Sunday, 1 September 2013

600 miles. We did it!

WAAAHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! This is the first word that comes to mind whilst writing this post. It has been quite an adventure though. Although we are both pleased that we got there and that we made it, we are also a bit sad that it's over. There have been ups and downs, and not just regarding the terrain. But we enjoyed it immensely and weird though it may sound, we both wish we were getting back on our bikes again to keep cycling.

Carmen very pleased she made it
So lets tell you a little about what happened on those last two days towards, what we regarded at the beginning of the challenge as a land far far away; Land's End.

Day 13

After spending the night in a bed (which I must say was EXTREMELY soft!) and waking up and having a BIG breakfast we were set for a long day of cycling. We had 50 miles to cover to reach a place not many of you will probably have heard of before, called Lizard Point. Why were we heading to Lizard Point? (especially considering it added an extra 20 miles to our total journey) It was because it is the most Southernmost point in England, so we can claim that we visited three of the four most extreme points of mainland England in one cycle ride; and not the fact that we are just crazy. (although sometimes I do think that)

Me at Lizard Point
To start the day after our lovely breakfast we got on a tiny ferry to go across the river to a little village called Fowey. Once there we had the hard task of going up an extremely steep hill to get to the main road, which resulted in the good old fashioned task of pushing the bikes up the hill! Once at the top it was actually really nice cycling for the rest of the day, bar some very long but slowly inclining hills, which our legs did not appreciate too much! It was quite an uneventful cycle really, not really even having any real stops along the way, just the essentials: a quick bite of food and the toilet. We arrived at the village at about 6:30pm and decided not to go all the way to the point itself due to it being a bit later now and not having much light of day left, plus the fact we had to set up our tent whilst it was still light, so we left it for the next morning.

The campsite we were staying in that night was quite different to all the others we had stayed at throughout the journey. It could best be described as a hippy's paradise. The name of the campsite was Henry's Campsite and it is the most Southerly campsite in the whole of the UK! (pictures are on their website). You have your very own enclosed pitch spaces, lots of plants (palm trees included), wood shacks and huts, all very bohemian style. They even encourage people to play acoustics!

After setting up the tent we found ourselves a nice place to eat for the evening. It was here that our day was really made. Firstly (although not most importantly) they had 8 hour pulled pork burgers on the menu!!! We both got one of these each and they were delicious! Secondly (and still not most importantly) we both had a taste of cornish alcohol, Carmen getting a half pint of Korev Ale and myself getting a Cornish Rattler Pear cider (both again tasting lovely). But thirdly (and yes most importantly) we were sitting next to a lovely couple and their little girl and we got chatting, and they asked us what our tops were for (as we were wearing our purple Dravet tops). So we told them we were doing a sponsored cycle ride for Dravet Syndrome, etc etc, and they were kind enough to give us £10 there and then for the cause! This was what made our day, and we were really quite chuffed that someone who had only just met us was willing to do that! (we didn't even know their names). We would both like to say a big thank you to them though! And not that I am trying to stereotype people at all (okay maybe a little here), but people from Wolverhampton are very generous!

My Cornish Rattler beside Carmen's Korev, and you can see the nice man from Wolverhampton just to the right
Day 14 (Final Day)

We both woke up for the last day feeling rather tired after a quite restless night in the tent. But what better thing to wake you up a bit than going down to the edge of Lizard Point to admire the view, and then coming back to get Cornish award winning ice cream for breakfast!

Carmen admiring the view at Lizard Point
And another one of the view as it is so good!

One more of the amazing view (because I have the power to!)
This got us all fired up to go. So after finishing our ice creams we got back on our bikes for the last 36 and a half miles! It started off slow due to a pretty strong headwind, but as we got warmed up and the wind lessened off a bit we started to pick up the pace a bit. Along the way we did have a nice encounter with a couple of cars though that slowed down as they went past us and shouted at us to get out of the road (one being an old lady which stuck in my head particularly). I won't mention what I wished I had shouted back to her!

