Tilbury – Goldhanger
(Garmin not playing ball tonight so stats will have to wait until tomorrow!)
Cumulative miles cycled = miles
Cumulative feet climbed = feet
Cumulative calories burnt = calories
Overnight, the safetly blanket of the surrounding lorries had moved on, so we stuck out like a sore thumb at the side of the road next to a business park at Tilbury Docks. It was bitterly cold overnight, so much so that I woke in the middle of the night shivering and had to find some socks to defrost my wee tootsies.
At least the chill in the air and the cloudless sky provided us with a beautiful sunrise over the Thames. Over breakfast we decided to make Rochford our lunchtime destination, roughly thirty miles away. As with the last couple of days we knew the terrain was going to be relatively flat so we could take it easy over the mornings ride, specially as Dad is still bandages up from his accident.
Dad and I set off from Tilbury heading north along an industrial road, such bleak surroundings, with lots of fly-tipped rubbish in the gutters. As we were cycling near the dock area, there were a few lorries on the road but as it wasn’t rush hour, they were courteous enough to give us enough space.
We cycled through lots of tired looking towns, interspersed with more industrial areas. It seems this part of the South East lacks any form of character, all the towns look the same; dull, dreary and depressing – even in the sunshine!
It was a tough morning in terms of navigating, lots of major roads such as the A13 and A130 were only ever a wrong turn off a roundabout, so I was conscious not to lead us down the wrong path, difficult when you have three roundabouts one after the other and your GPS screen won’t recalculate quick enough.
From Pitsea, we shadowed the A13 on the B1464 for a couple of miles, before being thrust on it all the way to Southend-on-Sea. Having said that, I felt relatively safe as it was pretty wide and there seemed to be little traffic around. It does seem we’re now cycling more in the suburbs, towns and industrial areas as opposed to open sprawling countryside. It makes you a lot more tired everyday as you’re constantly on the look out for potential hazards, parked car doors opening, pedestrians walking out, pot holes, glass and buses swinging out.
On reaching Southend-on-sea, I was pleasantly surprised at what we found. For some reason I had expected that it would be a scabby seaside resort, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth, it was clean, bustling and had some beautiful retro architecture. Dad and I stopped west of the incredibly long pier to locate the motorhome. They were further down the seafront than our course went, so we agreed to continue to meet them in Rochford.
It was only a further five miles to cycle to reach Rochford, we had a slight climb from the sea front inland, but other than that it was country lanes all the way. Just before reaching the town we passed the control tower for London Southend Airport, but not a plane in sight!
We accidentally cycled past the motorhome at our lunchstop. I had my head down looking at my Garmin as we were approaching a roundabout and didn’t spot them hiding behind signs in a garden centre carpark. Harry made us egg and bacon sarnies and we had warm scones for desert – absolute bliss. The sun even decided to keep shining long enough for us to sit and eat outside.
The afternoons cycle was again spent avoiding busy roads, but it wasn’t necessarily the best idea as the country lanes were narrow with lots of traffic on. One road, the B1012, Lower Burnham Road was particularly hairy. Not wide enough for a car to comfortably pass us with another on coming, high hedgerows either side, long sweeping bends making visibility for overtaking us very poor. All this was confounded when we passed a couple of road side memorials, always sobering and makes you sit up in the saddle and concentrate if you’re tiring.
Things went from bad to worse as we headed north out of Latchingdon on the B1010, we managed to hit Maldon as it was home time for the school children. We did ok outside the school gates, the mothers in their MPV’s/Chelsea Tractors were behaving themselves. It was only when we got to Heybridge that they started to go crazy. Down the narrow highstreet, there were a lot of bends in the road where it narrowed. One lady though it would be a brilliant idea to try to overtake Dad and squeeze him into the high curb. Needless to say she was told where to go! Never fails to amaze me the risks motorists take around cyclists, all to gain what!?
The motorhome struggled to find somewhere to camp for the night near Goldhanger, so we had to step in and help. In the end we stumbled on Osea Caravan park where the site ranger let us park in front of the closed campsite for the night, so incredibly kind of him!
Mum cooked corned beef has and then we dined on some mince pies Pat had brought us (never to early for mince pies!). Jasper, Mum and I had a quick stroll down to look at Osea island, before trotting back to the motorhome to wrap up warm for another cold night ahead!
Hopefully we will wake to another clear sky in the morning so we can push onwards and get the mileage up again.
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!