Tag Archives: essex

Day 16: Last day in England

I set off from Colchester fairly early in the morning. I was quite fortunate to find a secluded park tooked away near the river that runs adjacent to the town. It was a comfortable but very damp night, with low lying mist present once again that morning. I cooked up sausages and beans again after a warm tea and decided to make most of an easy day and do some filming.

DSC_0548

For those that do camp, putting down a soggy tent is not fun, and makes it takes far longer to do aswell. After waking at 7:30Am I left just after 9AM, so quite a long start.

DSC_0561

DSC_0587

I was soon on my way on the last 17 or so miles towards Harwich. The road was fairly flat with few hills to keep me from falling asleep. The countryside was fairly pristeen with fields lined with wild hedgegroves often fruiting with blackberries and rosehips. I took a good opportunity with break to take a few photos and videos along the way.

DSC_0551

DSC_0550

DSC_0554

There were a few older roads that I could follow alongside the A12, which was far more plesant than I thought it would have been. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. It was thrilling to have an easy day for once in england – a good consolation for the terrible weather it carelessly dished out over the past two weeks.

DSC_0552

I wasted a good amount of time recording some video using the tripod in many akward positions – some more sucessful that others. Back the A12 I was around 8 miles to Harwich and shortly after in the distance I saw someone walking down from a white land rover. I didn’t think much initially, but who gets out of their car and walks down the side of the road? The woman came up to me, and fanatically said “Brilliant Job. Unbelievable. Getting something tonight with this”. Momentarrily I asked if she wanted a photo, but said that’s fine. I look at the red note that she gave me. It was £50.

DSC_0594

That’s the first time I’ve been one, so I was both shocked and thrilled at the great generosity of an individual without asking questins. Perhaps a rickshaw speaks for itself. Tediously difficult and only the brave and mad will attempt it.

I arrived up in Harwich and met a Canadian couple cycling on a recumberant tandem with a trailer – very unusual and was cycling around Europe. It was my first cycle tourers that I had met on the trip so it was a great pleasure to talk to them. They had travelled in Eastern Europe last November and said that the weather was cold, and they had to finish at 3, but I hope that I will get down to Turkey by then. Another woman was waiting there, who lived in the Middle East and provided I got there would help share some contacts who can help me sort out paperwork.

Later in the small town of Dovecourt next to Harwich, I went to a coffee shop to frantically sort out an affair with a solar panel that had stopped working. I was interrupted from the window by a woman who pointed at the rickshaw and looked at me and nodded. I assumed she wanted a ride. Later she came in and asked if she could take her old mother on it too as it would make her extremly happy.

After closing hour, I went to find them and they were there outside. I took them around Harwich and thought it was an unbelievable and it truly made their day!. They were friendly characters and the old woman kept calling me ‘Chicken’ and emphasised with colourful language that probably made her the most enthusiastic person I have met so far. She made me two cups of coffee and a quick lunch to thank me for making one of her dreams come true. A young lad took it for a ride around the block with passengers and came back shattered – “gave my ticker a good go”, he said. I think from that he showed great admiration for what I was doing and it was interesting to hear abit about Harwich and what it’s like to live there.

DSC_0596

As you can imagine, martime towns are on the decline and having ask, finding work is difficult – to work at the local port there is a ten year waiting list. My final ride took them to the nearby shop for a drink and some cigarettes but it made her day. It came to six o’clock and I said my farewells since it would be dark in an hour.

I went up hill and found a fish and chip shop someone recommended earlier. It was owned by an Asian family, their father couldn’t speak english, but his eyes lit up as his daughter translated what I was doing and smiled when our eyes met. They took a few pictures and wished me well on my trip – I just wished they could have made the portion size larger…

I set up camp near the International Port ready for an early start. Inside the tent, I watched an episode of Jungle Gold and sent some emails to Warmshowers hosts to arrange some places to stay when I get to Holland. It’s like camping but with some luxury for once and if I wanted I can sit on the rickshaw! I just wish it had a fold out table and bed then it would be perfect.