We stopped off for lunch along the way at a Morrisons before then heading off for the last 12 miles! We were stopped very soon after though by Adrian Fox from Saturday Sport at Chelmsford and Southend radio station, who called me up to check on our progress, which they had been following for the previous two weeks. After a 10 minute interview we were on our way again. The last 10 miles passed quite slowly for us, I don't know if time actually slowed down, or if we slowed down (although the speedometer didn't show that we did), but everytime we  kept seeing signs it was only getting a mile closer. Once we got within the last mile we saw some cyclists coming the other way, and as we cycled past they all shouted to us well done, which made us smile.

We then rounded a long corner to see Land's End in front of us, it was amazing coming down that final stretch, with flags up and a finish line at the end (not just for us unfortunately). Finally arriving there we were over the moon! We were lucky enough to have my parents meet us there at the end to welcome us with a nice little banner that was homemade with a couple of balloons to make it seem even better. We even had our photo taken in front of the landmark sign, which you would normally have to pay for, but we snuck in front to catch a quick picture when no one was looking! I must say there is not a lot at Land's End unless you are a cyclist having just completed a long ride, as that is what it seemed set up for. Although again the views do make it worthwhile going!

Us with the homemade banner and balloons

Us in front of the Land's End sign overlooking the ocean

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Reaching the 500 mile mark

These last couple of days have been tough. We have had to get past some very nasty hills along the way!

Day 11

The main highlight of these two days has definitely been Dartmoor. I don't know if any of you have been there before, but it is unlike anywhere else in England, that I have been before anyway. It is so wild and untouched by civilisation, it's kind of liberating really. The main downside to all this wildness is that any roads or paths tend to follow the land quite roughly meaning you get some really large hills with some steep inclines and not always on the best surface.

Carmen overlooking the wilds of Dartmoor
And nestled within Dartmoor are some lovely little villages made up of some extremely small communities. One of which we decided to stay in for the night, a little place called Princetown. We stayed in what Lonely Planets opinion is the best bunkhouse in the UK! 

Now I had no idea what a bunkhouse was before visiting this little village. Apparently a bunkhouse is camping but without a tent. Basically it is a place where there are beds with no covers or anything, just mattresses, and you use your own sleeping bags and pillows. Apparently these kind of places are very common in the mountains in Romania (so Carmen tells me). The reason that ours was awarded as the best bunkhouse though was due to the great facilities that were upstairs. It had a big lounge area, with a huge sofa and several bean bags, and joining on to it a big kitchen. To make things even better though, the whole place was just for us that night as no one else was staying there!

This was the perfect end to a very hilly day.

As you can see, not the best surface for cycling, but some beautiful views in the background
Day 12

Day 12 continued in Dartmoor, although not for very long. After 5 miles we were out of there and heading for Plymouth, with some very relieved looks on our faces! Not only this, but within those 5 miles we hit the 500 mile mark, received with some big cheers from us. We got to Plymouth really quickly after a long slow day previously and headed for the Tamar Bridge, which would take us across into the last county on our journey, Cornwall. This was a landmark moment as this was to be the 10th county we would pass through!

Carmen with a wheel in Devon and a wheel in Cornwall, celebrating reaching our 10th county
After passing into Cornwall we thought the hills might get a bit easier, but we were of course wrong. So it was slow going again, but we made up for it by stopping off in a little village to have some fresh Cornwall baked Cornish pasties, which were delicious, and I regret not taking a picture of to show you here. Much better than the ones made in Essex I must say!

For the rest of the day we headed for the tiny coastal village of Polruan, which most of you have probably never heard of. It is a very quaint village situated on one of the steepest hills I have seen. So steep in fact that we had to push the bikes downhill, or rather the bikes pull us downhill. This was to stop us going off the end of the street into the English Channel, which would not have been an ideal ending to the day I must say.

