Day 6

It’s been a funny old day. Very fulfilling, very tiring and very stressful. All seemed normal in the morning. We set off a bit earlier so we could arrive at Thurrock DC before the shift went home. Welwyn Garden City to Thurrock id not the most straightforward route on a bike. You have to get the balance between safety and time saving. Today we got it wrong.

Part of the route found us on the A406 North Circular road. We thought Sunday morning would be ok . Wrong. I have been driving for 30 years and have no problem with busy roads. Try it on a bike! We had 3 lanes of traffic. Vehicles merging from the left and right. We were pushing as hard as we could, moving at 20-30 mph but this was still no measure for the vehicles with brainless drivers. Then it happened. I was riding in front of Karl with the van behind him. I was tucked in tight on the inside lane to keep out of the way as much as possible. The middle and outside lanes were busy so 2 drivers decided it was acceptable to shoot up the hard shoulder to overtake us. The first driver shocked me as i wasn’t expecting it. The second driver did the same but all of a sudden the hard shoulder ran out because of a bridge ahead. Rather than do the right thing at the time and break and tuck back in behind the van, the driver swung into my lane. I had nowhere to go with no warning. The car was travelling at around 70mph and missed me by just a few centimetres. Poor Matt was screaming at me on the radio as he could see what was happening but could do nothing about it. That was it. I had had enough.

We left the A406 at the next exit. We stopped in a layby for me to empty my shorts. We reworked the route with more sensible roads and set off again. We arrived at Thurrock just before 1pm with 50 miles on the clock. Not bad, considering. Despite getting there early, we still missed most of the shift so didn't stay too long. Right, Harlow next. The roads were a bit quieter but it was getting hot now. The route we took felt like it was uphill all the way. We were both getting really tired now. I had arranged to meet a guy called Rob Clarke at Harlow Metro store before they closed at 4pm. Rob is the charity partnership manager for the Eastern region and had given up his Sunday afternoon to ride an exercise bike in store to collect on our behalf so popping in to see him was the least we could do. We arrived at the store at around 3.45 so perfect timing. Rob had done a great job for us and we look forward to finding out what he collected tomorrow.

We got to the hotel with 82 miles in our legs. Our reward for our efforts was a massage and a cold bath. Lovely. Another big day tomorrow. We go back to Harlow Metro first thing where we have been told by Steph the store manager that they have a greeting arranged for us (and bacon rolls!) From there it’s on to Huntington store before a visit to Peterborough DC in the afternoon. Itvs looking like another 80+ mile day. Only another 1000 and we will be home.

Simon