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Day 11 - Back home again

Updated: Jun 8


It seems fitting that on the final day of this year's Riding the Long Way Home trip that it ended up being a mix of cycling and a train ride. By the end of the trip I have ridden about 875km across 11 days which I think would be a decent total if I had been at home, But it is less than half of what I had originally planned. They'll be time to share my learning from the trip, but for the moment I will stick to what happened on the final day.


I intended to get another early start as it worked for me yesterday, but as I rolled my bike out of the shed my Airbnb hosts kept it in overnight , I found I had my forth flat of the trip. There had to be something stuck in the tyre right? I still couldn't find anything in the tyre so I fixed it and went for a coffee in a little square in Cambridge. I also took the time to drop in on an open bike shop to pick up yet another inner tube.


As I already mentioned yesterday, Cambridge has a series of bike paths coming in and out of the city so it was quick and easy to leave. In fact I was surprised how far the bike path leaving west out of the city went on. It was about 5 km at least. Somewhere along the road to St Neots I had yet another puncture. All five have been on the back wheel. This time I stripped the tyre off the wheel turned it inside out and searched centimeter by centimeter until I found the almost invisible tiny thorn that was the cause of all my problems. It was stuck inside the tyre like a splinter in your finger. You couldn’t feel it when you rubbed a finger over it, but if you put pressure on the tyre, it appeared out of the tiny hole. To be 100% certain I also covered the hole with a patch from the Restrap tyre boot kit.


St Neots was only 30km into the ride but I decided to stop for coffee anyway. It was tempting to stay longer as the coffee shop was in a little suntrap, but I needed to press on. I don’t know if it was Café legs or I just hadn’t eaten properly, but by 40km I was struggling and feeling really tired. By 50km I genuinely felt like the wheels were falling off. I had picked a different route to the one I normally had for fear of being bored, but now I needed some kind of distraction. I have carried with me some bone conducting headphones which I have yet to really use. In fact, I’ve had them for over a year and never used them for more than 30 minutes on a test. Now I put them on and logged into an audiobook and frankly I can’t believe I haven’t used them earlier. I know quite a few people who do long endurance rides who always wear them, but I’ve always been happy just stuck in my own thoughts. Today I really needed the distraction.


The Cambridgeshire countryside is almost as empty as Suffolk. Nice to look at in the sun but short of any useful stopping points. I decided I was going to head to Northampton and get the train to Coventry to cut out 40km of the ride. You might say that’s not much and I could’ve ridden it and probably I could. But on this trip, I have been aware of the fact though , that somewhere around 100km seems to be my daily limit at the moment. Northampton is another town that has a series of bike paths around it, although not particularly well maintained, so it feels like you are making your way through overgrown single track paths. Once at the station it was easy enough to jump on a train and from Coventry home is only 15km, which flew past as obviously, it’s a route I know very well and the closer you get to home and the end of the ride, the easier it gets.


I’ve been making notes on what I have learned on the trip as well as mentally rating every single item I have bought with me as either a win or a fail and I will probably share that in a separate video. Over the next week I will try to piece together some kind of story from the videos I did take, although I should say that a lot of the time I didn’t feel much like taking out my camera to try and film in torrential rain, but you should be able to get a sense of what the trip was like .


As I ever I am grateful to those people who have followed this little journey and have sent me positive or encouraging feedback. Getting the right message at the right time. can be incredibly positive when you are struggling either physically or mentally or in my case both. As well as meteorologically and logistically.


Although this trip has not been what I planned or wanted, I’m still grateful for having the opportunity to do it. For a lot of this trip, some advice from my has been stuck in my head. He said that I should absolutely keep doing these trips while I was physically capable because there will be many years ahead when I’m no longer physically capable, of doing this. Although obviously he hadn’t reckoned with the introduction of electric bikes.

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Well done Paul, such a challenging long way home. Loved reading your blogs, keep pedalling, no matter how long or short 🚴‍♂️

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Really well done for this achievement. What a massive test, which you’ve passed with flying colours - it may not feel like it, but you’ve been up against a brick wall since day 1 so have done really well to complete what you have. Take some time to process this and dry out 😂

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Cheers Brian. Back on the bike this weekend 😄

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What a hell of a journey and you should be really proud of what you have achieved, it’s a testament to your fitness and mental strength, but also your common sense in shortening sections for safety and pragmatism! Chapeau 😀 Thanks for your sharing your blog, it’s been great to read while I continue to improve with my new bionic hip 😉 !

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Absolutely move it or lose it, but electric bikes really have opened up possibilities for folk (but am not going there for a while 😜)

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Many thanks for the blog mate, have enjoyed following along although an interactive map would have been appreciated, just kidding. I would be very interested in the kit that worked or didn’t in a future post. Keep up the great work. It’s all a mental battle at our age. Best wishes. Andy

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How thoughtless of me not to include a map or live tracking Andy 😄

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