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Friday the 21st of July

Back to the White Barn for today's start

The van dropped us off at our pick up point from last night, the White Barn at Cuddington. Matt discovered that he'd lost his Rack Pack and with it, his wet weather gear, the lenses for his cycling glasses and energy bars. Actually, quite an expensive loss.

Something to note here though, Matt seemed to be removing bits from his bike as we went, his mudguards and now his bag. The weight reduction was noted and I think it's getting too tough for the fella. I half expected to see him pass us on the bus.

Like yesterday the cycling was easy going but on fairly busy roads. It was certainly busier on the morning and as we cycled through the day, it got quieter and more rural. We headed for Whitchurch and were making good time. It was still mid morning when we arrived and made a quick stop for refreshments and to get out the sun. Dan needed number twos and after finding the public toilet, found it devoid of toilet paper. Being a resourceful kind of chap he popped into a discount store to buy a roll of toilet paper. He was told by the assistant that he'd have to buy a minimum of 24 rolls. The girl serving him noticed his legs were crossed and asked if it was for now, he replied it was so she offered him a complimentary roll of paper. We decided the people of Whitchurch are nice.

Pulling in for a quick break to rehydrate

We took this time for a map check. We noticed that we were just 3 miles from the Welsh border and discussed whether we should detour across it so that we could say we'd cycled all 3 mainland countries. In the end, Dad said we had to "Get Cracking" (Good reader, is it annoying you yet as much as it annoyed us during the ride? Nope? It will) so we pressed on for Shrewsbury and our final stop of Ludlow having only cycled 2 of the 3 countries.

Shrewsbury was an interesting place to cycle through. And for anyone who knows and is interested, we cycled over the English Bridge. On the other side of Shrewsbury town centre we stopped for lunch and then headed for Ludlow.

We bumped into a couple more End to Enders and swapped routes and stories. We pulled in to have our 600 mile marker photo and the other End to Enders pressed on. They had more miles than us to cover over the course of that day.

The big six oh oh point one

So we took the pictures and pressed on to Ludlow. Approaching the digs that were to the south of Ludlow, I think we became a little less diligent and the next chapter of Dan's bad luck story was written. Dan turned back to say something to Matt and steered in towards the kerb, clipping it slightly. To keep his balance he put his foot down on a raised grass verge and sprained his ankle. Did you know that ankles can swell up until they resemble a football? We discouraged him from taking his cycling shoe off for fear that he wouldn't be able to get it back on and cycled the last few miles to our digs in Ludlow. We hoped that after a nights kip, his ankle would be looking better in the morning.

About a mile before the digs we saw a strange man standing on the side of the road wearing a T-Shirt which said "Sheila's Wheelers". It was Tom, Dan's Dad. Dan was expecting to see his Dad with the T-shirts but the rest of us were clueless. Seeing Mum's name at this point was quite emotional and Dad was especially moved. We had a quick chat with Tom and then pressed on to our Digs

At our Travelodge we had a welcoming party. Waiting for us was Bryn (old faithful, not sure how we'd 'ave got on without his support), Tom, Jan (Dad's sister)and her husband Mick. We were told that more friends and family were on the way. Tom dished out a couple of Sheila's Wheelers t-shirts to all that turned up. The shirts can be seen in some of the photographs.

We showered and changed and all put on our new team t-shirts ready for the pub.

At the pub we enjoyed a pint and a meal that was paid for by Mick and Jan. When we protested saying that they shouldn't be buying our meal he asked us to donate the money to our charities. We felt that was very generous indeed and his instructions were followed.

We bumped into a couple more End to Enders and swapped routes and stories. We pulled in to have our 600 mile marker photo and the other End to Enders pressed on. They had more miles than us to cover over the course of that day.

Dan Edward and Tom

During the evening a few more friends turned up. My cousin Sharon and her husband Andy arrived followed by Kieth (my Dads friend) and his daughter, Karen. We talked about our adventure so far, caught up with what was going on outside our adventure and generally had a good time.

It was quite sad when the evening was over.

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