Our ride has come to a halt for now but it isn’t over by any means. Here’s a quick update on where we are and, more importantly, where we go from here.
This is my brother in law, Gordon, known to all his friends and family as Bunny.
He’s a microlight pilot and distributor and all round glass-half-full if not overflowing kind of bloke. He also does some part time work for this company:
They buy and sell used motor homes and seem to do it rather well judging by how incredibly busy they were when we went to see them the other day.
And this is Vera, the Nissan Vanette that Tom who owns the company has kindly offered to lend us so that we can continue our dream.
(We called her Vera by the way)
Put the three together and add my sister into the mix and they have made it possible for us to continue our trip around the coast of Britain.
I phoned my sister in Taunton last week to explain that Gill was in need of some serious TLC and asked if we could come and stay for a few days. Of course she said yes, as I knew she would, and I gave her the full details of our situation and just mentioned that amongst other ideas we had discussed hiring a vehicle so that Gill could drive while I continued to cycle along the coast. The very next day Bunny said he might be able to get hold of a small van for us and within a couple of days of arriving in Taunton we were introduced to Tom at Somerset Motorhome Centre and given the keys to Vera.
I can’t believe how kind some people are and how much this trip has done to strengthen my faith in human nature. So a great big thank you to my sister Christine, Bunny and Tom, you are all now very much a part of our story.
Now that we have the van we are very excited about getting back on the road but we can’t now set off again until Monday. Insuring the van short term proved to be slightly tricky plus we have been invited to a family party on Sunday so we will be resting for another few days yet. It’s a hard life. The plan is to drive down to Penzance and camp and on Tuesday I will continue cycling around Cornwall while Gill takes on the role of support. Vera is big enough to take both bikes and all our gear so all options will be available if Gill decides she wants to do any cycling or we want to go and visit other family and friends. We will be able to meet up at points along the route, get together for lunch and spend the evenings together at a campsite. The suggestion that Gill will be able to set up camp and prepare a delicious three course meal each evening is still under discussion. That’s the plan and we are both very happy with it.
But not everybody is. Some people have suggested that there are only really two options. Either we finish the ride together on our bikes or we go home and come back another day to complete it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course but the problem with those suggestions is that they aren’t what either of us want. We can’t wait indefinitely for Gill to want to carry on, (she may never do) and neither of us wants to go home because we are still enjoying the adventure. This blog is called Clockwise Words and the strap line is: “Round Britain by Bike – probably”. I added the word ‘probably’ because it was both amusing and summed up our whole attitude to the trip. We never wanted it to be an endurance event. We didn’t set out to break any records and we certainly never told anybody that we would complete the circuit no matter what. We also, privately, and without voicing it, knew that whatever happened the most important thing would be us and the very special and precious relationship that we share with each other. None of that has changed. As far as we are concerned it really doesn’t matter if one of us decides to complete the trip on a space hopper and the other on roller skates, all that matters is that we are both happy with the plan and we are.
It’s really all about the sharing for us. I realise that some people can cycle alone to the top of a hill and get complete satisfaction from seeing the view that is the reward for their efforts. That isn’t enough for me or for Gill. For us it has to be shared to be complete and preferably shared with each other. When we gasp at a breath taking view, get to the top of a particularly hard climb or come through a period of really horrible weather that is when we are closest.
That is when we are most likely to exchange a kiss, a hug or just a knowing look that binds us in the shared experience. The beauty of our new plan means that even though Gill might not be cycling alongside me we will still get some of those moments to savour along the way. Not as many admittedly, but enough to make the journey ours. We are already talking about coming back to ride the remaining part of the coast together next year but we will see about that when we look back at the whole experience over the coming months. A tandem has also featured in those talks which might be fun.
The idea of riding around the entire coast of Britain has been a dream of mine for many, many years. I have been incredibly lucky to have somebody who loves me enough to want to share it with me. I realise how fortunate I am in that, but I have another, much more important dream, that I happen to share with Gill. That is the dream of finding somebody special to love and to enjoy the world with. It is a far more precious dream than the bike ride and I want everybody to know that whatever we do, whatever we decide, that shared dream comes first. We are together on this in every way whether it involves bikes, vans or even a space hopper. So here’s to the journey and arriving back in Freckleton as team G&T. Just the way we left four months ago. Apart from having Vera with us of course.