We were lucky enough to stay in a little holiday cottage in this village due to a friend of my parents letting us use their sisters cottage. The added bonus was that my parents decided to make the trip down and welcome us to the cottage and treat us to a nice pub dinner! And even better afterwards, a nice warm bed!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Getting there!

We haven't been updating our blog much, shame on us, but our last four days have been very long, although not necessarily due to cycling. We have covered some more distance, we're up to 468.5 miles, which puts us at over three quarters of the way there! Just a quarter to go now!!!

Day Seven

We planned this day as an easy, enjoying the sights and doing a bit of sightseeing kind of day. Partly because we needed a slower day, after a long week, but also because our final destination, Christchurch was only 31 miles away, including detours.

So we left the campsite and we headed towards Lyndhurst, the capital of New Forest. What we didn't realise was that this was the Friday of the bank holiday weekend, and therefore, the place was packed with tourists. So packed in fact that we were stuck in traffic for some time!

Day 7 was a very let's spoil ourselves kind of day. But to our defence, most of the towns in New Forest had some mouth watering things to offer, like these giant eclairs for example!

Look at the size of those things!

So we stopped in Lyndhurst for a pastry, we then went to Brokenhurst where we bought loads of nice fruit from the village grocer. Afterwards we stopped for a nice sandwich lunch in Lymington, which we ate on the quay, and it was accompanied by a fresh from the farm ice cream (delicious!).

Us having lunch by the quay.

For the rest of the day, we went down to the coast, to Milford on Sea, and cycled all along the coast, enjoying lovely views, until we reached Christchurch, where a lovely friend of ours has kindly offered us a bed for the night (which was lovely and soft and much appreciated!).

The highlight of the day for me (Carmen) though was when, whilst walking next to a guy he told me that 'bloody hell all the cycling I've been doing is paying off' - his words not mine. Nice confidence boost though!

Day Eight

After being well rested and well fed (nice warm buttered croissants for breakfast), we had big plans for the day. We were to reach Weymouth that day, via Corfe Castle. However, as you will see, the bank holiday weekend has ruined our plans (damn bank holiday weekend).

So the day started really nicely, with a leisurely cycle from Christchurch to Bournemouth. We even got a companion for a good 5 miles as you can see below. She even took some lovely pictures of us in action (or not).

Companion, host, cook and guide. Oh and photographer. Thank you x
In action.
Or not.
The first disappointment of the day was to find out that hot doughnuts are nowhere to be found on the beaches of Bournemouth - sort yourselves out people! Ben got a pancake instead, which was quite nice actually.

After we left Bournemouth behind we headed south of Poole, where we cheated and took the ferry to Swanage, which probably saved us a few miles, but also gave us some great views. And also gave me my first experience of going on a ferry.

Enjoying the view, after I've stopped being terrified.
Afterwards we headed to Corfe Castle where we stopped for lunch and also we thought it would be a good idea to find accommodation for the night, in Weymouth. However, thanks to the bank holiday weekend, we couldn't find anything as they were all fully booked! It seems like the whole of England has decided to go to Weymouth for the weekend. Even campsites said they were too full for our tiny tiny tent.

And so we wasted a lot of time with no results and we got really demoralised and worried about where we'd spend the night. We decided in the end to just head on and stop at every campsite or B&B and ask if they have spaces. Luckily for us, we did find one quite soon, but on the downside it meant we didn't advance as much as we would have liked. In the end, even though it was a bit of a disappointing day, we did about 35 miles, although some of it was going back and forth looking for stuff.

Day Nine

As we finished earlier the previous day we have decided on day 9 to wake up and leave earlier than usual. So, by 10.30 we already have completed 12 miles and we have decided to stop for a hot drink at Lulworth Cove. It was good that we headed down there earlier, because, as we left, a bazillion tourists have appeared out of no where, so we missed the traffic.

