Farewell at the Ace Cafe

 Many thanks to everyone for the bon voyage messages and emails I appreciate them all. As I'm working on this journey and not just lounging around half the time, please bear with me as I attempt to keep up to date with the blogs, but it's not always possible.

Saturday and a worryingly large number of people turned up at the Ace Cafe to see us off, many of them ex-GlobeBusters riders themselves, possibly keen to see just who was mad enough to take on the challenge of the Silk Road with its mud, rivers and snow.

The fry-up was definitely worth the extra early start and I'd recommend it to any vegetarian. I stomped around the cafe in my new boots, actually there was more squeaking than stomping as they have a tendency to squeak which I feel doesn't do much for my rough and ready overland image.That first day we headed out of London, with everyone riding in a staggered formation along the motorway- we don't usually ride together as a group, but I think the underlying idea was- "For God's sake don't lose any of them beofre you've even left England"

We took the Channel Tunnel and rode our bikes onto the train, a new expereince for me. We met up with other bikers in the queue including one bloke who was proudly boasting that he was "riding ALL the way to Croatia", when he subsequently discovered that I was on my way to Everest Base Camp, he went a bit quiet. As I whizzed across northern France, I paused only for a crisp butty, french style, which is a croissant stuffed with tortilla chips, as the cafe was sady remiss in its vegetarian options. Unless you consider ham to be vegetarian. That first night we ended up in a small town in Belgium, I was barely off the bike before I was being greeted with "Hello Tiff", yes, not one but two people there who knew me, the bike traveller's world is a small one.