Thursday, 1 July 2010
Day 1 Little Dean's Yard to Canterbury
A late start left us full of anticipation as we left Westminster and headed off around Parliament Square. We were both excited and a little unsure, and of course entirely unaware of the scale of the journey that lay before us. This first day was designed to be one of the shortest, but at 90 km we knew we were still going to have to put some effort in. Naive and inexperienced as we were, we simply believed that 90 km translated as 5 hours at slightly below 20 km/h, perhaps coupled with a few breaks, thereby totalling a maximum of 6 hours. We soon found out that it was going to be far longer than expected, as the terrain of southern England was making our journey absolute hell. Mile upon mile of hill after hill had left us exhausted and demoralised, and as we reached Rochester, our halfway point, we realised it was nearing 4pm. Along the way, we had experienced that bane of all cyclists; Shooters Hill. The second highest point in London, this hill had left us utterly unable to continue. Cliché dictates that ‘the view makes up for the exertion’. It doesn’t. By 8pm, we had still only reached Faversham, a small village 20 or so kilometres from Canterbury, where we had a fish and chip dinner. To be honest, probably the best fish and chips any of us had ever had. In the end we arrived in Canterbury at around 10:00pm.