Sunday, May 15, 2011

Copenhagen to Cornwall, day 4-7

day 4 - Arrived at Dunkerque, France around mid-day and crossed over to Dover with little fanfare. "Holy crap" followed a frustrated climb out of the Dover port, followed less than an hour later with a variety of swearing issued at the world in general as I pushed my trike up a 14% grade hill on a gravel road- part of 'national cycle road' network in the UK. What the frell? Up-n-down for miles along the Cliffs of Dover do not a cycle road make! Unless it's for masochistic cyclists. Spent the night in a park on the outskirts of Folkstone.

day 5 - Chain snapped in Rye when starting from a standstill on a hill due to a red light. Was in top gear on the front at the time. Thankfully just minutes away was a cycle shop. After about 10 minutes of waiting for it to open (it was 8:50AM at the time), the shop keeper was very helpful in finding me some replacement links. he also scrounged up a cheap front derailleur kit (shifter and cable), which I installed. Now I was all set with a proper forward gear changer (ran out of time to install one in Denmark, so up to this point I was manually changing the front gear up and down when needed). Got as far as Hastings after climbing for a mile on a 12% grade, knees burning. I pulled into the nearest train station and after some debate on whether to continue or turn tail and head home defeated, I rallied to an alternative: night train to Penzance, then cycle east to St Hilary where my friend Howard would host my short stay. I got on the train in Hastings, which took me back to London. Had to cross the city to get to London Paddington station, and enjoyed a mini celebrity status as many intersections. The response was highly positive when people saw the Nomad Wildcat pedal past them. Lost of photographs taken. Arrived in Paddington around 20:00, and boarded the night train to Penzance about 23:30.

day 6 - After a semi-comfy sleep in a coach seat, we arrived in Penzance about 9:00 - delayed an hour due to signal trouble on the track that forced the train to stop it's journey west. I pedaled the 10 km to St. Hilary, where my host, Howard Curnow gave me a warm welcome. I collapsed for a nap, and later that evening Howard treated me to a BBQ at a local pub, that included a Cornish singing group (of which Howard was a member, and a pretty good singer for a man in his 70's). I made some videos which i will put up after my return to Denmark.

day 7 - Did a ride out to Michael's Mount - a smaller version of France's Mont Saint Michael, inspired directly by it. Built by the same monks too, so i am told. continued on to Penzance along a coastal cycle path, stopped for lunch, then kept going until I reached Mousehole, a little cliff-side village about 12-13km away from my base at St. Hilary. Saw that the hills there were beyond my ability to climb, even with an unloaded trike (I also left the fairing back at base), so i wandered back down to Penzance, took in the High Street shops (mostly closed on Sunday), then made it home in time for a filling and delicious dinner prepared by Howard.

Howard has some paying customers coming on Wednesday and staying for a week, so initially we talked about getting me a spot between some trees to put up my hammock for the remainder of my stay. But today's weather report shows that the local weather will turn nasty on Wednesday. so the current thought is to return to London by train on Tuesday, then cycle either down to Dover, or eastward to Harwich, for the return trip to the European mainland.

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