As I travelled to London on Monday 27th March 2023, the day after my birthday, I was nervous. I owned a large 29 inch wheel Specialised hardtail mountain bike with pannier bags. That was it, just me, my belongings and the bicycle. My best friend for 50 fifty days and not knowing how the next two months would play out. A scary situation to be in. There was limited interest in the Man in Notion idea including financial support and funding for what this challenge deserved. But sometimes you just need to keep on moving forward…
The Journey Begins
Day 1 was split into to two sections, Greenwich to Putney Bridge and then onto Reading. I cycled an out and back route from my hotel in Putney on Tuesday 28th March. This was to make the following day an easier challenge. This also helped me to navigate through the crowded streets of the capital and around people. I did not have to carry most of my baggage. The weather was gloomy and the forecast for the following week was not looking good. It was a tough start to the challenge. Rain, headwinds from the West and three long days of cycling to Caerphilly lay ahead.
I had already done the training rides between 50 and 70 miles around Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Various routes were named: The Eagle Has Landed, The Macc Lad, In The Gno and Gawain of the Moorlands. Even a cycling journey called Gods of Thor. To remain positive I compiled a spreadsheet of interesting facts to recall about the destinations I would be cycling too. These included: the history, culture, notable people and even music and artists that had a connection to place. I was as physically ready and mentally focused as any 49 year old man could be.