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Day 10 heading to Cambridge


Well, apart from the shock to the system of the 6:30am start, the crappy road services again and reacquainting myself with hills, that was a great ride. Getting off the ferry and out of the terminal was surprisingly easy this morning and in no time at all, I was peddling along at a decent pace out of Harwich and heading towards Manningtree.


There was barely any traffic and it had warmed up enough to start losing layers within an hour. Having declined the treat if breakfast on the ferry I was in need of a stop though. I figured that as it was early I might have to wait until after 8am to get a coffee somewhere. By 8.30am I hadn't seen anywhere and called my support team (Mrs B) to see if she could find anywhere. 'There's a cafe 8km away, I call them when they open at 9am ' she said. But they too were shut and recommended somewhere another 20km further on. By 10am I was gagging for food and drink, regretting not buying more in the daylight robbery shop on board the ferry. At 50km I spotted a hand painted 'cafe open' sign at the side of the road pointing into a small industrial estate. How bad can it be I thought to myself? 'Wally's Shed' turned out to be every bit as bad as you would imagine a small workmans Caff on an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere to be. It was the kind of place where you didn’t want to watch the food being prepared. The bacon sandwich and cup of tea I had somehow reminded me of the taste of the 1970s. But beggers can't be choosers.


The brilliant thing about this Komoot route is that it took me through tiny villages and hamlets on empty single track roads with great views.  Most of first half of the ride followed the South Suffolk way, The terrible thing was that it took me through tiny villages and hamlets without a shop, Café or pub in sight.  How does anyone live in a place that isn't within walking distance of a least one shop? Don't feel the need to answer that in the comments. I'm aware that lots of people want to live as far away from others as they can. I am definitely a townie.


The first place I saw a sign for coffee was outside a corner store after 80km. I hadn’t waited this long to choose an unheard of crappy coffee from a machine in a corner shop, so I waited until I got my destination in Cambridge. Again you might say get over yourself but after 8 days of shit coffee in hotels and petrol stations across Europe, I wasn't in the mood to compromise,


Generally speaking over this week and a bit, Komoot has been great, but it still has two issues that drive me crazy. First is its tendency not to be able to distinguish between turns at some junctions: either it doesn’t tell you to turn or tells you to turn when the road is going straight ahead. Secondly if you go off course both Komoot and Garmin are determined to reroute you back to the point where you went off course regardless of the fact that the actual route may be just in front of you. Today I multiple incidences of both. Not a big deal but irritating when it interrupts what little flow you are capable of.


And I was riding better because my legs felt good (relatively). Normally, my legs start to get better after day four or five but this trip has been broken up by smaller rides and interrailing adventures, so it’s not surprising that it has taken until today for my legs to work better. They don’t really feel better they just work better. So even though I was out of food and drink, the last 20 km were still the fastest of today.


I don't know if you have ever ridden in Cambridge but it does have quite a few segregated bike paths on regular commuter routes into and out of the city. It also has its fair share of shit sections where the bike path is just a footpath with a bike painted on it. Obviously paint is not infrastructure. On one of these sections, just 2km from the end of my ride, two guys on bike came around the corner together and crashed right into me and I fell into a bush. Nothing was damaged but I was still clipped in and thrashing about in comedic style. While on the ground looking up at them, I said 'I’ve managed to ride 800 km to get to this point in this trip without falling off! (an exaggeration I know but they knocked me off). They apologised profusely, took one look at my bike and said 'oh we are training for long-distance rides too'. Then wanted to tell me about their training for the pan-Celtic race. Cool, but can you help me up off the ground first maybe?


My Airbnb hosts this evening are a really friendly couple. They let me check in early and wash all my kit in the washing machine - that doesn’t come as standard with Airbnb so it was very welcome. Let’s just say my efforts to wash the kit in the sink on this trip haven’t been amazingly successful.


So, just one day to go and 140km to complete this part of the trip. I have done this route from here home to Warwick a few times before as my younger daughter used to live in Cambridge and I cycled to see her. My biggest danger tomorrow is likely to be boredom of riding the same route again

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2 Comments


Clearly Komoot needs to have a new mapping option introduced “sewing your rides into coffee stops”, with the ability to select distance between stop. I’d think that would be a winner.

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Well done, although the trip was interrupted by acts of god. At least you survived and can smile, and CHAPEAU

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