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Day One, bonsoir

I am writing this to myself as a record of my cycling trip each day. I've blind copied you in just in case you're interested, but if not, let me know, I won't be offended.

Almost didn't make it. With my back hurting was looking for any excuse not to set off, including the weather.

Despite having planned this trip for months, it was only last night I packed the panniers, put them on the bike for the first time and discovered that's a lot of weight. At 7am this morning, as I pushed the bike out through the front door, hadn't appreciated how heavy it is. There's two sets of steep steps down from my front door and I almost lost hold of the bike, which would have resulted in a big crash, damage and a great reason not to set off that I hadn't even thought of. This would have really pissed me off as I'd just thrown away the remaining milk so couldn't even have made a cup of tea.

So sadly didn't have that excuse and set off in the half light and drizzle for the ferry terminal. Fortunately only 10 minutes ride away.

Once there had my new Irish passport presented and scanned for the first time and I'm in the queue. They let me wait in the customs shed to keep out of the rain. I'm first on to the ferry, which included the first hill of the trip up the ramp. With the bike now secured and me on deck, I can't really believe I'm on my way. Shame about the drizzle and gloom. Flying south in a aircraft seems a lot more sensible.

There was one other cyclist on the ferry and we got chatting. He had already done lots of cycle touring and had a lot of advice to give.

I may have a new mate. He confirmed, forget about cycling, just put yourself on a train. He did this immediately at Cherbourg railway station, boarding a train for Paris. I was amazed how some of the other ferry passengers were really friendly. Asked where we were going. One lady even took our photo. Must be the high viz and very tight cycling leggings. They thought the trip sounded amazing - sitting in their dry, warm cars. Temporarily that made me feel good.

I set off cycling, about 40kms to my first overnight stay at Barnville-Carteret. There's a big cliff at the back of Cherbourg and the only way out is up. I have to admit to using a bit of e-bike assistance up the hills only and it was brilliant. When you're pulling 3 tons uphill, with a bad back, in the drizzle, buying an e-bike was a bloody good move.

Managed to find the village and hotel without electronic assistance. French roads and signs working so far. Might try google tomorrow.

Have loaded the route in to the phone in preparation. Both phones are now switched on and roaming.

Turns out the place I chose to stay in is very small, the summer season is over, it's raining and a bit miserable and there's no restaurants open. So a very odd assortment from a small convenience shop ate in the room satisfies hunger. Not quite the first night celebration I was planning. Thinking I might need to pick bigger towns for overnight stays.

The room is full of damp cycling kit hung up in the hope of drying overnight.

So, pleased I got away, but badly need some sunshine and a hot meal. If not might just do the ferry travel, take the accolades and sneakily turn around outside the ferry terminal. I could do Cherbourg and back in a day.

No attached photos as one, it's wet and gloomy and two, I don't know how to transfer them from my phone to this chromebook. Got years to work that out.

Best part of the day - a complete stranger of a woman sounding like she wished she was coming with me. Second - hot shower in the hotel room.


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