Laptop and an electric kettle? Queen-sized bed and a roof over my head? I am slow to leave Amber’s house.
The scent of hay and manure greets me as I cycle out of Oxford; I am back in the English countryside. By now, it feels familiar: the small, quiet roads, the endless fields, the farm animals.
Wooly sheep and white cows keep watch on me as I roll by.
I am trying to figure out how to get to the 3,000 year-old Uffington White Horse when I come across a small building. It’s a kebab stand!
Mamet looks at my map and gives me directions. Soon we are talking about his family in Turkey, life in England, and what exactly am I carrying on my bike.
He asks me the usual questions, “You’re alone? On your bike? Where do you sleep?” He speaks fairly good English, but when he tries to respond to my answers, he cannot come up with the right words to capture his thoughts. Finally he smiles and stammers, “Your trip… YOU… I am CONFUSED!“.
As we talk, Mamet makes me all sorts of food: a burger stuffed with cucumbers and tomatoes, freshly sliced doner kebab, fat English chips. Cans of soda and bottles of water are set before me.
“You might need a midnight snack!”
I eat as much as my stomach can handle and refuse to take additional provisions. Mamet waves my hand away when I try to pay. I’ve heard about Middle Eastern hospitality, but didn’t expect to find it in farm country, England! Thanks Mamet!
As I pedal on, I discover that the blood has left my legs and gone straight to my stomach. I can hardly move. The sun is shining and I am desperate for a nap.
I locate the puncture, but not the culprit.
My spirits sink one level lower than food coma—four punctures in one week??? (And only hours after I wrote this entry.)
It is drizzling. I head north towards a campsite instead of south towards the horse.
It is dark by the time I get in my tent. I don’t bother to cook any dinner, instead I eat the rest of the chips (okay, I took a few extra provisions) and fall asleep with a full belly.
-Distance: 33.7 miles / 54.2 km
-Max speed: 34 miles / 54.7 km
-Average speed: 7.6 mph / 12.2 kph