Cycling to Winchester, etc / 自転車でウィンチェスターまでとかとか…

Location: Winchester, England
Status: Slight cold, but alive and well and enjoying life.


So, here I am, no longer in London. Quite a bit has happened, so I will try to pick up where I left off. I got my bike. It looks like junk, but it rides well enough. It is much better than the piece of junk I did my first bike trip (back in the US in the summer of '98) on, and it is a bit lighter than the bike I did my trip around Japan (summer of '03) on. It gets the job done.

Anyway, after I took care of stuff at John's house and went on to my next host, an Australian guy named Trent in Chiswick, on the west side of London, not far north of Kingston. I cycled out there to get used to my new bike. I must say that London traffic is a bit rough. Anyway, I met up with Trent at Gunnersbury Station and we headed back to his place to drop off my stuff. Trent doesn't have a computer at home, so I was unable to keep the blog up to date while there. No worries, though, right? Anyway, after I was hoping to meet up with Arun, but hadn't had a chance to email him and set everything up (Sorry, Arun!) so when I called him it was a bit too late. So, Trent and I went to a pub and had a few pints of London's Pride and some meat pies, which were surprisingly good... And people say that British food is bad!

The next day (Saturday), we lounged around the house for awhile while waiting for Trent's friend to fly in. When he got there, we all headed out to meet up with more friends in Hammersmith and hung out at a house there for awhile drinking and talking. Now, keep in mind, this was the first time I had met any of these people (including Trent the day before), but it felt really comfortable, like hanging out with old friends or something. That is how awesome everyone was. A little later, we went out into London to a pub for a pint or two, and then to a club called "Walkabout" and nicknamed "the Shafty Walky" by everyone in the group, due the location of that particular branch on a street called Shaftsomethingsomething (my memory is a little hazy). There we hung out, drank, danced, and had a pretty decent time. So, with that I got to experience a bit of the London night life.

The following day, we met up with some other friends in the afternoon for what would have been a barbecue had it not been raining (bloody English weather!). We hung out in a flat across the way from Trent's place having a few snacks and drinks. Then we went out to a nearby pub to meet up with some more friends and had a few pints. After that, we returned and cooked up a myriad of foods, ate them, drank some more, and just chilled out. All in all, it was another really good time with really cool people. Trent is one of the friendliest, easy-to-get-along-with people I have ever met.

The following morning (Monday) began my day of hell which ended in heaven. Trent saw me off in the morning and then went to work. I then began cycling, heading for Winchester. The weather was... British. Seriously, it changes every five minutes. I was basically heading southwest from London under very overcast skys which enjoyed spewing rain on me at every worst possible moment, and then stopping any time I found a bit of shelter from it. Those of you who know me and of my cycling experiences can probably guess which direction the wind was blowing. I must have pissed of Aeolus in a past life because it was nothing but headwind all day. I had a blowout near Feltham and had to stop. It turns out the guy who sold me the bike had put the wrong sized tube in the back tire and then over-inflated it. Luckily, there was a cycle shop in Feltham, so I bought the proper tube and got back up and running pretty quickly. For those of you keeping score, that was my second flat tire ever in my history of cycling like this (the first was just outside of New Orleans on the last day of that trip).

Anyway, I continued on, going up and down hills and in and out of rain. All in all, it was a fairly miserable ride, though it occasionally had its moments: the purple flowers growing in the undergrowth of the forests, the rabbits leaping into the brush as I approached, the wide, rolling fields, the tunnels of trees that I rode through...

I just want to take this opportunity to plug the Montane Featherlite Smock. This thing is awesome. It weighs 95g, rolls up to the size of a tennis ball, and does a fantastic job of keeping the wind and most of the rain out. Seriously, if you are ever considering doing any hiking, backpacking, cycling, etc. get one! It is absolutely worth it.

I am definitely not in shape...yet. My legs were jello by the time I reached Winchester. I actually had to sit down and take about a 20 minute break about 3km outside of town because I just couldn't ride. Anyway, I get a break today, and maybe even up until Friday, so my legs can recover. The next leg of my journey will be very short, so no problem.

Anyway, that brings us to Winchester and the excellent ending to a really rough day. I got to Winchester Station and called my next host, a really sweet girl named Ali who is an art student at the university here. It turned out that she was just settling down for dinner with a bunch of friends (including another couchsurfer) at an Indian restaurant in town. She invited me to join them, and I did. Again, it was like meeting friends I have already known. Everyone was super cool and super nice. I had just eaten the second half of a doner kebab I'd bought on the side of the highway, so I had a couple of pints while everyone ate. After dinner, Ali and Eli (the other couchsurfer...very cool guy) tooke me back to her place so I could get a shower and change clothes. That shower felt GOOD! After that, we headed out to meet back up with everyone for a few more beers at the Student Union on campus. After that, we all went back to Ali's place, a flat that she is sharing with several other very cool people, and had a bonfire in the back yard. Finally, I crashed, and that brings us to today.

The other couchsurfer, Eli, had become good friends with everyone and had been here for almost 2 weeks. He left today, off to the next stop on his trip: Poland. Most everyone else is in and out. One of Ali's roommates, Nick, has an exhibition tomorrow so he is getting ready for that. I may end up helping him out later. I've spend the day writing in my Journal and now this.

Anyway, I think my plans have changed. UK weather is just not good for cycling, since it changes every 37 seconds and most of the changes are just a slightly different form of dreary. Also, the UK is really expensive, and if I want to make this trip last, I should get out of here. So, rather than cycling around the UK before heading down to the rest of Europe, I think I am going to look into ferries now and head down to France sometime within the next week or so. I've certainly enjoyed my taste of the UK and am not finished yet, but it would kind of suck to run out of money without having seen any more of Europe. Anyway, I'll post the details of my next move when they are decided.

That seems like a good place to leave off. The rest of this post is in Japanese for my friends who can't read English (Ali has a Mac, so I can finally type in Japanese). Cheers. (^_^)v







4 件のコメント:

匿名 さんのコメント...

hey Alex carlos here..
glad you are meeting a lot of cool people over there!, too bad the weather aint working for you though, but hey keep going ! i am sure you will make the right choices!.

匿名 さんのコメント...

I am following your progress. Too bad you will not be going to Scotland;I loved it there.
Love, M

Becky さんのコメント...

Sounds like you are having fun - except the weather. Take care

biodrumr さんのコメント...

I personally thought the bike you had for the trip in '98 was a pretty good bike for the price you paid...