Olympic fever to London – Maldon to London (34/19,342ks – 240m)

(written by Dave)

Camping in Maldon was quiet.  Almost too quiet.  Kind of a weird area.  There were at least 4 caravan parks but ours was empty except for a couple other folks.  We had rain overnight but by the time we got up, the tent was virtually dry, thanks to a nice breeze that was blowing.  We are heading to Leigh’s house in London so a dry tent was nice – all LWOP tenticate rules were followed to the T.

We had two route options to reach Chelmsford.  We earlier decided to ride only to Chelmsford then skip the busy roads heading into London by hopping on a train.  The first route option was on a busy road; the second one was through lots of country lanes but meant we needed to check the map a lot.  We took the lane route and had some nice quite roads, some really steep hills and some great English country views.  The lanes are like bobsled runs, that is they have high sides and serpentine over hill and dale, or wherever the terrain and land owners rights dictate.  There is only really room for traffic going in one direction so you have to be on your toes for oncoming cars.  It seems like a periscope would be handy.

We survived the lanes and only got lost once.  We bailed out on them about 2/3rds of the way because Nancy was getting tired of having to stop so much.  It gets tiring watching me dig out the iPhone and check every intersection.  While I enjoy the challenge, some days our senior editor just wants a nice direct easy route.  We hoped out onto the busy road and it was not so bad.  We found central Chelmsford pretty easy.

Friday is market day in Chelmsford.  Market day means fresh food stalls.  We found a stall selling bacon rolls and for 50 pence they were willing to add an egg.  I’m not sure I get this plain bacon roll thing.  We had them add eggs and were quite happy with our first British egg and bacon roll.

The train into London was pretty easy.  We were not allowed to ride the tube/underground with the bikes so we could only ride from Chelmsford to Liverpool station.  There was a separate car for the bikes and it was a bit of a rush to get our heavy bikes loaded, get them strapped down and get into seats in the adjacent car.  We were too slow actually, the conductor came back to check on us.  We made it to the appropriate car just about as the train was pulling away.  Once in route we were treated to a very interesting conversation by three fellow travelers – two of them had been in prison and they were counseling the third on staying out of drugs and avoiding prison – sage advice if you ask me.

The train route took us right past the Olympic park and the Olympic stadium and the weird sculpture thing.  I snapped a photo that you can see below while we were moving pretty fast.  As we are in the pause between Olympics and Paralympics, you can’t really stop at the park –we’ll have to settle for seeing it from the train.  Olympic fever is still in full swing with rings and London 2012 banners everywhere.  It takes us back to our time in Sydney during the 2000 Olympics – it’s hard not to feel glad for the UK and the show they’ve put on.

From Liverpool station we feared a dangerous cross London bike ride but it turned out pretty easy.  They have blue bike lanes everywhere and even a bike “superhighway” almost all the way to Leigh’s house in Clapham.  We found our way there pretty easy.  Having arrived well before Simon or Leigh made it home from work we managed to occupy ourselves by sitting with an English newspaper on the grass of Clapham Common.  It was a beautiful English summer afternoon – life is good.

We eventually made our way to Leigh’s place and were completely spoiled with a wonderful BBQ made by Simon.  We’ve spent the evening catching up on work (Nancy knows Leigh from GE), telling travel stories and best of all reliving all the Olympic events that Leigh and Simon attended.

Tomorrow we are heading to the map and outdoor shops.  We will be sorting out the train to Scotland and the return cycle route and perhaps have a bit of a wander around the city to see if we can feel the Olympic spirit.

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8 thoughts on “Olympic fever to London – Maldon to London (34/19,342ks – 240m)

  1. Great pictures! Have you adjusted to hearing English spoken everywhere? I remember having that experience in Nice, France, & hearing a US couple eating at an outdoor pub. Hope you take a few days to enjoy the Olympic feeling around London.

  2. I really like your use of WordPress. I didn’t realize until recently that I was able to sign up with email notifications when you post. Makes it ‘real’ time now. It’s fun tracking you two on your journey. Do you have a goal when you want to be back in Australia? Are you coming through California at any point? Keep the updates coming. Nice.

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