Cycling from Sicily to Somerset

D Day minus 5


Well that's the first and, possibly, easiest bit of the journey completed. Jim came to collect me (thanks very much) from Home Farm at 0230 and we were on our way before 3am. Tales of roadworks on the way to Bristol airport didn't deter us and a little wiggle around Mendip Golf Club saw us past the road closure on A367 and at the airport, bags unloaded, before 0400 for the flight that was scheduled to leave at 0600.


 With me I had my bike bag containing my Specialized Sequoia Elite purchased about 5 weeks ago, as an ex demo bike from Evans Cycles for about £300 less than it retails for, with no apparent wear or problems, and a “Chinese” vivid patterned nylon bag containing my two panniers full of clothing and the rack that fits on the back of the bike to carry them, plus my Hiplock security chain and padlock, a birthday present from Jim to Kate, a swim nappy for my 3 month old latest grandchild Matteo, and my cycle helmet. On top of that I had a handlebar bag, which also weighs a fair bit, full of electronic gear such as the computer on which I'm writing this blog,  as hand luggage. Lugging that around makes me realise just how much weight I am pushing around the countryside when fully laden – frankly I'm amazed I made it up Mont Ventoux with a similar load in 2015.


Because of the good timing I was able to get through security and sit down to a |Soho Full breakfast. Not the greatest breakfast I've had but it filled a gap and some time before the flight was called at 0520. The plane was almost full but we took off on the dot of 0600 and landed 5 minutes early in Catania at 1005 so what took me 3 hours to fly will take me 26 days and,give or take, 150 hours to cycle.


I texted Kate that I was through immigration before she had left home but it took a little while to collect the cycle bag and panniers as they were on different conveyors but I had a bit of a wait in pleasant shade although the temperature was nudging 30 degrees.


Having arrived at Etnalodge I set to rebuilding the bike and, after a few false moves had it back together and, apparently, without any problems by the middle of the afternoon