The arrival in London

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(the following text is a “Google-translation” of the original text in Portuguese. It is exactly as it was spilled by the translator, with absolutely no changes. If you want to take the challenge and do a proper translation, I'd be very, very happy.)

The arrival in London did not scare me. Even with a bicycle dismantled - to what degree I do not know, inside the box. Even with my "panniers", rucksacks suitable for biking, having arrived in New York a few hours before my flight, even without having the slightest notion of Heathrow Airport in London or geography, or distances involved that first day. My only certainty was that the airport would come riding to the house of Ivan.

In the baggage hall, now with the passport stamped allowing me to stay six months in England, I find the box the bike and my backpack, both already out of the mat. I do not speak to them. I'm going first to the American Airlines ticket counter to ask where I can ride my bike. Tell me to do it right there, like everyone else.

The area is really huge. Looking for a place between two mats, that is not in anybody's way and calmly get my service. Open the box, get the tools in your bag, drop each piece of the bicycle firmly attached to the box and start assembling. Wheels, pedals, handlebars, saddle. Inflate the tires, mount the odometer, each party holding the handlebars, front fork and frame. Adjust the brakes, attach the air pump and water bottles - three on the board. All set? Nothing. Missing luggage.

As I said, "panniers" arrived in New York a few hours before my departure. The result is that all the baggage was, in fact, piled into the big bag that was done just to protect the pack in this type of transfer. What do I do? Shoot everything, absolutely everything, from the inside of everything and I spread the floor, replacing one by one, every thing back in panniers, in a rational way. It is so little to trinket.

So it is worth a parenthesis to discriminate all the stuff on the bike, as I said, going to the air pump, three bottles of water, the "kick-stand" - or rest and bicycle rear rack - not found in the front NY and I'll have to look it up here. In vain the rear rack pannier largest, sleeping bag, air mattress, tripod, tent and padded waist when used in the largest pannier is converted into hiking backpack. Within the larger pannier will: mine clothes: about 10 shirts, 2 shorts, 2 pants, cycling, a sweatshirt, towel, socks, underwear, swimwear, scarves, hat, scarf and slippers, hiking and camping equipment: stove, cylinder fuel, pots, mugs, steel plate, headlamp, lighters, camping towel, pocket knife and compass, first aid, personal hygiene, sewing supplies, neck pillow, travel guides, tools and flat tire kit, most of the big bag pannier, extra locks and 80 rolls of film.

In the absence of the front rack, the lower pannier, for now, going behind my back. Within them go: the photographic equipment (two bodies, two lenses, 7 or 8 filters, manuals and 10 rolls of film); door for daily papers and controls, rain gear, bike tool kit, extra inner tube, cleaning kit photo, passport, money, credit cards, sunglasses and eyeglasses extra bicycle chain with lock and strap (rubber bands to hold things to the bike)

In addition to jeans and a knit shirt, come with a hiking boot, the only footwear and warm clothing for travel of two parts. To complete the device, clock and helmet.

If you have not forgotten anything, it's all here. And to put everything in order, cycling, luggage and luggage on the bike, I need almost 4 hours. The lack of practice of pushing a bike with so much weight is a problem in time to win the first meter.

Even at the airport, my first contact with a TIC (tourist information center in English). The guy who serves me is so confused that after 15 minutes I find myself happy to leave with a xerox copy of two pages of a map. One showing my destination, the street where Ivan lives, but none where I am showing the airport. The result is inevitable ...

Otherwise, try to imagine the following situation: you face a flight of seven hours that left at midnight and arrived at noon. You lose 4 hours assembling and packing your luggage, no manual for the first time, a bicycle. You are arriving in a country you've never been before, a continent that not nearly over. You have to leave the airport with all those thousands of access and exits and interchanges and forks and you have no map shows you where you are. You have to go out riding, carrying extra weight around 30kg. And if all this were not enough, you have to remind yourself that it is right to drive in the opposite direction. What would you do? Yeah, I also did ...

Other took almost four hours, thirty-odd miles, wrong paths and several stops to ask for help in order to reach the house of Ivan. Under normal conditions would not be more than 12 km, for a half hour or so. And look what I got lucky! It did not rain, which is rare this time of year. And it was enough I get home from Ivan to dusk.

Now yes, I was in London. My trip could begin. It was March 26, a Friday. I Survived ...

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