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  • Writer's pictureStars and Spokes

Free Starbucks: Welcome to America!

Pascal here, officially stateside!

'Sir, are you active duty military?'

The Starbucks server had spotted my Royal Navy cycling jersey, where was this going I wondered...! Normally when somebody says this to me I worry I'm about to be arrested for some reason - irrational, I know.

'I am indeed, I'm in the Navy, me and my buddy Dan are out here to cycle across America. We are raising funds for military mental health'.

'This drink is on us sir, you have a great day and good luck on your ride. Thank you for your Service!'

Apparently Starbucks is free in the US. Hope this continues!

I can tell you the amount of times this has happened in the UK. It's roughly zero!

That's not a complaint, just an observation. We wouldn't expect free coffee ever, we are just doing our jobs; but it's nice when it happens and a little bit humbling!

Free Starbucks aside, I'm officially stateside!!!! Dan arrives later today, we then start our ride tomorrow morning. Day 1 is a 'loosener' of 110 miles, in 30 degree heat, with 9,000 ft of hill climbing (that's three times up Ben Nevis...!).

Best I enjoy my day of pre-ride preps in San Diego before the legs commence being battered from tomorrow onwards.

San Diego. We've started bike rides in worse places!

As far as places to chill before a big ride go, you could do a lot worse than San Diego. Gently swaying palm trees, tanned humans in every direction and randomly epic vegetarian food restaurants all over! I was toying with the idea of heading out for a swim in the surf in my pants, but decided against it; I can see the headlines now, 'Idiotic Royal Navy Officer rescued by US Coast Guard 3 miles out at sea wearing just his pants, having been swept out to sea by a rip tide...'. Wouldn't be the best start to our trip!

I'm not cool enough to surf, and would likely drown.

Final servicing tweaks done to the bike and checks on all our safety equipment carried out, not much else to do now other than wait for Dan. This provides an opportunity to consider the ride ahead.

How do I feel? In a word, ready! Dan and I have cycle 15-20 hours a week for 18 months now, through 2 brutally cold and wet British winters. We have balanced this with work and family, and it's been very tough at times. Feeling the Californian sun on my back, my legs feeling like supercharged pistons waiting to crush the pedals of justice. Or at least, they don't feel achingly tired for once!

Heading out from San Diego tomorrow, at the end of Day 1 we will have only 4830 KM to go, we will have broken the back of the ride really...!

The road east out of San Diego. Florida us just over that hill, sort of.

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