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The start

Every journey has a beginning, and who would've thought a 1,500 km cycle ride would begin its journey inside a railway station.

I have been commuting through Richmond Station for over 5 years and never realised that deep in the bowels of the station lay a bike shop. The eponymously named ''Richmond Station Cycle Centre ''.

By coincidence they also happen to be one of the few distributors for Surly Bicycles and so it was here that I purchased the bike that will take me to Italy. A Surly Disc Trucker.

Supposedly the choice of long distance cycling tourers around the world. Coupled with a leather Brooks B17 ''Flyer'' saddle this steel framed bike weighs in at a hefty 19 kg and that is before you add its rider (90 kg..likley to be 80 by the finish! ) ) panniers (bags) and other paraphernalia which when all done makes the total weight being carried close to 135 kg. (approx 300 lbs) . Those bottle of water you drink every day? If they're a litre in size, that bike weight with rider and baggage equates to 135 of those bottles.

My legs and lungs will be carting all that 1,500 km across France, Switzerland, over the Alps and down to the Northern Tuscany village of Fosdinovo in Italy during the next 4-5 weeks.

Cycling begins April 25, 2017.

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