Margate – Tilbury
2347 feet climbed
2703 calories burnt
Cumulative miles cycled = 3,337.25 miles
Cumulative feet climbed = 179,772 feet
Cumulative calories burnt = 149,939 calories
Today was definitely a day of two halves. In the morning we pushed along following my route making great progress. The afternoon was spent trying to trace NCN Route 1, around Rochester – wasting time looking for the hidden signs. Nonetheless, we found that there was a ferry crossing at Gravesend over to Tilbury, so we didn’t have to cycle all the way to the Dartford Tunnel and look for the jeep checkpoint to take us across.
In the morning, the weather wasn’t too chilly, we unlocked the bikes and put them in the Motorhome, ready to transport them back to Margate train station where we had finished on Sunday afternoon. We departed Quex campsite, where we had received wonderful hospitality, such lovely staff! On reaching Margate train station, we unloaded the tow bikes, bid our stretches and collected our bananas and granola bars that Pat had made to replace our flapjacks! Setting off on our way, we decided to ignore the NCN cycle route 15 and follow the route that I had plotted for the Garmin, as we knew where it would take us!
The mornings ride comprised mostly of flat main roads, linked by roundabouts. We headed west out of Margate and cycled along the A28. As it was after 9:00am there was little traffic to fight with, and the roads we thankfully pretty quiet. We reached the roundabout that linked the A28 with the A299 and passed Nicholas St. Wade that should have been our overnight stop for Sunday night (before Dad got knocked off his bike!). We kept cycling along the A299 for some time, at this point we were now ignoring the route I had plotted. As we were making such good progress and the road wasn’t too heavy with traffic I didn’t want to disturb the rhythm. It was only when I spotted a sign prohibiting cyclists from cycling on the road a quarter of a mile ahead I though we had better take the next exit!
On exiting the A299, we headed north on the B2205 to hit Herne Bay and shadow the coast. We traced the road west all the way to Seasalter, where we had a quick pitstop looking out to sea. It was at this point I realised that we had already cycled 20 odd miles so I quickly text the motorhome to let them know how quickly we were progressing and to see whether they had found a lunch stop. It turned out they were less than 10 miles away, just shy of Sittingbourne. We set off from our pitstop and followed country lanes for the rest of the morning.
The weather had treated us well; there was a hint of chill all morning, but not a drop of rain in sight! On reaching our lunch stop, just past Teynham, we found the motorhome to be spic and span (Mum wanted me to add that bit in). As the terrain had been so flat we had made good progress and it was just before 12 as we sat down to eat lunch.
We didn’t hang around at lunch as we wanted to make the most of the progress we had made over the mornings ride. I had decided to follow NCN Route 1 for the whole afternoon, little did I know just how much hassle that decision would cause us. We stumbled across signs that were hanging by a thread, signs pointing in the wrong direction and points where there should have been signs and there were none…
We struggled navigating through Rainham, Gillingham, Strood and Chattenden, so much so that we gave up on Route 1 (sorry Sustrans) and I navigated us the rest of the way to Gravesend. I could use this opportunity to ran about the state of Britain’s cycle network but I’ll save that for another cycle post.
After such a long afternoon trying to follow NCN Route 1, Dad and I were glad to reach Gravesend. I thought it would be plain sailing to find the pedestrian ferry to cross the Thames, but how wrong I was. There were about three piers visible from our look out on the banks of the Thames, but none looked accessible and in working order. Eventually a lady walking her dog passed and helped to direct us. We caught the 5:00pm ferry across the Thames, to Tilbury for £3.50 each (cycles went free).
The motorhome was waiting for us as we docked in Tilbury, and our stop over for the night was just round the corner, mingling with the lorry drivers! Mum cooked a lovely dinner of coriander and cumin lamb, with sweet potato and brown rice and for dessert I cut in to another of Pat’s cakes (we have been so well looked after on this trip, I don’t know how I’m going to go back to cooking for myself!). After eating, we then pootled to the pub ‘The Worlds End’ and possibly had one too many!
Lets hope the terrain continues to be as flat as it was today and that we can make good progress tomorrow!
Please remember that Kirsty Medlock and her Dad, Stephen are cycling the 4,400 miles round the coast of Britain to raise £10,000 for Clifton’s Children Society (CCS) Adoption, the agency that facilitated an adoption for family friends. Please follow this link to donate as much as you can http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/cycling4adoption
Many, many thanks in advance!