I started the day well grumpy. The Hostel was good and the staff courteous as usual, but I had the roommate from hell, first time for everything. Obviously not one of the in crowd, unaware of hostel-etiquette, he was noisy all through the night and I got very little if any sleeping. Luckily he left early. I had a chat with some of the other guests before mentioning it to the reception chap. He told me this guy had been with them on and off for a month and managed to upset most of his roommates, I hope they do something about him.
I got on my way at leisure as I only had less than forty miles to do and had to be in Leek Wootton by four. I went some eight miles before I stopped for breakfast. I have to say the availability of road side food is a very welcomed thing, I was really looking forward to making it one of the main point of call for my feeding along the entire route but I fear now I might just have to be a little more careful just in case, when I get further south I get served fruit bat.
The ride was quite relaxing and,as usual, dotted with rolling hills. There truly appears not to be any place in this island where the land is completely flat.
I got to Nuneaton in good time and discovered that there is a canal connecting Nuneaton to Coventry. Canal towpaths are a great find for the loaded bike tourer, at the risk of getting boring, they have that prized characteristic, 0% gradient.
I followed it half way to Coventry and then the lovely gravel gave way to a ten inches wide root and stone infested track. I just left it at the first opportunity and moved to standard road. Not to far from Coventry my next stop was the Ricoh Arena, or just next door to it where i discovered there is a Decathlon shop. My bike stand was on the way out and I needed break pads plus this was an excellent opportunity to investigate padded underpants.
In the event I got a whole new bike stand, advice that the break pads are difficult to find in the UK but plentiful in France and a pair of short riding trousers that will just solve all of my problems. On top of that the chap from the repair shop, after I told him what I was up to, wanted to take a picture of me and the bike (note that the Btwin Riverside 7 I ride is made by Decathlon). He said he was going to talk to the marketing manager and, as Decathlon is in most countries in the world, he would see if I could get free servicing along the way. I guess the longer the bike lasts the better advertisement it is for them.
After I left Coventry it was a quick ride into Kenilworth and, after a Quick stop into Waitrose for some wine, onto Leek Wootton where I will spend the next three night in the company on Jo, Martin and all the rest of the Bonhams merry men and women.
I’ll be picking up again in a few days from the Cotswold on the way down to Portsmouth and to leaving England.