14degrees off the beaten track
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August 3rd, 2007 | categorizilation: all categories,England

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Today’s distance / 今日の走行距離: 105km
Average speed / 平均速度: 12.4km/h
Time on skateboard / 走行時間: 8h 25m
Total skateboarding distance to date / 今までスケボで走った距離: 1064.88km (plus 428.5km)
Total cycling distance to date / 今まで自転車で走った距離: 11,800km
Ascent / 上り: +480m
Descent / 下り: -500m

Now this was a mammoth day. I only took one photo:

Fine gravel for skating on along the Lea Valley Walkway leading into London, England

That fairly much sums up the day. More rough paths. More attempts at telepathy with the National Cycle Network planners, trying to find the at times elusive National Cycle Route 1. If I had just gone straight from Chelmsford to London, it would only have been about 50km. I went twice that distance today, because skating on the main roads here in England is courting death. There are no shoulders, the roads are rough chipseal, and many people who drive vehicles seem to be cross-bred with tasmanian devil genes or something. Mad, I tell you, mad.

I followed Route 1 sucessfully until the western side of Harlow. But once again I lost the scent. I spent a harrowing hour on the main road from Harlow to Roydon, from Roydon to Bumble’s Green. A welcome break came near Harlow however with Dilwar, a Brit with Bengali heritage who invited me into the restaurant he was working at and fed me delicious onion bagies (deep fried curry onion balls with Indian herbs and spices) and cola. It was great meeting you, Dilwar!

Eventually certain that I would meet my demise either by road rage or car grill, I left the main road and headed towards a convenient information center in the Lea Valley Nature Park. The park staff were very helpful and I found that all I needed to do was follow the Lea Valley Walkway all the way into the center of London. Easy!

Well, easier. The asphelt did not last long. But the fine gravel footpath was much more preferrable to the main road. I pushed on, mind numbed by the headwind and gravel path, until I finally arrived in London.

I called my friend Ailsa who I was going to be staying with in London. I told her not to worry about whether I would find her place or not. I had her coordinates keyed into my GPS. I would be OK. Half an hour later I found myself in the shadiest neigbourhood on earth. There was a grown woman comatose on the footpath, paramedics wandering casually over to her, donning rubber gloves. Gangs of youths were loitering in the middle of intersections…

Man, Ailsa lives in a rough part of town, I thought.

Wrong. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I had the wrong coordinates for her place. I was 5km off. Remember, this was after 8 hours of skating. There was nothing for it but to skate back towards her place. Eventually, after eight and a half hours, I arrived at Ailsa’s place. I was knackered, but happy to see familiar faces; Ailsa another friend, Fiona, are friends from my university days.

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    Permanent Link     Comments (2)

Comment by carl w. — August 9, 2007 @ 4:58 am | post a comment

Shady parts of London, there's a few. You want to be careful out there it's suspect old place. Lived in hackney for a while you can get yourself killed there quite badly.

Also try to stay away from the roads cos you'll be seen as fair game…

anyway there you go well done for making it, enjoy the weather while you can.


from darkestests surrey

Comment by mahmoud — August 10, 2007 @ 1:34 pm | post a comment

really great photo

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