The UK was one of the few European countries I haven’t biked yet. As a HUGE fan of the TV show THE PRISONER, this is my chance to “LIVE MY DREAM” & visit Portmeirion, where the show was filmed.
Taking my bike involved using the bus to Paris, Euro star to London and train to Liverpool, a mere 44 hours later. Liverpool being the home of the Beatles I had to do the Beatles Bicycle Tour: Paul McCartney & John Lennon’s childhood homes, Ringo Stars tribute building, strawberry fields and more.
There are many options to visit very popular Beatles history locations, of course the bike was best. We stopped, got off our bikes, some tourist buses just drove past strawberry fields and didn’t even stop.
IT’S TIME FOR THE BIKE TOUR TO PORTMEIRION
I had a great time in Liverpool, met lots of people, tasted the local foods and libations. But, I came to bike, so a biking I will go. I make breakfast because I have a fast and easy homemade porridge recipe & easy coffee. But after 50 years of hard work, I treat myself to dinner and lunch. Portions are always too much so I bring a plastic container for the leftovers.
You can see from the photos that the ride was mostly off road, so no cars.
The owner of the campground suggested I visit the Albion pub in Conway. So as one who takes advice, I went. Had super fish & chips right across the street too! (& it shows)
Running low on battery on my e-bike, I make a pub stop and figure out where I’m going to stay. I chose Riverside Camping because the reviews said they offered a super English breakfast, that is “Vegetarian English Breakfast”.! Includes eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, vegan sausage, tomatoes and beans!
I finally made it to Portmeirion and the home of “The Prisoner”, yea I’m living my dream. It’s a Mediterranean style castle built on the Wales coast. I’ve wanted to come here for years, I watched all the episodes (again) before coming here. The Google photos are probably better than mine, check it out HERE
I contacted my friends in Brighton and they were leaving soon, so I took the train to Bristol. So we would at least have a few days together. I learned a hard lesson miles are not kilometers. I stayed a Bristol Camping, a mere 10 miles from Bristol for 1 night. Then I opted for a night at an Airbnb. Best part? I did the worst part of travel there, laundry. Rode to Bath, actually a really nice town.
The ride Bath to Brighton was confusing. There’s an old railroad tunnel that avoids the hill. I missed the tunnel and ended up going over the hill instead 🙁 I rode along the Grand Junction Canal canal that was both weird and wild. The “river” goes over the railroad tracks and another river, it’s 40-50 feet above. I rode to a campground that ended up being closed. He saw me on my bike, felt sorry for me and let me stay. He was booked for that weekend and wanted a day off before the onslaught.
Brighton’s seaside location is awesome, boardwalk, great bike paths, Vegan food everywhere. My friends are moving from Brighton because it’s so expensive. It’s true, I burned through a lot of money in Brighton and the UK in general.
I spent 5 days in Brighton, ate the best (& last) portion of Fish & Chips. Fish & Chips contain 2,000 calories, enough for the entire day in just one meal. Sometimes the bike can be encumbering to deal with, that being the potential for theft. Every store, restaurant and museum I visited let me park the bike safely inside.
I rode 1/2 way from Brighton to London, then got the train. Pulling a blackberry thorn out of my arm was the last straw. UK’s bike paths can be awesome but can also lack any maintenance. When riding into Bath, a biker had stopped and was trimming back the trail with his hand shears.
I found Crystal Palace campground that’s just 5 miles from downtown London. When I read articles about places to visit I tag them on my Google Map. I tagged Terry’s Cafe London, it was the closest place from my campsite. I ride by, looks good and grab a table. A few minutes later a women rides up on her bike. I offer her to sit with me, “you’re alone?”, I respond, “not anymore!”. We meet up later & bike to the Bansky Tunnels. They were having a Cancer Awareness event, lots of painting going on. Enough time for a drink and we go our separate ways.
I’ve been to London several times, but never with my bike. The gay pride parade was going on, a lot of the streets were closed, it was wall to wall people everywhere. It took me nearly 2 hours to get across the river, only 1/2 mile. I tag different places to visit and takes me to neighborhoods I wouldn’t normally visit. I was sitting outside a pub (go figure) and people kept walking by with flowers, I finally asked. There was a flower market down the street. Here’s some photos from around London.
Sabina invited me to stay at her house, so of course I took her to dinner. We visit a very historical pub on the Thames river, The Prospect of Whitby
OK some quirky things about the UK
I burned my hands several times with the separate hot/cold water faucets. I tried to explain that they have faucets that actually mix hot and cold water. I was told they had one in the handicapped bathroom. The roads in the UK are in total disrepair, just a mixture of patches, everywhere. I’m a friendly guy, but being on my bike I felt like a target from everyone: hello, cheers, good morning, they are overly friendly, which is not a bad thing, just very noticeable.
Britain has a historically low unemployment rate of 3.6%. Yet poverty levels are breaking all records.
Watch the video HERE
MY FAVORITE BEERS IN UK
Obviously Session is my favorite beer and they’re all under 5% alcohol, so you can have more than one!
This is my 5th time to Barcelona, so I have some favorite restaurants & pubs TACO ALTO & GARAGE BEER. Visit the soap store website. I read in the news that the Walmart yacht KAOS was vandalized by environmentalist (thank you) read HERE.
I’m going to 2 outdoor music festivals while I’m here in Slovenia, then heading to Slovakia for 2 weeks, one of the few countries in Europe I haven’t biked yet.