to John O’Grotes

If Queen Elizabeth could do it…

Land’s End, England, to John O’ Groats, Scotland: laughing and pedaling with four friends

Queen Elizabeth was a mechanic during WWII. At 18 she joined the army and trained as a Jeep mechanic and was mighty good at it, too, according to my 98-year old friend, Charlotte who paid close attention to the feats of her contemporary. This is not a surprise to the Brits. Even the Brits waiting in line at Logan International Airport to return home, eyeing my bike box, agreed that if The Queen could work as a mechanic I most certainly could assemble my bike (something I sheepishly admitted I had never done before despite my years in the saddle).

After clearing customs and retrieving my bike box at Heathrow, I parked myself in a corner, and two plus hours later (thank you YouTube instruction videos and my practice session with Ed), I victoriously wheeled my assembled bike onto the train into London.

Once in the hot and bustling city, I tracked down a bike shop open on a Sunday and, for good measure, asked a bike mechanic to check the torque on the handlebar and pedals (not wanting them to fall off mid-ride) and got a thumbs up! First challenge overcome! Today’s intention: I resolve to channel Her Majesty on this journey through the UK, and when in a pickle, remember her indomitable spirit, resolve, and and savvy. If HM can do it, (and I know she could ride a bike 1,100 miles through England, Wales, and Scotland if she wanted to) then I can do it. And she might just do it wearing a jaunty hat under her bike helmet and carrying her corgi in a bike pannier, too.

Successful train ride (in the time of UK train strikes) from London to Penzance where our group of laughing friends is beginning to assemble to make our way to that elusive southern point and dip our bikes into the Celtic sea at Land’s End.

Jo, Barb, and Kathy in Penzance discussing the weather forecast…more to come!