Acid Rain

by tkos on August 14, 2012

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For the past year, there has been way too many conversation with way too many unqualified people as to what to pack into four relatively small bags. Small bags that will contain your life, and the equipment to ensure you stay alive, whilst cycling from one side of the world to the other. That’s not to say that I am some sort of pioneer. It’s not as if this type of trip has not been done before and there is plenty of information via google from people who have done this before. Experienced people. Nonetheless, it is everybody else that seems to want to share their opinion and then more so, give their critique as to my decisions as to what goes in my bag on my trip.

I don’t have the background of the extreme adventure cycle tourer, but I have pedaled over a couple of borders in my time. But it is simply cycling to the shop on a Sunday that would give me more qualifications as to what to pack than everybody I know.

The one real sticking point is the rainproof jacket and trousers. The bone of contention between Kimmi and I. The shocked faces on all my friends when I say that I do not plan on taking waterproofs through the summer months of Europe, the Middle East, the dry season of Asia and the deserts of Australia. It’s as if everybody in the world carries waterproofs in their back pocket all of the time just in case. I’ve never worn these sorts of clothes before. They just simply won’t fit in my bag. Am I missing out? ‘What will you do if it rains?’ people say. Is it acid rain?

We leave London on Monday. The forecast is rain. Kimmi puts on her rainproof jacket and a wry smile. I put on a brave face. We make it to the south coast, 20 miles from Dover, and we make it dry. But the dark clouds give me no glory points. It’s anyone’s game so far. We hit France on Wednesday under the same dark clouds. The heavens open and it rains for eight hours solid. All of which we are under a tent for. Kimmi awakes with her head in a puddle. I wake up dry. Her rainproof jacket failed. Epic.

The sun flirts with us but the threat of rain is never far away. We’re now camping in forests and cycling through small villages in Northern France. We’re eating well and the mood is good. On Friday we pack up the tent and hit the road. Ten minutes later it starts to rain. Then it starts to pour. The flirtatious sun has completely gone and it is black skies all about. We’re standing under a tree avoiding the majority of the downpour. Kimmi is looking at her watch and sighing, feeling more smug than snug in her rainproof jacket, then there is the return of that wry smile.

She starts scourging through her bag and pulls out a plastic packet, not much bigger than a beer mat. As if the torrential downpour didn’t destroy my ego enough, she simply mutters the words ‘here you go, mum thought you might need this…’. And she passed me a clear plastic disposable poncho with a £3.99 Boots price tag attached.

For the next ten kilometers, we cycled through village after village. Kimmi, who never said a word about the undoing of my arrogance, could not control her laughter as the children in the street pointed and laughed as I cycled through, town after town.

At least I was dry.

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