of a Globe Trotting Pensioner
before had I arisen at 4 am on New Years day to commence a cycle tour, but
then this was rather a special tour.
It was almost 4 hours later that cycling history was made in Southern
California when the largest group ever (247) set off on a bicycle trek around
7 years of planning Odyssey 2000 ® had been dubbed as the cycle event of the
century. It will last for 366 days and cover 28,000 Kilometres over 45
Countries and 5 continents.
Having personally toured extensively over the past 6 years (since
retiring) this was for me the climax of my own 3 1/2
years of planning and preparation.
first 8 kilometres of day one was completed in a glare of publicity (as only
the Americans know how) and for me, being one of only 2 UK registered riders
it was a unique and unforgettable experience.
The start of Odyssey 2000 ® coincided with the famous annual
Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena and we (247 of us) had been invited to
lead the parade at a sedate 5 MPH. The parade was due to be screened on the
Nations TV networks
8 am, but for reasons (yet unknown) our Police motorcycle escort
moved us off at 7.50 am . In spite of this there were an estimated 1
million spectators who lined the famous Colorado Boulevard some of whom had
camped out the previous night to ensure a good spot.
I registered for Odyssey 2000 in July of 96 I did not fully appreciate that
the final weeks of planning and preparation would be so traumatic and
stressful. The climax of literally moving house and planning for an absence of
over one year came when I locked the door on April Cottage (my home in the
Vale of Glamorgan) on 10th December, and the following day handed over the
keys of my car. There was almost a sense of relief at that point, although
there was still much to be done before our departure for Gatwick at 5.30 am on
12th so much so that I did not get to bed the previous night.
had been over 12 months earlier that I had decided to avoid travelling out to
California over Christmas so I had reserved accommodation from 12th
December at Escondido between San Diego and Los Angeles.
At the time I had no idea who would be travelling with me (if anyone)
there were in the end 6 of us including my sole UK companion for the year 2000
(John a CTC member from Lincolnshire) together with his wife Celia and
3 other friends.
touched down at San Diego at around 4.30 pm local time on 12th
after a 15 hour journey which included a stopover in Phoenix Arizona. After
picking up our hire vehicle we checked in to our apartment near Escondido, a
mountain resort situated 45 miles north of San Diego.
the following day saw us returning to San Diego where
John and I had arranged to collect our Global 2000 Odyssey bikes. As
expected adjustments and additions were required, plus the fitting of our own
saddle and pedals so, it was arranged that we would return on Thursday after
getting in a couple of rides.
I was down as a reserve driver on our hire vehicle I was thankful that John
had agreed to do most of the driving for the next 2 weeks.
Whilst I have had some driving experience in the US, I felt this was
another experience I could do without even as a passenger travelling on the 8
lane interstate highway which runs from San Diego to Los Angeles. (it makes
the M4 look like a country lane)
Sunday 19th Dec we had a rendezvous with around 12 of our Odyssey 2000
companions who live within driving and cycling distance of our apartment. Then
after Christmas it was back to the drawing board with the final packing before
we travel on 30th December to the Hilton Hotel at Burbank north of
Los Angeles for the 2 days of meetings/celebrations with the 240 odd folk who
will be our cycling companions for the 366 days commencing on New year`s day.
Arthur (can`t wait to get going) rider number 89.