• jamesdavenport86

They say things happen in 3's!

This is/was Sunday nights camping ground and where I woke up Monday morning, albeit, woke up, snoozed, woke up, snoozed, woke up, snoozed - you see the pattern!

Its funny, I often struggle to get the motivation to get out of bed, its not that I don't love what I do, but when you've "technically" nothing to get up for, no work, commitments, kids etc, coupled with the fact you've barely slept, despite cycling all day, its slightly cooler outside (than previously on the trip) and once you're up, packed and stacked, you've got a lot of miles to chew through that day - it all somewhat diminishes your motivation.

The flip side of that being that the distance you need to cover doesn't change, nor the time it takes to do said distance. With the clock change and the nights continuously drawing in, you're only ever making it more difficult for yourself, and you know this as you snooze the alarm for the third time and snuggle into your sleeping bag, but, future you sadly has little control over present you! At least thats what I find in my life and situation.

Anyway, back to this beautiful vista, which was kind of my last chance saloon.

The day before I'd had a lovely time staying with some of my parents friends in Rute. Obviously leaving theirs late, I only made it about 40 miles from their house and therefore 40 miles (of the 110-120 miles) closer to Seville before I had to stop for the night.

From a psychological view point at least, I'd rather hoped to make it through the next town, but it wasn't to be, with light fading fast I needed to find somewhere relatively quickly and stumbled upon this somewhat secluded spot in an Olive Grove, a far cry from the keyless, fingerprint technological wizardry of the hostel from which I write this post!

I was going to write that I've not even stayed in a hotel with this type of technology, but, I've not stayed in a hotel since the trip began (I don't think), needless to say the hostel is beyond my price bracket, but then again, most places are! To be fair, its only marginally more expensive than the competition, but the deal breaker was they had parking for the Steed and ever so kindly threw in breakfast for free, so here we sit, digesting...

If it wasn't apparent from the above, I somewhat "successfully" managed to survive my 76 mile cycle into Seville yesterday.

Sally Sat Nav, with whom I've been having some disagreements recently, wanted me to continue on with her mission of bouncing from tiny village to tiny town, across farmers fields and dodgy unmade roads. Then, after a significant amount of time wanted me to travel the next 50 miles along an unmade road which annoyingly ran parallel to the motorway the entire way into Seville.

So, maybe a little against my better judgement, I decided to throw caution to the wind, ignore all road signs, plead ignorance if caught and cycle down the motorway. It's not the first time I've done it, but this was certainly the furthest.

Oddly enough, despite the illegality of it, its actually awesome for cycling along, in general the hard-shoulder is pretty wide and there's a lot of space between you and the passing vehicles. Unlike when you travel on the smaller roads, which can be a lot more dangerous, as you're often tussling for position with the other vehicles, or at least they're tussling for position with you.

The only real difference is that here the cars are passing you by at 120kms an hour, which can be a little disconcerting at times, but you seem to get a lot more supportive honks of horns, than you do, non-supportive honks - which, from my experience, tend to be from those who aren't paying as much attention as they should be and are a little shocked to see a hobo on a bike, cycling down the hard shoulder - understandable I guess.

Anyway, all was going well! I'd eaten little, but had still put in a solid 30 miles in the first 2 or so hours. So I stopped at a motorway service station (probably one of the first bikes to have done so) for a little break and a reward to myself - a proper school boy lunch - a cheese, ham and tomato roll, with a packet of crisps, a can of coke and an orange (I've been carrying since Granada - over 100 miles) - taken it back to the old school!

Refreshed, revitalised and having had a poop, I was ready to board the steed and continue my way down the motorway, 40 miles (70kms) more and I "should" be in Seville, in good time. That is to say I "could" be, nothing in life is certain and never is that more apparent than when on my magical mystery tour.

Roughly 2.5 hours later I was riding along the hard-shoulder, as I had been all day, when the bike suddenly felt like the back wheel was the shape of an egg, thinking it was a little odd, I look down to see the back wheel as flat as a pancake!

Ha, thats not at all what I need!!! - not that anyone has ever needed a flat tire, however, illegally cycling down the motorway kind of left me a little exposed and in no mans land, now do I push the bike in the direction of on coming traffic to the slip road some 100-200 meters behind me? No, firstly its probably a "little" dangerous, secondly under ALL my weight it'd have buggered up my back wheel.

