So far we’ve had ten days of cycling, well over 800 miles, countless punctures, a load of hills, lots of sun, some amazing sights, plenty of road kill, a few live animals, a lot of swearing, a pile more sweating, our fair share of rain and even the occasional bit of fun!
I can honestly say, for me, this has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I am really not sure if it is for me, but after three weeks the short hair is finally feeling like mine! But seriously the cycling has been so very tough and a massive challenge, I’m sure I have already done more exercise in the last three weeks than I have ever done in my entire life! I also have these strange growths on my legs – I’m told they’re muscles….??
From the first day, when we were getting used to the bikes and the heat (and the torrents of rain) we have had our problems (punctures) especially with a certain someone’s bike, and coupled with the either mountainous terrain (we did manage to pick the hills out of all of the flat of America!) or extremes in weather we’ve had it fairly tough (this isn’t just a jolly!).
However I have been enduring, sorry enjoying, the trip immensely and have found cycling a really interesting way to see the country so far. We have been through some amazing countryside seeing so much variety including small (rather ‘cletus’-esque) towns with proper family diners with THE friendliest and kindest waitresses serving masses of cheap food, stretches of rolling countryside with maize fields, blueberry bushes, peach trees and a whole host of wildlife, forests where you can smell the pine in the air as well as cycling beside and over rivers and lakes.
Two things I have been surprised about are how friendly and welcoming everyone has been (with the exception of some immigration staff) and the amount of cyclists we have seen about… although the South has had considerably less. The majority of car and lorry drivers have been really good to us, although we have been lucky enough to experience the lovely driving skills of the New Yorkers….. and have found out generally avoid the bike routes as they only give the nice roads to vehicles with engines.
The hardest day so far for me was the other week when Neil’s bike broke big style (he was very lucky not to be hurt) and I had to cycle with Andy and Alex a very long way up some very high hills. Not only did I not have Neil to keep me going but the quicker pace along with the weather and terrain made quitting feel like a very easy option several times throughout the day. Then and at many points during this trip I have struggled but the thought of what I am achieving personally (and the fact I am able enough to do it) along with the money I am raising for people who have a far tougher time than I ever do while cycling – which is difficult enough (although I will need a lot more to get me through future days) – keeps me going.
So how would I sum up cycling in America so far? Early mornings, late nights, horrible energy food/drinks, being able to eat lots of food (yes!), sweaty sweatiness, ridiculous sun tans (although the fingerless gloves have stopped the blisters), aching, triple whopper super dupper sizes, quiet scenic roads, smelly busy cities, short hair, friendly people, punctures, getting lost, smells…, fun fast down hills, painfully steep up hills, and basically so far an amazing and unique adventure.
Well that’s all for now, but will try to give some more cycling updates soon – feel free to now click the ‘Sponsor us’ Leo Xx (P.S. missing everyone at home lots and lots and can’t wait to see y’all again soooon – and will try harder on the postcard front!)