Matt Krog stayed in Reading a few weeks ago (one of my WarmShowers visitors). He has just started to cycle the Eurovelo 6 from Nantes along the Loire & towards Bratislava. He has kindly agreed to allow me to re-post his own blog entries from his Tumblr website which will recount his European journey. He has just posted his first entry of the journey, day 1;
Friday 13th July 2012: Arrival in Nantes
“I woke up at 3.00 am this morning. I was to catch a train from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction at 4.34 am, then transfer to another train for Gatwick Airport. Bikes are allowed on overland trains in London and this seemed like an elegant and affordable solution.
My first challenge was getting from my sister’s flat to the Wimbledon train station, an easy task normally, but when you have a 20 kilogram bike box to lug around it becomes considerably more difficult.
I picked up the flu two days ago, and since then I’ve been ferociously gorging myself on oranges, in an effort to recover before my extended cycling holiday. But despite my best efforts, I still woke up with lingering symptoms. Throw in the early time that I had to wake up and suddenly its not a very pleasant situation.
I dropped my sisters keys through the letter box and with my panniers strapped over my shoulders, I lifted up my bike box and began my struggle to the station. After many stops along the way, I eventually made it. I took solace in the fact that the worst was over and that at least at the airport I could use a trolley.
The hour train journey went smoothly and I arrived at the check in desk with helmet on head and a lone bead of sweat sliding down my cheek.
I had called ahead a few days before informing Flybe that I was bringing a bicycle and sure enough, the man behind the counter said it was on standby. He then asked if I would still fly if my bike could not be put on. I swallowed hard – partly because of the flu – and mumbled a ‘yeah no’. I then told him that on their website they say all bikes go on standby! This obviously shook his confidence in the meaning of standby and he called his superior who told him exactly that. He stuck on a label and directed me to oversized baggage. I believe he also forgot to charge me, as they said there would be an additional charge when I called the days previous. Lucky me!
On the plane, just before take off, the captain reported over the inter comm that we were having a technical error, which lead to an hour delay. I dozed off shortly after take off and only woke up when we landed in Nantes.
After making it through immigrations with no hassle (I was so stoked when the guy stamped my Schengen visa) it was time to unpack and re-assemble. Thankfully the cardboard box and tight packing had done a good job of protecting Jenny and there was no damage to report. I sat on the floor of arrival lounge working away with spanners and allen keys until finally, 2 hours later everything was back together and I rode out onto French soil.
I had decided my first night I would stay in a hotel. Unfortunately, I had to cycle 20km in the rain to get there. Cold and wet, I waited outside for an hour until reception opened at 17.00. A warm shower was all the reward I needed after a very long day.”
Read all Matt’s updates on CyclingEurope.org by following this link.