Monday 10th August 2020 will forever be a memorable date for me, as it marks the start of my epic adventure.
I spent the morning doing my final bits of packing and checks on the bike. The thing is with bike touring, you can’t really pack that much so it makes the whole thing much quicker than packing for a normal holiday! My wonderful Dad volunteered to cycle with me to the ferry terminal in Hull. I’m so grateful for this – what with the busy British roads and horrendous headwind, it was great to be able to have him there the whole way.
We set off just after lunch. Not ideal weather conditions – very hot and a strong headwind, but as the ferry wasn’t leaving until 20:30, it would have been ridiculous to go any earlier. After saying farewell to the pooch, my big sister and Mum, we were off. I had already done a test run with the loaded bike to Scarborough so I was already fairly used to how it felt. The main difference is that it is SO MUCH HEAVIER. I guess I’ll get used to it!
Dad and I had actually cycled the route to the Humber Bridge just two weeks beforehand so it all felt rather familiar, which was comforting for this first leg. The headwind was strong the whole way. To be honest, if I was just going out for a normal ride, I probably wouldn’t have cycled in that! We battled with the traffic along some busy roads and really felt the heat. Little did I know, until later in my cabin, I had sweat so much that my money in my money belt was wet through! Nice!
The ride was 50 miles, with a handful of hills thrown in for good luck. With stops, it took us 5 hours exactly (total moving time was 4:15) and we met Mum and Cress in the public car park by the ferry so Dad could get his lift home (and I could pick up my breakfast supplies that I left! Shoutout to the excellent support crew 🙂 )
It then felt real. Very real. As I cycled off, on my own, having left my brilliant support crew in the car park and headed onto the ferry. The check-in was super easy, just one last hill thrown in – winding round up the ramp and parking bikey on the boat, right by the exit. Fingers crossed he’s there in the morning!
I eventually found my cabin and after two unsuccessful attempts of actually getting in, I was in my home for the night. Small but perfectly formed, shall we say. I wouldn’t fancy having to share with anyone – it’s pretty tight! I had a quick sandwich then went on the hunt for more food and a cup of tea. Feeling sufficiently refuelled, I headed back to my cabin to shower, wash my clothes and get ready for the morning.
The boat seems pretty empty, which is excellent. The only real difference is the mandatory wearing of face masks in public areas. There are lots of hand sanitising stations as well, which I’m taking full advantage of! I’m also thoroughly enjoying the classic set of tunes they have playing throughout the ship – Westlife and Buble to name a couple. *UPDATE* they’ve now turned off the tunes for some live music. One man and his guitar. This could be awkward, I’m literally sat in front of him, with no one else around, and I really want to go to bed but feel bad for leaving. Wonder if he’ll notice if I just slowly exit stage left…
I went out on the deck to watch as we left Hull – there’s no going back now! I’m hoping for a nice early night, ahead of another hot 60 miles to Tilburg tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a smooth crossing and easy exit in the morning. I’m wearing my new St Christopher necklace from a wonderful client of mine, which I’m hoping will bring me luck and keep me safe the whole way. 50 miles down, 950 to go…