Never mind cycling 860-odd miles in six days, I’m struggling to work out how I’m going to make it to Watford Junction tomorrow morning with all this lot.
All being well I’ll be catching a train tomorrow morning at 0649. I’ll have to change at Clapham Junction and catch another train to Watford, where I’ll meet up with the TRAT-mobile (ok, a minibus) that’ll take us down to Land’s End.
This means I have to get four bags, bike and weary body to Brighton station, which shouldn’t be too hard as I have a mate helping out. But then comes the biggest challenge of the entire expedition: getting all that stuff from platform to platform at Clapham Junction. I have eight minutes, provided the trains are on time, to find out which platform and then transfer the stuff onto the right one. If I remember rightly, the only way to get from platform to platform at Clapham Junction is to go down a long flight of stairs and then climb up another one. Hmmm.
In a dry run earlier today I managed to cover ten feet or so before needing a sit-down and a cup of tea, so I reckon with the adrenaline that’ll be coursing through my system tomorrow morning I’ll be fine.
Why all that stuff, you ask? Well there’s the bike, obviously. The big blue bag contains all the clothing I’ll need for almost any conceivable weather condition on or off the bike. The smaller black bag contains all the bike stuff: tools, tubes, lubes and gloves (don’t even get me started on the gloves), as well as the stuff I’ll need en-route like sun lotion, bug repellent and so on. The rucksack contains laptop (so I can blog en-route), camera and various other gizmos, along with chargers, batteries and so on. And the red bag contains a pair of cycling shoes, a box of recovery bars and five (FIVE!) boxes of Mule Bars – it weighs slightly more than all the other bags put together.
I’m carrying all those lovely Mule Bars because those lovely Mule Bar people offered me a discount if I bought enough boxes, so I took orders from my fellow TRATers without really thinking through the potential transport issues.
I’m thinking maybe I should get to Clapham, wave my hand in the air and ask for some assistance in the hope that an old-school porter will approach me, doff his cap, scoop up my stuff and carry it all without complaint to the right platform. I shall stroll nonchalantly in his wake looking haughtily from side to side as I ponder whether to tip him or not. I’ll let you know how I get on…