Day 67: Tank Museum and Screaming Midnight Suicide Peloton - Athens to London in 1983 - CycleBlaze

July 15, 1983

Day 67: Tank Museum and Screaming Midnight Suicide Peloton

Day 67: Friday, 15 July 1983

Start: Hotel Alexandra, Weymouth, UK

End: Campground, Wimborne, UK

I set out from Weymouth this morning with some trepidation. Partly because it always takes awhile to become accustomed to a new country -- even when you mostly speak the language -- and partly because I need to adjust to riding on the wrong -- left -- side of the road. My nifty little clip-it-on-your-glasses rearview mirror -- steadfast for thousands of kilometers -- proves useless because it only mounts on my left. That doesn't help much with seeing behind my right shoulder, which is where all the traffic comes up behind me now. Kind of disconcerting. I need to take it easy and play it safe. 

Keep to the left. Keep to the left. Keep to the left.

Other than futzing with the useless mirror and trying to keep to the left, ride very nice. Lovely countryside. Some hills, but new maps allowed me to find routes without traffic. They also guided me to my site-of-the-day, the tank museum at Bovington. Another opportunity for me to gorge on WWII history. Tiger. Panther. Jagdtiger. Jagdpanther. King Tiger. Many others. [2010 Note: Not wildlife. Names of WWII tanks.] I spent a couple of hours touring the museum and departed with a fresh load of reading matter, much to Bob's disgust.

Still trying to figure out best places to get food for breakfast and lunch. England isn't exactly crawling with croissants. 

Light riding day due to museum, learning how to ride carefully on the wrong side, and heat.

Found campground at Wimborne. Met up with bike tourers. Out to dinner with two young English guys who offered me advice about where to go and what to avoid. They listened politely to my adventures. Back at camp, a German geography teacher arrived with full gear on his bike. The three of them immediately decided we needed to hit pubs up the road. Everyone assured me gear would be secure in tents in this campground, so the four of us took off aboard unladen bikes to visit a couple of drinking establishments. The English kids were funny. The German gregarious and knowledgeable about many topics, including bike touring. They downed pint after pint while I tried to take it easy. At 11:30 we crawled out of the second pub. It was completely dark outside -- surprise! -- and none of us had lights with us. Not to worry. Blind, invisible, and half-snockered, we formed a midnight suicide peloton and screamed back down the empty road a couple of miles to the campground. 

At least you don't have to worry about keeping to the left when you just blitzkrieg down the middle of the road.

Don't try this at home.

Conditions 

Distance: 56 km 

Weather: Hot 

Road: Facing the wrong way 

Traffic: Light 

Terrain: Mostly flat 

Mechanical: All is well 

Physical: Feeling very strong

Today's ride: 56 km (35 miles)
Total: 4,839 km (3,005 miles)

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