DSC_0597

A few items that went missing or broke that day. Luckily that should be taken care of and a new solar panel will be shipped to a good friend Michael who lives in Dusseldorf, Germany. In short it had been one of the best days of the trip except for the breakages. Meeting straight on the enthusiasm for what I was doing in Harwich, I soon realised that there is a good chance that a rickshaw around the world may just work, but also be fun!

Day 15: The World Rickshaw Taxi goes to Essex

After staying in Wetherspoons and enjoying the luxury of free wifi – enabling me to communciate with my parents via skype I finished for the evening, later than planned. I camped a short stroll aarlier. eway in the adjacent park situated along a small river. Setting up a tent in the dark is becoming second nature now and leaves little difficulty other than picking a suitable spot. I pretty much dozed away quite quickly. That day was a particular struggle and I had to sleep carefully so I didn’t abruptly wake to the agony of leg cramps – this has happened on a few occasions in the past.

I woke at 5AM, to the sound of heavy traffic along a busy road at the side of me. I was reliefed when I looked at the time as I wasn’t prepared to wake up and just put the ear plugs in and snoozed for another two and half hours. I woke to a mist that left tent damp, but made nature glisten with dew that morning.

DSC_0512

Breakfast was served. Muesli with digestive biscuits and a bit of broken chocolate topped of with water. A lovely rickshawers diet!

DSC_0503

Having packed up my stuff, I took some more video footage and set off – eventually.

Much of the morning was quite un-eventful. It was a fairly straighforward ride alongside a dual-carriage way – there was a pavement at the side. Essex is suprisingly more hilly than what it appears but was becoming far easier. I was going to plot the elevation data but I’ve discovered that the sensor has stopped working…

Although it appeared I was going fast, it didn’t seem like I was getting anywhere. I eventually found that the added stability of three wheels has one great advantage. It provides the opportunity for easy reading whilst on the go. I was given a book to read along the way, and I just propped myself over the handlebars and started reading. I wasn’t even feeling sick and it made the monotomy of that A-road become less apparent.

DSC_0518

I arrived in Colchester. The approach to the high street features a very steep hill – I sighed when it came into sight. I got some looks and even some cheering as I struggled up this hill. It was a relief to get to the top.

I spent most of the afternoon taking it easier and just having a bit of a walk around, as I had infact made good time from travelling quite early that morning.

DSC_0530

DSC_0535

DSC_0547

DSC_0545

DSC_0538

DSC_0531

DSC_0533

DSC_0526

I also went to the bicycle shop in Colchester. I said that the pedal was creaking and I thought it could be the bottom-bracket. Luckily their hunch about the pedal was correct. It was loose – to my greatest suprise; as they tightened it, the pedal came loose. All it needed was tightening up, the particularly annoying creak disappeared instantly!

Colchester is a plaesant place and the people were more friendly than I experienced going through London. I met a few guys parked outside the castle who whished me well on my travels – if they read this “Thankyou!”. I had a bit of time to get in some shopping and chill on the back seat reading my book.

DSC_0521

I got interrupted and some students asked me if they could have a ride. I took them for a quick trip around the town and they couldn’t believe I was doing such an insane trip!

I later stopped off at a pub and met two nice women who bought me a sausage roll and a pint and were really interested in my adventure. It’s always nice to be able to explain what you’re doing without having to rush with everyone’s busy lifestyles.

Tonight will be an interesting finding a camping spot. It’s dark now and I’ve been told a few places to camp about half a mile away. Should be interesting, although I’ll stay in the pub for now.

Weekend and Day 14 – Greenwich to Chelmsford, Essex

I spent much of the weekend with my cousin Richard who lives in Greenwich. He welcomed me in with a strong hearty meal – two steaks and some roast vegetables; particularly good after a long wet day through London. It was pleasant to relax a bit under a roof and get back into a slightly normal routine.

The next day I met their daughter, who was a charmingly a cheeky girl with her smile. For breakfast I managed to eat six weetabix, which seemed like no hard task. After fixing a few things on the website, I went into London (as a tourist) just to relax a bit and comprehend my next actions whilst absorbing a few sites.

DSC_0409

DSC_0419

DSC_0410

DSC_0432

Suprisingy the last two weeks have not been phyiscally tough but also great difficulty to deal mentally. Attempting to concentrate for hours on end when the elements are against you becomes draining and over the course of several days it can make a huge impact on overal morale and attitude, as I witnessed last Thursday. Sometimes you just need that break to get you back on track.

