Follow the Rhine to Rotterdam, grab a ferry to Harwich, cycle to London, then Cambridge, then Sheffield, then Stranraer in Scotland, then hop a ferry to Belfast skip down to Blackrock, pick up 200 or so cyclists and roll out to Greystones. That’s the sum total of what’s left of Revolution Cycle: less than three weeks and a little over a thousand Km.
No visas to sort, deserts to cross or mountain’s to worry about(except for Bray head).
On Tuesday, I was in the process of buying a bottle of olive oil. I hesitated. And put it back on the shelf. Not sure why, I continued my forage though the RhineLand Aldi. As I got to the checkout I remembered the oil- I had found two pork chops to fry for dinner with bilinger marked on them in red letters which I think means bargain. “Feck it, I’ll use butter”.
Two hours later we’d pitched our tents under darkness in the town park, on a soft lawn near the slides, under cherry blossoms and crystal stars, just next to the Rhine. Watching the barges chug slowly upstream we munched our chops, potatoe salad and buttered veggies, and I realised why I didn’t buy the oil.
Its a prosaic, and possibly boring reason for you, our patient reader, but for me it was significant. We won’t be on the road long enough to finish a bottle of olive oil. For the first time since November 08 we have to start running down our provisions- who wants to use oil from a grubby Kazakh plastic lemonade bottle or stock cubes stored in a greasy crisp packet inside an a smelly Argentinian tupperware box at home? Fine for the road, but not for a domestic kitchen.
Not buying the olive oil means we’re nearly there. It means that soon we’ll stop moving, Soon we’ll put away our bikes and other childish things. And that will be that.
Its not just oil that we’ve changed our attitude to as the last grains of sand trickle out on this, the time of our lives. Much of our kit is on its last legs too- Si’s shoes are held together with tape, my pump has developed an astmathic wheeze, our socks are holed, and the backside of one of my cycling shorts is so thread bare and transparent that you could be forgiven for thinking that it came from a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. A few months ago this would have been cause for concern but now we just need things to hang in there for a little longer- if not we tape them and make do.
We’re hanging in there. And hanging on to the last morsels of this little adventure.