Chinnor to Dorking
Chinnor to DorkingApril
We left little later than we would’ve liked for Dorking and headed straight up Chinnor Hill – and let me tell you that is one hell of a hill! It just keeps going and going – and with nearly 40kgs on my bike I was struggling! I definitely let a few swear words rip as I tackled that one.
The main downside to riding a loaded bike is that riding very slowly is better than walking! Yes even if that slow speed is 2.5 mph! Pushing the bike is heavy and it puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder and calf muscles. So basically, when going up hill you’ve just got to dig deep and keep pushing the pedals.
On this day we started to question our 65mile a day plan, we’ve decided that it is a little ambitious this early on in the trip. Whilst is is do-able and we are happy doing it, we’re our for 9 hours a day just to do 65 miles. This leaves little time for rest and downtime, soaking in the scenery etc. As we’ve booked out itinerary until Paris we’ll need to get there before we can release the pressure. We’re both looking forward to it.
The start of the ride was incredibly cold and hilly. We were both demoralised, our £40 “all weather cycling gloves” had let the water in and we couldn’t feel our fingers or toes. I had considered a train to Dorking because the cold made the ride seem impossible. Why we didn’t plan 2 nights at Stew’s gran’s seems stupid now, but we are so focused on getting to Paris – possibly a little too focused. We must stop and enjoy the rides and listen to our bodies.
The highlight of the day was pulling unto a corner shop, buying 2 coffees and 2 sets of Marigolds. These Marigolds were life savers! They replaced the “water proof gloves” and the coffees warmed our hands. In the time Stew and I have been together he’s never drank a coffee, but he didn’t turn his nose up at a machine latte – we would’ve done anything for some heat!
After 20 miles the sun started to shine and we thawed out! Tonight we stayed with a warmshowers.org host, Peter and his wife Mo. For those of you who don’t know, Warm Showers is, in their own words:
The Warm Showers Community is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. People who are willing to host touring cyclists sign up and provide their contact information, and may occasionally have someone stay with them and share great stories and a drink. All members agree to host others either now or in the future, but for some members hosting may be in years or even decades in their future.
Peter was fascinating to stay with. First of all he and his wife Mo had the most beautiful home and it was a real pleasure to stay their. The bedroom was comfortable so we both slept like babies! A hot cup of tea was waiting for us on arrival and a chicken stew for dinner which was beautifully cooked.
The best part of warm showers is that the community encourages hosts and guests to eat together, Peter provided the food and we provided the wine, an Argentina Malbec with some nibbles too! During meal times – dinner and breakfast Peter, Stewart and I shared stories. Peter was especially interested in the trip and Stew’s 2,500 solo trip from John O’ Groats to Lands End. Peter told us about his bike packing trip across America with his son and he even managed to put us in touch with his friend who’s currently working in Kyrgyzstan. We were really grateful for this contact and we will certainly be in touch! It will be really beneficial for us to have someone to share hints and tips as we learn to navigate the Middle East. It was really insightful to stay with a fellow bike-packer full of experience, useful tips and we were especially grateful when he helped us re-route to Charing due to roadworks.
We loved our stay with Peter we left with full hearts and we were very well fed too – everything we needed to power us through the next day!