It was quite strange to see other rickshaws / pedicabs in London. I saw more of them out in the sun and just wondered why someone would want to go on something that looked like it came from a junk yard…

I met up with good friend James, whom I lived with three years whilst at University. It was nice to meet up and I took him for a short ride whilst in the center of London. On Friday I later met up with him at went back with him to Worcester Park, near Epsom, to go to a scout meeting. I have never been to one, or the opportunity, so I thought it would be interesting to see this. Forty children under one roof is a lot of energy and it was pleasing to see that it this was channelled into some simple games. It’s suprising how much team work made a difference in these small games, unfortunatly I’m in a one man team. Afterwards we went for a quick one at the pub with the scout leaders and heading back home.

Despite its shortness it was good to see him. I left and went towards Epsom on the train, to see a bit of the Tour of Britain. I waited about half an hour for them to pass through. It was interesting to see the crowd build up along the road. However, the fraction of time (twenty seconds) of seeing some cyclists whizzing by didn’t particularly amaze me. I think I agree that the build-up and the atmosphere retained afterwards is what makes it interesting rather than the race itself.

DSC_0473

I later met up with my cousin and his wife and just had a browse around the area ater an unusually late brunch. Later in the evening, we returned and played some pool.

Sunday was a rather lazy day. I met up with my other cousin from London and walked around Greenwich Park and was fairly pleasant just walking rather than exciting. My legs started to feel fresher compared to Friday where they suprisingly were quite stiff after a 40 mile day through London on Thursday.

It was nice to meet up with family, my cousin haven’t remembered meeting him apart from when I was four, was great to learn about each other and what we’ve been up to. People ask why I am cycling around the world on a rickshaw: it’s a discovery of the world and one-self and how we fit into it.

Day 14:
We move on today – nearly two weeks formally in. Having sent my farewells, I set of for Woolwich. I was hoping to meet up with my sponsor, but nothing had been formally arranged and having not got through to anyone decided that it would put me under great pressure to travel a further 20 miles back and not get out of London that day. I also got a ferry booked for Thursday and I wanted to arrive in good time. The pedal keeps on creaking and I am pretty sure the bottom bracket is on its way out. I hope to get this looked at over the next day or two before departing for Holland.

I set of for Woolwich for a ferry crossing along the River Thames – suprisingly unlike most things nowadays it’s free. It’s worth a go for a laugh. The crew laughed and joked as I entered and was nice start as they pushed me to the front of the queue.

DSC_0483

DSC_0480

The day was gray but was exceedingly humid, making work sweaty. I continue after crossing towards Romford.

The only thing that I had to do was set up a Bank Account with Metro Bank. My last opportunity since they are only based in London. They can set up an account instantly and provide you a card within an hour. The greatest advantage is that they have free commisions payments abroad – only one other Building Society offers this in the UK and if you are in London, I would definitely suggest you set one up for the future, just in case you go on Holiday. They pride themselves on service and I can see why – their clerks are friendly and offer nice conversation. The banking process is simple and requires no ridiculous processes.

I moved on towards Chelmsford. I travelled along a dual carriage way accidentally – and couldn’t get off. Trucks whirled by quite close, but the shoulder provided enough space to safely get through and even have a picnic break later on. I finally was out of London and a short while after, I stopped at a rest station to pump up the tyres with a hand pump, which took about five minutes as one side had started to become flat over the past to weeks.

DSC_0490

I moved onto a small quiter road through some nice villages towards Chelmsford and although Essex is supposibly flat, was still relatively hilly in places, but provided some nice views.

DSC_0496

arrived in Chelmsford and just toured around. People kept asking me if I was starting a business here. “No”, I replied and just insisted I was passing through on my world journey which they couldn’t believe. After leaving London, people have once again become more receptive and a bit more curious.

DSC_0497

DSC_0498

Placed myself quite perfectly tonight. An open public park right next to a Wetherspoons with Free WIFI. winner winner! chicken dinner!

I also forgot to mention a big thank you to everyone’s strong support! This rickshaw is ofcourse people powered!