Blog from Rik: The cycle from Reading to Shaftsbury…

My endeavours to cycle from Reading to Penzance came to a cold, wet and painful end on Thursday, sadly on the first day. The morning was great, setting off from Reading at 06:45 it was a fresh warm morning and my pace was good, stopping the Andover side of Newbury at 08:30 to eat my packed breakfast. I set off again and was faced with the worst hills I’ve ever seen which slowed me down considerably.

At lunch I arrived at the Hilltop Diner just before Salisbury, exhausted from the hills and had a terrible lunch, wrong order and bad food – Trip Advisor to be updated! Whilst I was in the diner it started to rain but only lightly, then I was back on the road.

After passing through Salisbury the rain came down so hard visibility was really poor and my pace was axed. As I got wetter I got colder. I tried to increase my pace in order to meet my check point in Seaton, but by 15:00 the wind picked up, the rain was fierce and I was reduced to near walking pace. As I fought through the conditions I felt my back go but I continued on and the pain increased, I got even colder and I realised I was not going to make Seaton before night.

When my back finally gave up I stopped at The Kings Arms Inn in East Stour, just past Shaftsbury, shouting MEDIC!! There was no medic, so I called my wife to pick me up. While I waited the 2 hours 15 minutes it took her to arrive, the kind people at The Kings Arms Inn fed me and I drank tea to warm up.

And so my journey ended with me soaked to the bone, freezing cold and with a sore back.

Today I checked on Google Maps and I had travelled 79.4 miles, the journey to Penzance is 250 miles so I plan to make up the missing 170 miles once my back recovers. Soon I hope.


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