We got on the Grand Union canal towpath in Brentford and set off at pace. Well ... at pace for all of two minutes until we came to an unexpected and rather high humpback bridge with a 45 degree approach. Suzanne came to a sudden stop ... and I rear ended her. Down I went at zero kms an hour, still clipped in. After ensuring that I hadn't scratched her precious PearlE she helped me up ... so she could check that I hadn't scratched Lara!!.
Back on the bike. The surface and condition of the towpath was shall we say "variable" at best and we decided to get off and onto a road when it got really rough, for fear of getting a puncture. As we cruised up to an intersection and stopped, I uncleated my right foot and then proceeded to try and put my left foot down. Result, down I went again at zero kilometres an hour, landing on the footpath on my elbow and bashing the back of my new helmet on the tarmac (thank goodness for my helmet). This one hurt a little more than the last one, but everything seemed intact so we got back on the towpath again. We saw a railway station and I asked a man walking his dog which one it was and he said "West Drayton". I said "er umm Suzanne, that's on the way to Slough, is Slough anywhere near Watford?". "er umm No" she said. Then we spotted a sign that said "Slough arm of the Grand Union Canal". Luckily we also spotted a waterside pub and Suzanne said "I need the loo" (see my earlier blog post re me being the one holding the bikes outside public loos in France on the ride).
I decided that I should check my elbow as it was a little sore and when I took my jacket off and bent my elbow blood squirted out at Suzanne who said "eeek it's split down to bone, we need to get you to the hospital, and you must keep it sterile" .. and then promptly shoved her much used looking tissue into it, before packing me off to the toilet to see how bad it was and to wash it. When I got back she had got us a beer each, she said it was needed for the pain ... hers!
By now of course we knew that we were lost and wildly off course, so with the aid of the iPhone cycling app on my phone we worked out where we were and a general direction to get us to Watford by road. En route we had to carry our bikes through a closed road covered in mud, climb lots of hills, get lost several more times, and Suzanne got a bit terse (I of course remained the epitome of sweetness and light for the whole duration) but we did eventually get there, albeit about 4 hours later than planned. Luckily for me both Paul and his partner are trained in first aid and have a first aid cabinet the size of a walk in wardrobe. He cleaned me up and put plastic stitches and bandages on my elbow and gave me a thing to wear to constrain movement to assist in the healing. Then he gave us the most delicious baked potatoes I have eaten in a very long time. His last act of generosity was to plot our route home ... on the tube! I felt a little conspicious taking Lara on the tube through central London on a Saturday night, but I was so tired I quickly got over it.
When we set up the blog and I wrote about sharing our moments of pain along the way, I didn't realise that the pains would be mine!! Or, that I would rapidly become an expert in inflicting the most damage on myself by falling off at zero kms an hour ... no more please ...