OK, so the plan for yesterday was to pick up the bike, quickly slap it together and hit the road.
Fail at the first hurdle. Having spent most of the morning chasing after idiots who couldn't comply with simple requests, I then had to drive to Ashford in record time to catch the City Link office before it closed at midday. The number of traffic violations must have been higher than the number of miles I intend to cycle!
But I made it, in the nick of time and collected a rather large box with the brand of DAWES on the side. Inside it was an absolutely beautiful new machine - the Galaxy Plus. Universally accepted as one of the best touring bikes you can lay your hands on without taking out a second mortgage. All the same, it's RRP clocks in at £999, so its not cheap.
The return from Ashford was slightly more sedate - although only slightly as I was itching to get to grips with the new beast.
I headed over to Ben's to pick his brains on putting together the disassembled bike. 2 hours later between us (mainly Ben to be honest! Thanks.....), we had assembled a very good looking machine, only needing a few tweaks to be ready to ride. I had a good ride around Broadstairs on it, just to get the feel of it - its a lovely bit of kit.
I am fully expecting to have to make running tweaks to brakes and gears as I go, but I guess it's all part of getting to know my new bike. 500 miles together should either make or break our relationship.
But having spent so long putting it together, the amount of daylight riding hours remaining was significantly reduced, so I took the decision to head home for an early night and try again this morning.
This morning finds me outside of Dreamland, marking the official start of my ride. Looks like this time it's for real. Time to get pedaling.
Weather is slightly overcast, a few patches of blue and a scattering of ominous clouds. I'm pretty much entirely waterproof so not really worried about a few showers. In fact, a light rain would be much more welcome than hot weather.
I will update later today or possibly in the morning, hopefully from somewhere west of Dover.....