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So far so good. Despite the plethora of obstacles encountered today (is that the right collective noun?), we made it to Land’s End pretty much on schedule.

Admittedly things didn’t start so well when the handling staff at the check-in desk initially refused to accept our bikes because they weren’t pre-booked, despite Flybe’s website and reservations office both stating that bikes cannot be booked in advance. Having convinced them that this was indeed the case, they relented and even forgot to charge us for them, so it turned out a bit of a bonus.

On arrival at Southampton, I was initially pulled to one side by the customs officer inspecting everyone’s ID who questioned the Russian visa in my passport – despite being dated 2008! Then, as we collected our bikes, all 6 on duty officers closed in on us and asked to know what was in the bike boxes (no, really). As it turned out, the guy who stopped me was an avid mountain biker and he was more interested to know what type of bike I had & what we were doing!

Then we arrived at the hire car desk, where the chap behind the desk seemed almost delighted to tell us that our bikes wouldn’t fit in the Vauxhall Mokka we’d been given (I’d booked a Skoda Octavia – nothing like the official car of the Tour de France to get you in the mood!). He was nearly squealing with excitement as he declared the only thing they had bigger was a Nissan Qashqai, and they definitely wouldn’t fit in that either. 5 minutes later, with two bikes and two bags safely packed into the cavernous boot, we were on our way.

The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful, and everything survived unscathed. Just a quick trip to the Halfords mechanics for some grease on the pedals, and the bike is set for tomorrow morning.