we had thick fog, freezing temperatures and a vicious head wind, it was not a very fun start to the day.
Once we got to the start/finish line in front of the derelict john o’groats hotel I showed my complete lack of coordination and, thanks to my new and largely untested, cleats took a heavy and graceless tumble. What a brilliant way to start the ride! However once we got started the wind dropped and eventually the sun came out to turn what had been a miserable day into an absolutely glorious one and we covered the 60 miles to bettyhill relatively quickly, unfortunately here we turned and were again heading straight into the wind, even going down a quite steep hill required us to pedal, demoralising in the extreme.
We reached altnaharra, apparently where the coldest ever temperature in the UK was recorded, and by now were only about 40 miles from lairg. With about 15 miles to go I completely ran out of energy, I’ve never ridden more than 100 miles so was in completely uncharted territory, I couldn’t appreciate the weather or the scenery, I just wanted a large meal, a sit down, and the toilet. In no particular order.
So now we are in a very nice b and b south of lairg.
Tomorrow we head for grantown on spey which is just on the edge of the cairngorms. A ride of about 95 miles, I think its going to rain. Hopeful there aren’t too many hills.
Top speed: 63 kmh
Total ascent: 1630 m
Total distance: 189.2 km
Starting the day at 5am will never feel natural regardless of the reason. We’d gone up to mick’s house in settle to get a bit of a head start but inverness is still really really far away. Cue 6 hours of driving then 4 hours on a train. Now we’re in thurso, knackered
Have spent a fairly frantic morning trying to locate everything I need for the ride, that done I then tried to force it all into one pannier….which was never gonna happen. So, for the first time ever I’ll be riding with two panniers. and cleats. wiser people than i would say this is probably not the time to try so many things for the first time. it’ll keep things interesting at least!
Off to pick up the hire car that’ll get us up to Inverness later, I think the last time I drove anything was last summer to/from Istanbul. Fingers crossed the roads are better than Bulgaria.
2 days to go and I’ve just fitted SPD pedals to my bike – these are to go with the new cycling shoes I got for my birthday. The process involved lots of getting covered in axel grease and swearing.
The theory is that cleated pedals mean you pedal more efficiently and god knows I need every drop of efficiency I can get my hands on, HOWEVER cleated pedals also mean you are clipped to the bike. I have spent the last hour trying to get the hang of clipping in and out of my pedals, unsurprisingly this has been a fairly spectacular failure so far – I expect to fall over on a daily basis, to anyone who knows me this won’t be a massive shock.
This is a very bad idea…
Oh, weather prediction for Friday and Saturday is currently 14-16 degrees, sunny, hardly any wind. Perfect. Let’s hope it delivers as promised!
To keep my mind off the fact that I was forcing myself to train the other day I decided that I will endeavour to keep a daily blog whilst on the bike ride. I’m not sure if it’ll be of the slightest interest to anyone but I kept a diary when I went to India a couple of years ago and if this serves the same purpose then at least I will find it interesting in the months and years afterwards.
I’m also going to try and harness the over-the-top power of my phone and post videos, photos and gps data. But that may all fail hilariously. Let’s see.
So training for the cycling has been going ok, although I’ve not managed to do as many longer rides as I would’ve liked I’m still getting out on the bike every day even if it is just to and from work.
To be completely honest my running training has been absolutely rubbish, in the last fortnight I’ve maybe been for 5 runs. Which, if you’re training for a marathon, isn’t enough!
On Friday I needed to get a lift home from work with a load of video equipment I thought I’d leave my bike at work, get the taxi home then run back to work and finally cycle home. It’s about 6 miles from home to work so an ok distance. The run part was fine however towards the end of the cycle I got hilariously crippling cramp in my left calf and almost fell off my bike. I’m sure I looked completely ridiculous yelping in pain and wobbling along completely unable to straighten my leg and put my foot down.
Tomorrow I’ve got to go for a longer run (12+ miles), I’ve also started lunchtime runs at work – I’m trying to convince other people in the office to come out with me. The knowledge that other people are also going out running means I can’t be a lazy arse and wimp out.
Less than 2 weeks until the end-to-end starts, over the last 2 weeks the highlands have experience 60-80mph gales and temperatures down to minus 6. GREAT! Hopefully it’ll sort itself out before we get up there….
Last week I completely knackered my back, the sad thing is I wasn’t doing anything exciting. I’m pretty sure I did it just standing up – I’m turning into my father, obviously you start falling apart once you reach 25.
