Part 2 of our Family Adventure Cycling from Derby to Poland. For part 1 click here.
Initially I started planning this journey with my partner Zlatko, himself an experienced bikepacker but I knew this was something I wanted to do with my family. I proposed it to my Dad, who at the time was living in China and I was met with expected dismissal. "No, no, it sounds amazing but you and Zlatko should do it. What about work? What about Mum? What about the dog?". As with every adventure we can all think of a hundred reasons not to go.
A few weeks later an email popped up on my screen with the heading 'Possible Route?', Dad had started planning - not for him you must understand - for Zlatko and I. He was just taking an interest. But at that point I knew, with a little gentle persuasion, it was going to happen.
Over the next few months I quietly schemed and Dad quietly dismissed the journey as impossible for him, and Mum quietly thought none of us would go through it, so she didn't have to worry. It got to about a month before, when Dad bought a couple of panniers, that he agreed, he was in! Zlatko unfortunately was ruled out due to exciting developments with his own startup, and Mum was still unsure.
I knew that Mum would be unhappy at home, with Dad and I off on an adventure, and I was concerned about her joining us in the van. Partly because I thought she would be on her own a lot and partly (and unfairly) because I thought it would change the adventure of the unsupported journey into something more tame. I tried to convince her to cycle with us, but that was a resounding "no chance", so I tried to convince her to fly to Poland and just cycle the last section with us. Still no. She was worried too about driving, would she be a help or a hindrance? An impossible question; both, neither.
About two weeks before we set off, and with the pressure of needing to book a ferry, the decision was made. Mum would drive the route as closely as possible in the van, with their dog Ozzie, and we would meet up every day along the route. None of us knew how that would work out and it started to change my view that a supported journey would be less of an adventure, it looked like it was shaping up to be an incredible journey, so not less, just different. My brother Aleks and Harrie would fly to Gdansk and join us at the Farm for a few days and Zlatko would drive to France in time for my 30th birthday!
And so I set off on phase one of the journey, making my way by bike and train to my parents’ home near Derby for the ‘official’ start of our adventure.