I feel like an arthritic old lady at the moldy age of 37 with a humped back from years of calcium deprivation and hard work in the fields. Hard work in the fields would of conditioned me a bit better for this voyage. With every push of the peddle, I am reminded that peddling a bicycle is nothing like reading about it. My neck is conditioned to being propped up by pillows a sufficient position for reading. The same great reading neck is freaking out with the new found angle of grinning ear to ear over Pandemic’s bicycles handle bars as I head north into the icy breeze. The throbbing of my neck and shoulders is occasionally replaced by the late winter icy temperature of the ocean air. The freezing rain might have bothered me if I wasn’t so intent on making it across the big old bridge I have been grinning at for the last 2 hours.
I hadn’t realized there are two bridges to Wales. A fact I might of realized if I had of stopped smiling long enough to buy a map of the area. The old bridge is 40km or 23 miles further down the potholed latent neighborhood road. Bicycles are not allowed over the new bridge, I was to find out on approach. It is a good thing there is a rich history of bicycle travel in England because everyone within sweating distance seemed to already know that I was not going to be able to cycle over the new bridge. I am told by the sweat soaked helpful crowd to continue on another 40km/23 miles. My throbbing neck doesn’t like this idea but my frozen smiling face peddled on, head strong into the freezing wind and rain towards the Old Bridge.
As the wind blows me backwards instead of forward over the long bridge to Wales my thoughts are replaced by the sense of accomplished that I had actually cycled to Wales. Despite the seemingly gale force winds blowing me the wrong direction over the bridge, overwhelmed, I couldn’t help but pause and while holding down my hat in the wind, peer through tears at the ocean view from on top of the bridge and know that what lie ahead would be worthy of proverbial toast.
The toast may be that I had actually made it Wales or that my favorite adventure cycling book no longer had any appeal or more importantly that I could no longer remember the aching feeling of being 4 1/2 months into my final dark cold isolating winter of Alaska. I had peddled out of England across a huge international bridge, through freezing rain and a seemingly near gale force head wind. The Pandemic, my magic bicycle and I have made it to Wales.