Proper post to come soon…
Right so apparently I’ve convinced myself that I’ve started training for the list of things I’m doing this year (details: http://www.justgiving.com/ashley-mann/). Annoyingly due to the slightly stupid way that things have worked out I effectively have to train for a 1000-mile bike ride and a marathon at the same time.
I’ve trained for a marathon before (read about it here and here), it’s no fun, it makes you hungry, tired and sore. Let’s see if cycling 100 miles a week helps that – I’ve been informed by a few people that it might actually be a good idea, cross-training n all that.
I’m yet to be convinced…
My training at the moment consists of trying to do at least 1-hour a day on the turbo trainer (bike) combined with trying to get out for a longer weekend ride on the road and trying to get my weekly running mileage up past the 30 mile mark. Which has met with mixed success thus far.
Ah well. 2 months to go…(eek)
Have started planning for the end-to-end ride I’ll be undertaking in a few months. It’s going to look something like this
1. Friday 22nd April: John o”Groats to Lairg (95 miles)
2. Saturday 23rd April: Lairg to Grantown-on-Spey (90 miles) total 185 miles
3. Sunday 24th April: Grantown-on-Spey to Kinross (110 miles) total 295 miles
4. Monday 25th April: Kinross to Moffat (120 miles) total 415 miles – although the routeplanner took a really odd route round Edinburgh that’s added an unnecessary extra 30 miles by the look of it
5. Tuesday 26th April: Moffat to Kendal (100 miles) total 515 miles
6. Wednesday 27th April: Kendal to Chester (110 miles) total 625 miles
7. Thursday 28th April: Chester to Gloucester (120 miles) total 745 miles
8. Friday 29th April: Gloucester to Tiverton (100 miles) total 845 miles
9. Saturday 30th April: Tiverton to St Austell (80 miles) total 925 miles
10. Sunday 31st April: St Austell to Land’s End (70 miles) total 995 miles
Right so every day I ride my bike, normally to work, and then at weekends and things I also try and convince myself that I am a cyclist and go for longer rides. And then every now and again I convince my friend Mat to go on cycling trips with me, and we go to places like St Albans and Sunderland (I know, I know, it sounds glamourous).
I’ve had the same bike for about 2 years now, when I got it I hadn’t ridden a bike for about 5 years and no clue what I needed. I got this which has been fine and good and works just as you would expect a bike to. But now I have decided that I want something more shiny and exciting. The trouble is, having narrowed things down a little I am now at the stage I reach every time I want to buy something that costs more than about £30.
Now whichever bike I choose I’m sure will be brilliant, and shiny, and exciting. But because of the level of effort I have put into researching these 3 bikes I will be left with a huge feeling of “hmmm, but what if one of the other bikes would’ve been better“. The sad thing is that these bikes are SO similar in price and setup that I’m having to try and convince myself that I have opinions about things like bike wheels and whether or not I care about carbon or alloy gear shifters (note: I don’t care about these things). Now in the course of my research I have found out there are lots of people who have very strong opinions about these things and I have been a bit rubbish and tried to trick myself into adopting some of their opinions. Tried and failed.
I get very annoyed at myself every time this happens, it usually follows this pattern
And this is why I suck at buying things.
Eddie Izzard, Dylan Moran and Reginald D Hunter are playing an outdoors gig in St Albans, brilliant. What’s more my friend, Mat, and I got tickets, brillianter. Then we decided that we’d cycle there. Silly.
So this Thursday we’ll set off from Leeds to cycle the 210 (and a bit) miles from Leeds to St Albans. We even planned a route and everything (we’re not normally so organised). We reckon it’ll take us 2 and a half days.
Day 1, Leeds, West Yorkshire to Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire – 90 miles
Day 2, Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire to Harrold, Bedfordshire – 70(ish) miles
Day 3, Harrold, Bedfordshire to St Albans, Hertfordshire – 50(ish) miles
So anyway, if I’m super-organised then we may be using Mat’s phone to track the route and I’ll pop it up on here and you can all see how slow we went and how frequently we got lost.
p.s. I went for my first long ride in a while on Saturday and got an incredible painful knee whilst riding, apparently this is either because a)my knees are all wrong or b)my saddle is slightly too low. I’ve raised my saddle and it has made things slightly better in the knee-department, the problem now is that my feet barely touch the ground and getting onto the bike is a bit of an acrobatic challenge. Ah well, I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Right as you may or may not be aware this summer I drove one of the support vehicles on the Jane Tomlinson Appeal Istanbul to Leeds charity bike ride.