Do I change the wheel at the side of the road? Categorically no!!! Now that would've been foolishly dangerous, furthermore, had I survived, my parents would've killed me when they found out.

My only option was to unload "The Regal Beagle", before passing all my worldly belongings and the bike itself over the barrier in order to operate.

To say this was the first time I'd EVER changed an inner tube on a bike, says an awful lot about my cycling knowledge and experience - little! I think it also says a lot for my tires, Schwalbe Marathon Tour Plus are the absolute mutts nutts - 3,500 miles without a single issue and I'm sure they'd have done the same again, at least!!!! If it wasn't for the fact that the stupid pilot was cycling them along all manor of shrapnel in the hard-shoulder - lesson learnt, maybe!

Checking over the back wheel it was pretty easy to find what had done the damage and lead to the puncture, as it was still standing there, bold as brass, like an actual piece of kryptonite.

As it was, despite my lack of experience and knowledge I actually changed the puncture relatively easily, but then again, I'd had a number of unintentional tutorials whilst cycling down the Coast with "Tommy Two Pumps - The Alpine Master" - my Swedish counterpart, who had managed to collect some 9 punctures in around 1000 miles.

I took a couple of obligatory, "I'm fixing a puncture" pictures before two lads cycling down the unmade road I was meant to be on, asked if I needed a hand? They also told me off continuously for having been on the motorway!!!

We made our introductions, laughed and then they helped me over the fence with my steed and my life, before we said goodbye and I set about loading the beast.

I actually celebrated the successful pitstop in the most English of fashions, with a homemade scone, butter and jam - delightful!!!

Once all was said and done I may've been feeling a little smug at my achievement! That was until I re-checked the back wheel, which actually still stood strong, however, now looking down at my front wheel just before boarding the steed, I noticed this was also now as flat as a pancake "hahaha, what the funk!?!?!?!"

Turns out I'd picked up a slow puncture - the joys!!! Furthermore I'd already used my ONE spare inner tube on the back wheel.

I checked the front wheel over and managed to find the culprit, a tiny piece of wire had punctured the tire, but being new to this, and an idiot, I pulled it out before registering where on the wheel the puncture was, this sadly meant that having taken everything off of the bike, taken the wheel off and pulled the inner tube out, I couldn't find the tiny puncture for love nor money, meaning I couldn't try to use my puncture repair kit and that the whole procedure had been pointless!!!

With the light fading with every passing minute, my only option was to put everything back together, load up, pump up and get as far as I could before having to re-inflate the front wheel and this was the story for the remaining 20 miles.

Its fair to say the unmade road I was travelling down in the pitch black, was more than testing enough for the newly repaired back wheel, let alone the still punctured front, couple to this the fact Sally SatNav had refused to work and it made for an interesting ride into town.

I was lost on more than a couple of occasions, and a couple of those occasions were in the sort of locations where it probably doesn't prove to prudent to be a foreigner, on an expensive bike, with all his worldly belongings and a bare minimum grasp of the native language, but, nevertheless I battled through and not only managed to find my way into town - just!!! But I'd also found my way to a hostel and not just any hostel, but a beautiful one, at a discounted rate and with a free breakfast - silver linings!!!

I said at the start of this blog how much I've struggled with getting up in the mornings, well, this morning was different, this morning I had a purpose! Breakfast was served between 8:30 and 11:00 and I was up ready to roll when the doors opened.

You may wonder why that would be the case? Also, having had 2 punctures, you may be curious as to what was the third thing to go wrong? Well, both are linked! Having been on the road some 12.5 hours and cycled 76 miles yesterday, on little more than a sandwich and a packet of crisps, I decided against stopping at any of the beautiful eateries I passed to get food. I wanted to find my way to my hostel first, get sorted and reward myself with food second. Turns out, as I'm sure you may've guessed to have been a rather naive and foolish thought, by the time I'd sorted myself out, dropped all my bags off and checked in, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING in Seville had closed for the night, I'm not sure I've ever been so unable to satisfy my hunger, nor been to bed soooo famished!!! Hence the importance of breakfast this morning, which is why I had 4 bowls of cereal, 2 croissants and 3 pan-au-chocolates as a starter!!! Above was part-deux, of three servings!

Anyway thats me done, time for more food, an adventure and to plot my next move, "thanks for stopping by", "but mainly stay classy"

Much love as always!!! x