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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!