From Liz Overduin:
One thousand cyclists from 33 countries, cycling 1400 kilometres from London to Edinburgh and back to London. We saw castles and cottages, crowded places and open spaces, roads with bicycle lanes and bicycle paths that are actually roads!
The Controls, set up at schools along the route, were well organized and the volunteers were always helpful and friendly. Even though they put signs everywhere so that we would know where to go, people would get it wrong. Like the man who came into the women’s washroom at Market Rasen control (km 246). I was so happy to see him but he did not recognize it was me and he just turned away embarrassed and mumbling his apologies at his mistake. It was Terry Payne from the Huron chapter and I wanted to know how his ride was going.
Terry and I ended up doing the rest of the ride together – it was awesome. The hills would lead to incredible views followed by thrilling descents. One thing that never ceased to amaze me were the miles and miles of stone fences, in the fields, around the cottages, and along the roadways – what an incredible amount of work that must have been! The villages were quaint and the small gardens were inspiring. Terry stopped to pet a couple of curious horses and an ancient woman came out of a little old cottage to chat with us – it was great, we almost wished we could stay for tea.
As for the weather – we had it all. There were times we were cold, times we got wet, and a lot of the time it was perfect. There was the last day, temperature of 34 degrees in the shade (of which there was no shade while cycling) and a good strong headwind. That’s when Terry and I became part of a chain which steadily grew longer as we would catch up with other exhausted riders who would join in on the back. Thanks to this chain we were able to get some better speeds and make headway into the wind. It was emotional for me when we all stopped for ice-cream and got the chance to talk with each other. It hits you that you share a bond with people from countries all over the world, all trying to make it to the finish, one kilometre at a time.
There were shots of whiskey at some of the controls – I tried that. Terry and I stopped at one restaurant for breakfast because we wanted to be with the local people, that was fun. Part of the breakfast included something called “blood pudding” – I tried that. Then Terry told me what it was and I had to spit it out! He thought it was all very funny but he was laughing alone!
The experience of cycling LEL is something I will never forget. It was wonderful to be a part of it. Terry and I stopped for a pint at a pub in a small village about 20 km from the finish and we both agreed that it had been an amazing adventure.
Congrats to everyone who was a part of this, past, present and those thinking of doing it in the future!