Blog

Welcome to my blog, where I share all the stories from my L2L expedition as I row, cycle and kayak a continuous loop of the planet. I hope you'll enjoy experiencing the highs (and lows!) of my journey so far and the adventures ahead on my way back to Tower Bridge. You can also have a listen to my Phonecasts recorded en route.

Day one of the final leg: Done!

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HQ: Yesterday was the big day – the first day of the final leg of London2London. Exciting times! But before setting off, Sarah went to say hello and thank you to the Falmouth Coast Guard for all their help and support on her journey.

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Come midday it was time for Sarah, Lucy and her troupe of cycling buddies to head off from Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth, bound for the first port of call, The Eden Project.

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Thank you to everyone who cycled along with her and to those who came out to wave her on her way. It made for a brilliant journey. A huge thank you also goes out to the Eden Project for putting Sarah and her trusty travellers up for the night. A magical place indeed! So that’s it, the first day of the last leg is done – she’s off to a cracking start.

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Come and join Sarah!

If you fancy joining Sarah on her cycle up to Oxford, take a look at the route and day plan here.

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Fancy a ride?

Falmouth - here we come!

Falmouth – here we come!

Team L2L and various lovely helpers are in the midst of planning the final few hundred miles from Falmouth to Tower Bridge and we’re inviting you to come along and join in, holler and support.

First up is the bike leg from Falmouth to Oxford, starting next week Thursday 22nd at midday from The Moor, in Falmouth. We finish in Oxford on the 27th (finish point tbd.) Below is a guide to the daily breakdown plus a link to the full planned route on Mapmyride.

We shall have the YB tracker plotting our position every 10 minutes so that if you want to join in or wave or bring us cake (!) then you will be able to see where we are.

While out we shall tweet daily forecasts of times to leave the next morning so that you know what time to come and find us if you plan to join for a day/part of a day.

In a streak of luxury, I shall be ditching luggage and tent in favour of a motorhome (aka Party Bus) for me and my merry crew. Thanks to Chiltern Motorhome Hire for that. (NB If you plan to join then please plan your own food/ accommodation etc)

22/10: Day 1 – mile 32
Falmouth to Eden – 32 miles

23/10: Day 2 – mile 89
Eden to Moretonhampstead – 57 miles

24/10: Day 3 – mile 140
Moretonhampstead to Waterrow – 51 miles

25/10: Day 4 – mile 205
Waterrow to Bath – 65 miles

26/10: Day 5 – mile 250
Bath to Swindon – 45 miles

27/10: Day 6 – mile 288
Swindon to Oxford – 38 miles

View the route:
http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/889756217
Thanks to the lovely Maren Hallenga of CoppaFeel! (also bike mapping extraordinaire) for plotting the route and scheming other useful things. And also to Shelagh and Alasdair of MSG bikes for servicing Hercules. And to my lovely Godparents for chauffeuring him up to us.

Onwards – kayak plan of Oxford to London to follow next week.

Sarah x

P.S Finale under Tower Bridge is November 3rd at midday. Watch this space for more details.

P.P.S Let’s take the charity totals over 50K. Spare a penny or a pound? Donate here.

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Homeward bound

Montreal's support team, led by Mylene Paquette

Montreal’s support team, led by Mylene Paquette

Folks,

This is your rower here, soon to be cyclist and kayaker again. Soon to be home. Home! I haven’t been home properly for 18 months and have a lot of hugs in store for friends and family and team, and my baby nephew, whom I am yet to meet. Lucy and I fly from Montreal tonight after a magic and gentle couple of days doing nothing very much besides some exped admin and, for me, enjoying as much fresh fruit as I can eat.

Lovely Mylene and Carol practising their banner placements

Lovely Mylene and Carol practising their banner placements

If I had to come ashore on this side of the Atlantic then there is no better place. My good friend and sister of the waves Mylene Paquette lives here and so has hosted us and been Chief Liaiser/Fixer/Translator etc etc. Another wonderful friend from Cape Cod, Carol Penfield, drove for 10 hours to surprise me as I stepped off the boat, bringing with her bags full of cakes, presents and greetings from my Chatham supporters. To be with folks I know and love and who understand a little of the journey and waves is like a warm bath – gentle, supportive and nourishing.

Possibly the squeeziest hug in the world after 5 months apart.

Possibly the squeeziest hug in the world after 5 months apart.

Everything feels a bit surreal right now. It is as though a part of me is still on the ocean with Happy Socks, rowing, rowing, rowing….and I am in some parallel universe. To have left the ocean so quickly and then be on shore within a week is rather a lot to process, especially without my dear little white boat. I am trying to keep it all contained until we finish back under Tower Bridge and I have time and space to reflect. Hooray for adrenaline.

Captain Gupta and myself on the bridge of Federal Oshima

Captain Gupta and myself on the bridge of Federal Oshima

Plans are evolving apace for the final legs of cycling and kayaking in the UK. Led by Project Manager Sara Davies and PR Chief Jenny Ellery, it is all coming together nicely, with input and support from various external parties. We are all excited for cherishing these final miles of the journey and getting under Tower Bridge on November 3rd, and grateful to everyone helping make it happen.

The crew of Federal Oshima

The crew of Federal Oshima

Big thank yous to Suzanne and Marc from local agents FedNav for arranging the legalities; the Customs chaps for coming out to St Lambert Lock to sign me in; Erin and Tibo and Christopher for coming to wave; Evelyn, Laurence and Loic for cheering and pictures; Marysol for filming and smiles; Carol for being the Cape Cod Messenger and Hug Deliverer (and the senders for all the warmth and support); Mylene for everything.

A special  thanks to Captain Gupta and crew of Federal Oshima for their assistance in the Atlantic and welcome onboard during my week at sea. The Indian cuisine was some of the best food on my entire L2L journey…

We look forward to posting details and updates of these final legs as things draw closer.

A final thanks to you – my online family of supporters for all the messages and good energy you have put our way.

Saltiest,

Sarah and, in her absence, Happy Socks x

P.S Still marching towards our charity goals for CoppaFeel!, MND Association, WaterAid and Jubilee Sailing Trust. Please consider donating here. Thank you!

P.P.S We are looking to borrow/hire/get sponsored with 2 weeks of a motorhome hire for the final leg of the journey. Must be UK based, roughly Oxford/London area and to have had no animals inside. Any leads, please get in touch via hello@sarahouten.com

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The anticipation…

… is driving me crazy!

It’s Lucy here, Sarah’s fiancee. It’s 0915 on Saturday morning and we (Mylenne who is hosting us and Carol who secretly drove 10 hours up from Chatham as a surprise to greet Sarah) are sat round the kitchen table having a coffee and eating breakfast. At 02:00 this morning the time of Sarah’s arrival changed from 7am to 11am EST as the Federal Oshima has to be on the anchor for a few hours while they wait for a pilot to navigate the locks.

I flew in Thursday evening to Montreal, and my first time in Quebec, (I think Sarah wants me to have visited every Canadian province before the year is up) and we spent the day decorating the house and stocking up on gin.

Getting ready for Sarah!

Getting ready for Sarah!

The excitment is unbearable, I haven’t been able to sleep since 5am so have  exhausted a TV series on my laptop and watched the sunrise. The weather yesterday was raining and grey, but today, it must have received the memo, the sun is shining brightly sat in the bluest of skies.

It’s time… we are off!!!!!!!!!

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Phonecast update from Sarah

A cheery hello from our adventurer – listen below for her news

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