Lulworth Cove.
Our next stop was supposed to be the Durdle Door, but we decided to give that one a miss due to a bitchy cold rain. So we headed straight for Weymouth instead, where we stopped for lunch, a lovely, hot, bacon baguette that did wonders. And, as we were well ahead of schedule and we were trying to make up for the shorter previous days, we have decided to move our final destination forward, from Bridport to Lyme Regis instead.

And that was the start of a very unfortunate afternoon. The campsite that we chose was located at the top of a never ending - and I mean neverending - hill (Westover Hill), which was not pleasant after 60 miles of cycling.

Very slowly we made it to the campsite, set up our tent and found out that the nearest place to grab a bite was a mile and a half away, up some more hills. So we thought we'd walk instead, which was an unfortunate decision, as we had to walk on the grass alongside the A35. We finally got to the pub, but we were told we can't get fed because they stop serving food by 9 (we got there at 8.15!) and there were too many people ahead of us.

The girl behind the counter was really nice and gave us the number of an Indian take away, but that took another hour to come. By then we were tired, hungry and miserable. After the takeaway has arrived (we didn't even have enough cash to pay for it, but luckily the lady let us off a couple of quid), we had to walk back, in the dark, alongside the majestic A35. And, the cherry on top, it started raining again, so we got soaked.

With a late Indian and lots of slugs we finished what was our worst evening yet, thinking that tomorrow can only get better.

Day Ten

On this day we have officially entered the hilly county of Devon. We even entered it in style, with a couple of ups and downs and then ups again, first thing in the morning, to make sure it knackered us well for the rest of the day. Whilst going up these hills we have noticed that our legs are really tired from the ten days of cycling. That, combined with the fact that we've heard many tales of the hillyness of both Devon and Cornwall, made us decide to head to Exeter, get a cheap room and stay there for two nights, get our bodies a well deserved chance to recover, after 10 days of constant cycling in which we covered 468.5 miles (754km).

The way to Exeter was quite pleasant in the end, quite flat compared with what's ahead of us. We have found accommodation in the halls of the University of Exeter, which was really handy as we needed to wash our clothes because we ran out of clean stuff, and do other housekeeping chores.

So now we're clean and today, day 11, we're going to let our bikes and legs rest while we have a stroll around Exeter by foot. Especially as it has been a bit of domestic violence between Baby and me:


Friday, 23 August 2013

The halfway mark!

We are over half way there now! Get the champagne ready! Today we have reached the halfway mark, in distance anyway! We have done over 310 miles, and over 500 kms! (That is a lot of pedalling).

The last couple of days have again been quite eventful. Some of the highlights being: Carmen running off without me, going round in circles in Portsmouth, giving way to a cow, finding out store finder is actually pretty useless and encountering some monster hills.

Day 5

Day 5 started quite early from Petersfield and we headed south for Portsmouth to see the UK's only island city! We in fact got to see a bit of it in even greater detail as we followed a trail route which looped round in a big circle to somewhere we had previously been. Luckily though Portsmouth has some lovely views over the sea from its coast making it a nice place to see twice!

Carmen overlooking Portsmouth in the background

After going through Portsmouth we headed along the coast past Fareham, Portchester and then into Southampton over Itchen Bridge. On this bridge we saw lots of interesting signs about depression and suicide! (As you can see below) We did stop and contemplate whether it was worth continuing on in the world whilst admiring the view, but decided to carry on into Southampton. It must be said that Southampton although being a lot more industrial than Portsmouth, is very cycle friendly. Lots of cycle paths all over the city, and because of this a lot more people cycled!

Just your usual cheerful sign about suicide

After going through Southampton we then headed up into New Forest National Park where we camped for the evening.

Carmen tired out as she makes it into New Forest

Day 6

Day 6 was a day where we were never going to make a lot of progress towards Lands End, but we were going to make progress towards our 600 mile target!

Today we went up north out of New Forest to Salisbury to see the picturesque city. It has a small city centre for a city, but quite a cosy one with quite a few older buildings about. The main attraction of the city being its cathedral which we went and visited. Whilst visiting it we thought its grounds would make a perfect picnic spot, but unfortunately we had already eaten not long before.

