John O'Groats to Land's End - Grantham to Home.

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John O'Groats to Land's End - Next Stop Home

Monday 2nd August 2010

I woke at about 5:45 and was eager to get up and strike the tent before people were up and using the park. I had some raisins, seeds and cereal bars as I packed and loaded so that I was on the road by 6:15. I made my way through Grantham and onto the A1 which was already busy with lorries. This stretch had no hard shoulder and I immediately regretted my decision to join it. Fortunately, I came across a Little Chef almost straight away and stopped for breakfast. It wasn't the most enjoyable cooked breakfast, perhaps because I had only just eaten but mainly because of the way it had been cooked. I ate it anyway and remembered to ask the waitress to sign my Transit Verification Form. The A1 by the restaurant and service station had been improved and there was a 1m wide strip of hard shoulder. I decided to try my luck and see if the next section of the A1 had this strip that I could shelter from the traffic in. For the most part I was lucky but there were a few stretches without a hard shoulder, which I did not like at all.

A1 sign 100 miles to London

I did about 20-25 miles on the A1 before I could escape on to less busy roads and eventually on to the A6 heading towards Bedford. I enjoyed the feeling of reaching a new county and knowing I was getting closer to home: Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Bedfordshire. The A6 seemed to dump me in the middle of Luton where I quickly became disoriented after missing a turning. Eventually, after a steep climb I found myself outside the town's council offices and stopped to take my bearing. I used the stop to have a meal break and use up the food that I was carrying and refill the water bottles. Once fed and watered I walked the bike up a one-way street where I could join the road I needed. I headed for St Alban's where they had some wonderful Penny Farthing shaped cycle stands.

Watling Street

Leaving St Alban's I cycled along the old Roman road of Watling Street, which though straight was quite hilly. Going through Elstree I was now in the north side of London. I now became totally reliant on the bike nav. to find my way through the city before reaching places that I knew. In contrast to the dark unlit roads I had cycled the day before I found the urban roads welcomely bright as I cycled the last few miles in the dark. I reached home at 10pm and it felt very surreal to be unlocking the side gate and taking the bike round the back as if I was arriving back from a commute to work.

I obviously made enough noise to alert James and Rhea who called out greetings from a bedroom window. Dumping everything in the dining room I was glad to go straight to the shower and get two days of grime and sweat off me. After saying goodnight to James and Rhea I was glad to climb into my own bed and cuddle Catherine before sleep was upon me.

Daily Stats

Daily mileage 135 miles - 216km
Average speed 11.5mph - 18kph
Max speed 34.8mph - 56kph
Total Time Cycling 11hrs 38mins