I had previously driven support on the Appeal’s last ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Basically driving support means driving a big van, full of bike stuff around after a group of cyclists trying to ensure they don’t get lost and have enough food and drink and the like. I soon realised that the last ride was relatively straight forward, for a start we stayed in hotels each night whereas this year we would be camping not to mention the language and cultural differences that we would encounter whilst travelling through 10 countries.
It all started for me when I picked up the van from Rothwell in Leeds. John (the chap who was sharing the van-driving with me) and I met up with Al, Dave and Nigel who would between them be driving out the other two vehicles, a car and an RV. We didn’t have anything you could really call a ‘route’ planned although we knew the rough general direction we would be heading in, so off we went.
Despite me forgetting my wallet (idiot) the journey down to Folkestone was pretty straight forward, as was the journey as whole until we got to Austria (bar John forgetting which side of the road to drive on in France and turning into oncoming traffic…a minor hiccup). We had decided we would only be making 2 short (4 hour) stops for sleep on the way out as otherwise we’d be in danger of not getting there in time. The first stop was slightly enforced, a massive lightening storm broke over us as we entered Austria, it was nighttime and I was absolutely knackered so it seemed like a good time to stop. I slept in the van, John, Al and Dave shared the RV and Nige had the car. 4 hours later we were back on our way. The heat became noticeable as we entered Hungary and I seem to remember a sign in Budapest telling us it was 38 degrees (at about 10am) and I soon descended into a disgusting sweaty mess (the van didn’t have air conditioning).
The real cultural differences didn’t become obvious until we entered Romania, but when they did come they were pretty clear. The roads immediately deteriorated and the traffic became a mix of knackered Ladas and dusty HGVs. At one point we passed what looked like a nuclear power station being dismantled (or just falling apart), next to it was the saddest street market I have ever seen simply selling rubbish wooden carvings and giant garden gnomes – very odd. Now I’m sure Romania has some nice parts, however we didn’t see any of them. We saw the bad roads, poverty, buildings falling down, many stray dogs, prostitutes everywhere (even outside McDonalds) and numerous other things that I have since tried to forget. After Romania, Bulgaria was a blesséd relief with friendly people, less scary dogs, no obvious ladies of the night and what, at first, seemed like good roads.
However. Al and Dave had, throughout the trip to that point, unswervingly followed their sat nav – a tactic not to be mocked as it hadn’t lead us wrong until then. They suddenly decided to turn off the nice, smooth motorway that we were on and that seemed to go all the way to where we needed to be. The road we turned onto went through a forest, we were the only vehicles, or people, for miles around and this road was one of the most potholed pieces of tarmac i’ve seen in my entire life. It was more pothole than road for long stretches. Our average speed dropped to about 6mph as we crawled along being shaken from side to side by these gargantuan craters. Then we had a bit of an incident, the RV stopped. It’s hazard lights came on and Dave stepped out to sum up the situation, “it’s buggered”. Cue a couple of hours spent trying to find shade in the scorching Bulgarian sun whilst on the phone to the AA, the RAC and the company we’d hired the RV from. It eventually turned out that due to the amount of potholes the RV thought it had been in an accident and had turned itself off as a ‘safety feature’. Luckily there was a simple reset button and we were on our way again.
The rest of Bulgaria passed fairly uneventfully until we reach the Bulgaria-Turkey border. This border was pretty ramshackle and isolated and I think the guards must’ve been bored, or at least that’s the conclusion i’ve come to explain why we spent the next 5 hours there. A long story for another day but a word of warning, if your hire company says you don’t need printouts of your vehicle documents because ‘everything is done electronically these days’ then don’t assume that’ll actually mean anything to bored and slightly irritable border guards in the arse end of nowhere.
The final story of note on the journey out there (and there are a million other stories i hope to get around to retelling at some point) involves the drivers of Turkey. Now I loved Turkey, the people were amazing. But bloody hell, they’re absolutely mental drivers. I’ve no idea how we managed to make it into Istanbul and to our hotel in one piece, i involved avoiding some of the most ridiculous driving i’ve ever seen, and yes, i’ve been to India! The drivers, combined with it being at night and only about 6 hours sleep in the previous 72 meant that the last part of the journey passed in a weird dreamlike state. Probably not very safe.
But we got there, 2500 miles, 3 days, 9 countries, 1 van. Istanbul to Leeds. I’ll write up a bit of a summary of what happened on the bike ride when I get some time to gather my thoughts, it was quite an experience!