Us at Salisbury Cathedral

After visiting the cathedral we then decided to head back towards New Forest (as we were camping in the same place as the night before). We decided to go back by a different route to the one that took us there so we could see some more of New Forest. This was later an unpopular decision with Carmen, which I even later agreed with.

The way back was quite simple at first, taking us to the fringe of the national park to a place called Redlynch. From here it got slightly more tricky. We wanted to head for Bramshaw but couldn't locate ourselves on the GPS so had to use the trusty old map for directions which made it slow going. The thing that made it even slower going though were the hills. But these weren't just your usual hills, these were monster hills! Not just really steep, but long and rough and even some grassy! They sucked what little energy that was in our legs out very quickly. Carmen even had to get off her bike and push at one point. We even had spectators to watch us in some points, and avoid on one occasion! (Cows seem to be quite numerous in New Forest)

Carmen pushing her bike up one of the monster hills
This however was not the end of our day. We wanted to find a shop to buy some food for our BBQ for the evening, unfortunately using a store locater is very inaccurate! We looked for a Co-op down a dead end private farm road because that is where they said their store was. Apparently this was not the case, it was just some trees. We eventually found the shop further along down another road but inside the fridges was broken, meaning no food for us. This resulted in us looking for an alternative place to eat. Again we used store locater to find a pub and lo and behold it wasn't where it said it was. We did manage to find it though and have a very nice meal there for a good price.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Day Four

On day 4 we travelled a further 54 miles, from Crawley to Petersfield, a nice small town in the middle of the South Downs National Park.
Yesterday has been by far the most pleasurable day in terms of cycling. We started off earlier than the previous days, so we had more time for breaks and to get to our destination without being pressed by nightfall.

Most of the roads we went on were really remote and surrounded on all sides by fields and woods. We even encountered several ponds and lakes.

Lovely  road to cycle on!

The only downside to South Downs (pun intended), was that it was extremely, and I mean extremely hilly. So hilly indeed that I think the name South Downs is misleading and it should be changed into South More Ups than Downs - much closer to the truth.

Whilst cycling through the South Downs we came across a lovely little village called Midhurst. It is a tiny place. Just on the outskirts of the village we found a really posh farm shop, Cowdray Farm Shop (highly recommended). Here they produced lots of fresh farm food ranging from meat to bread and cookies, but also fruit and veg and even coffee and tea! So we decided to treat ourselves to something from the shop, but not too much as it was very expensive. We bought a small loaf of bread to keep ourselves stocked up and a delicious bag of shortbread dipped in chocolate, modelled by Ben below, that tasted just as good as expected.

The Shortbread that has made Ben very happy!

After visiting the farm shop we left for the final 14miles of our days journey to a campsite just on the outside of Petersfield. When arriving there we started to set up our tent for the night. Once completed we had an Indian delivered to our tent as all campers do!

The post Indian look.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Three eventful days

Three days completed and 160 miles covered, but they certainly haven't been uneventful days! Some of the highlights include: Getting a flat tyre, getting lost in Suffolk, cycling through Colchester at night with no lights, a broken pannier bag, and witnessing a fight between two cab drivers! Read on for more details.

Day One

The start of our cycle couldn't have been much worse. Having arrived at our start point (a bit behind schedule as well), we started loading up the bikes with the bags and camping equipment. After having loaded up the bikes with everything my dad pointed out that my back tyre looked a bit flat. So we decided to give it a little pump to get it inflated, but when we tried the whole tyre went completely flat! So we had to rush to a bike repair shop to get it re-inflated which cost us valuable time. Apparently the type of tyre I have on my bike, the valve for it is notoriously difficult to work, and the best pump to use for it was not the one we had. This was made up for really nicely though by a kind man who was wondering what we were doing and after hearing what it was all for donated £5!

