After a year on the road we were sitting in a hostel in Tashkent waiting for our Kazak visas to come through. The temperature was in the high 30s and we had a week to wait. Waiting for visas is a pain, It got us thinking, we hadn’t seen some of our family for over a year. We decided to come back to the UK for a few weeks and catch up with family and friends. We tracked down a couple of bike boxes in Tashkent, which is not easy as it has virtually no bike shops. We eventually tracked one down by asking one of the few cyclists we saw in Tashkent who gave us directions to a sports shop that sold a few bikes. We flew back with Uzbek airlines who were pretty good, nice food and the bikes arrived intact.
After all the hard work of getting rid of nearly everything it was a relief to be setting off on Monday the 17th June heading for Harwich and a ferry to Denmark. Like all big moments it was a bit of an anticlimax, we were already thinking about the route ahead, the weather and how the bikes would handle.
We headed up National cycle route 4 to London and then picked our way through some small roads to join route 1. The ride up to London was fantastic along the Kennet and Avon canal. I think it is prettier than the route to Bath having the feel of cycling alongside a river rather than a canal. After the canal we followed the Thames and then through Richmond Park into London.
The bikes were great once you got used to the increased load. Total distance 344km. The National Cycle routes are a brilliant way to explore the UK. We weren’t expecting much on this first leg but the scenery was fantastic and most of the route was off road.