Our starting point!
After that initial set back we headed off bright and full of enthusiasm. We were headed for Colchester via Ipswich, a route that looked quite straight forward to follow, but little did we know!

Now for those of you who don't know there are national cycle routes all over the country dedicated to bikes. Some parts of them are really good; smooth surfaces, well signposted, few cars and nice and wide, but other parts are definitely not so! In Lowestoft, and for big parts of Suffolk we found that signposting for route 1 was very confusing. It caused us to waste a lot of time and miles finding our way. This meant we had to go a much more direct route to Colchester afterwards along some main roads which are not very nice to ride on.

Eventually we did make it to Colchester. But by the time we got there it was 9pm and it was getting very dark. We had to then navigate  across Colchester in the dark to my cousins house (as he and his wife were kind enough to let us stay the night). This was very slow going as we had to navigate and cycle without any lights. That was not the most comfortable ride, but we managed to get there by 10pm, where we could then have dinner and crash out asleep!

Day Two

The second day started off a lot better than the first as we left a good 2 hours earlier and had no flat tyres. It was also to our advantage that we had cycled a good amount of the route before.

The ride was pretty uneventful until we got just outside Chelmsford (25 miles from where we started the day). As we were crossing a roundabout, via a cycle path with high curbs, one of Carmen's pannier bags broke off and fell into the middle of the road. Luckily Carmen was pushing the bike at the time so there was no danger, and I was able to pick up the bag before some car drove over it. We had to then reattach the pannier bag to the bike somehow. We managed to do it using a stretchy cable that we used to hold the sleeping bags on with. This being done we headed off into Chelmsford for our next bit of entertainment.

Carmen's broken pannier bag
Our next highlight was certainly unexpected. We were heading to get some food for lunch and as we went around the corner into Duke Street we saw two cab drivers shouting at each other. This then quickly escalated and they threw a few punches at each other before then wrestling to the ground. They were then broken up by a few people just before the police arrived. Once the police arrived they questioned the two drivers before then arresting them both and taking them away. This was more lunch time entertainment than we ever dreamed of. After this our remaining journey into London was relatively uneventful.

Me and Carmen outside her university saying a quick hello as we go past
Day Three

Day three started out really nicely. We headed opposite our hotel in London (no campsites in London unfortunately) to a very interesting cafe. The cafe was called 'Look mum no hands' and was a cafe with a bike theme and a bike repair shop all in one. We couldn't believe it.

Look mum no hands! Lovely little cafe
From the cafe we both ordered some bacon sandwiches and when they arrived they tasted beautiful!

Waiting for our bacon sandwiches
 After a lovely breakfast we headed to our landmark location in London; Tower Bridge where we crossed the River Thames, luckily without the added incline when the bridge is raised!

Us with Tower Bridge in the background having just gone over it

We then headed out of London which was rather slow going as well due to lots of cars, traffic lights and stopping to look for directions. But we eventually made it although it took longer than we hoped it would meaning we didn't cover quite as many miles as we would have liked. I will say this for cycling in London: ''It's bloody dangerous and scary!" Especially with relation to buses, they make for rather big obstacles!

Let's hope our next few days are just as action packed, but hopefully not so scary!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wild camping by the river

If you haven’t been following us on Facebook, last weekend, Carbenita decided to go for a weekend trip to the beach with our bikes and tent. The idea behind this being that it would be very good training for the full 600 mile ride as we would be carrying most of the same things with us, tent, sleeping bags, panniers with clothes and food etc; but also it would be a similar mileage to what we would like to do for the actual challenge as well.

Our fully loaded bikes just before we departed

 We set off on the Saturday a little bit later than originally planned due to needing a little bit extra time to set up the bikes with all the equipment we needed for the journey. Once we were under way though we were enjoying it immensely, we had picked a very nice route going through some beautiful countryside where the views were magnificent and the sun was out making it look all the better. 

A nice little lake we stopped by to eat
Near the end of the first day we stopped off about 5 miles from our final destination at a posh looking pub called the Fat Goose. Not only did it look posh, but it was priced like a posh pub too, so we elected to each have a starter and share a side to keep our costs down. I even went and had pigeon breast which I never knew you could even eat and I must say although pigeons do not look very appetising they taste rather nice! After our dinner we then cycled the last 5 miles to where we were planning to camp (wildly!).

The posh looking pub
Me sitting waiting for my pigeon
 Our first experience of wild camping was certainly memorable, I had looked forward to it all day long throughout the cycle ride and was quite excited by the time we got to where we were going to try and camp. Once we had arrived it was a case of finding a good spot out the way of any paths. Our original plan was to camp in Stour Woods, next to the Stour river, but we did not find a suitable spot so we moved a bit further down the river to Copperas Woods and found within there a little spot tucked away in a tiny clearing between some trees. By then it was starting to get dark so we tried to hurry and get our tent set up. Due to this being our first proper attempt at pitching the tent, with the added obstacle of not much light, we had a bit of difficulty getting it up. Instead of it taking the 10 minutes assembly time it states on the cover of the tent, it actually took us about 30 minutes!
Carmen looking very tired

Our tent all set up
 After setting up and then getting all our stuff unpacked from the bikes and into the tent we were both thoroughly exhausted. The surprising thing though was that even though it was getting quite cold outside when we got into the tent it was really warm, so warm in fact that we couldn’t get into our sleeping bags due to the heat! This, however, was not the only problem. Whilst I had been excited about the prospect of wild camping, Carmen had not been looking forward to it quite so much. In fact, she was rather apprehensive about the whole thing; she was worried that someone might find us and not just a normal average person, but a serial killer or rapist! This meant that Carmen was very on edge for most of the night, every single noise that was heard (and that was a lot of noises considering we were in a wood with lots of wildlife) she imagined was a person approaching our tent. At one point she even got me a bit apprehensive when we heard a louder noise approaching our tent. Had we got out of the tent to investigate we probably would have come across some harmless baby rabbit hopping about. You can just picture that, two full grown adults cowering in a tent because of a little fluffy bunny! After a few hours though we managed to drop off and get some sleep, although we both dreamt that someone found us whilst we were sleeping! 

We woke up at 4:45 in the morning and decided to get up. The woods were beautiful in the morning and we had a lovely view of the river as the sun started to rise over it. It made the whole uncomfortable night worthwhile in the end.

A nice picture of the sunset
And one of the sunrise

 After getting packed up and having some breakfast we were off for our second day of cycling. Our first destination was Walton-on-the-Naze where we stopped for a quick break on the beach to get some tan on our pale bodies, as you can see in the pictures below.

Carmen on the beach
Me on the beach
 We then moved on down the coast through Frinton, Holland and Clacton, where we stopped for an early lunch, a lovely tasty bacon roll! Unfortunately we forgot to take a picture of them, but we did get our picture taken next to the pier.

Us outside Clacton Pier

Me looking after the bikes

After visiting Clacton High Street briefly for water and bananas we headed off back towards Colchester where we stopped for another rest break at Colchester castle where we even spotted some Pandas! Carmen also found an exhibition within the museum next to the castle that had on display the first ever bike in England, a penny-farthing.

Colchester Castle - Can you spot the Pandas?

The penny-farthing
We then embarked on the last stage of our journey, the 40 miles back to Benfleet! The first 20 of which were quite easy, but after those first 20 things started to get a bit tougher. More hills started appearing and the wind was against us making cycling quite tough. By the last 15 miles Carmen had almost had enough and was even contemplating giving up, but she pushed on determined to make it all the way back. I was so proud of her; she did really well to stick in it for those last 15 miles. We eventually got back at 7:30pm after having cycled a total of 132 miles (213km) over the two days, 55 miles (88.5km) on Saturday and 77 miles (124km) on Sunday. We had a well-deserved meal and rest that night.