Cycle Challenge Day 9

Well that’s that. Another challenge completed. The final day was a bit more comfortable than I expected, though it was still over 50 miles on the bike, and around 2 hours 45 minutes. I’m glad to finish and have a certain warmth that I did manage it. However, this thing has pretty much taken over my life after work this week, and most of any free time over the last weekend.  Bye bye to the gym for a while – I am sick of the sight of that bike.


Day 9 Distance: 86.3 km (53.6 miles)

Total Distance: 804.7 km (500 miles)

Where am I on the London to Glasgow route: Glasgow. Finished at 7:10pm. The kids of CiN have mooched in just before 9. Well done to all of them, through all kinds of weather and inclines. Over £5 million raised so far. If you want to show your appreciation for them, please donate here:

Here are my heroes:

Thanks ever so much for reading. This is obviously the last blog post for this challenge. I am as stiff as a board – I reckon I need to go for a long walk soon……….


Cycle Challenge Day 8

158.3 km and so less than 100 miles to go, at the start of Day 8. Stuck in the middle of nowhere last night with only a distant phone box for company, so thank goodness that the bike started this morning. The seven days have been tiring and the mornings are not fun, my body having a certain aura of reticence and inertia about it now. Once I start, it is not so bad for a decent while with some sort of sense of achievement just round the metaphorical corner. There has never been much doubt in my mind since the weekend that I will complete the distance, only how much it would hurt.

It is odd – and somewhat masochistic (in some but not all senses of the word) – when you know that an activity that is entirely voluntary is not necessarily going to be enjoyable but what you do know is that it is going to hurt. I’m not certain I can get my head round that, but only that I keep going there. There is a near analogy of continually banging your head against a wall; it feels really good when you’ve finished. Perhaps, for me, it is that I can call myself a sportsman. I was always decent, but not brilliant, at a number of sports with no specifically great achievements that would impress too many people other than my mum and dad.

After those 10 weeks’ walking in 2014, I did introduce myself to a couple of people, quite straight-facedly, as a former full-time athlete. The walking (and now cycling) achievements are more a victory for stubbornness over talent, and a difficulty in accepting to give up – ok, don’t mention Isle of Wight. And I’m in no danger of giving up on this one, despite another two and a quarter hours and a bit riding and bouncing up and down on the saddle after work today. It reminded me of Not The Nine O’clock News sketch with the song I Like Bouncing and Rowan Atkinson belting out the classic lyrics “I like bouncing boing boing boing, Up and down until I get a pain in me groin”  ( and I sure did have a pain in me groin, and me thighs too tonight. I was looking to get close to halving the remaining distance today, and I knew that I needed 71.5 km to keep those kids behind me. Competitive Dad and all that.


Day 8 Distance: 72 km (44.7 miles)

Total Distance: 718.4 km (446.4 miles)

Where am I on the London to Glasgow route: The route has shifted eastwards to Edinburgh. About 700 yards ahead of the kids of CiN. I’m not gloating about this – I’m only trying to help by letting them ride in my slipstream tomorrow, the final day.


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The ‘Ride to the Clyde’. Just this one day left, a jaunt from Edinburgh to Glasgow. What a fantastic achievement by me those kids. Please think about making a donation:

Cycle Challenge Day 7

I need to get wound up more often. Over the course of today, I turned from Cool Calm and Collected Spice to Sarcastic Spice to Irritated Spice to Angry Spice and then (most satisfyingly) to Stroppy Spice. A couple of innocent, or partly innocent, people got in the way. It gave me the aggression and drive to give it everything on the bike when I got home. I forgot the increasing stiffness and achiness in my legs and cycled away much further than I had planned.

What made me angry? Well, all sorts of things, work related. Being taken for granted, being taken for an idiot, having my advice completely ignored. Just all part of a day’s work. We’ve all had those sorts of days. It’s funny that very few personal insults can upset me since I can usually bat those away, but questioning integrity is on an absolutely different level. That really got my goat, in fact, a whole tribe of goats, but it helped to instil so much energy to burn off and channel to the pedals.

I’ve calmed down now. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Maybe you don’t like me anyway. I’ll try to be Normal Spice tomorrow.

Day 7 Distance: 92 km (57.2 miles)

Total Distance: 646.4 km (401.7 miles)

Where am I on the London to Glasgow route: In the middle of nowhere, but 8.7 miles ahead of the kids of CiN, apparently snuggled up in Hawick.

Image result for pictures of in the middle of nowhere in scotland

Now those kids on the BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge. They have really got things to be angry about, to be bitter with the world. Their resilience is to be admired. As I write this, I’m reaching for my phone to donate. This ride – the one that I’m doing – is obviously a virtual ride of 500 miles over 9 days and it is in tribute to all of them who are really on the roads and hills. Please read one or two of their stories within the link below. I don’t envy them for one minute for what they’ve gone through in their lives; they deserve their moments of fame this week on the ‘Ride to the Clyde’.

Cycle Challenge Day 6

This morning was the first during this challenge when I have felt stiffness in my legs and it was an effort to get myself going today. It was even more of an effort, after a full day’s work, to start on the bike. It was TV all the way with the regular fare of Pointless, The Chase and The One Show, followed by the build up and first few minutes of the England match v Brazil. After about an hour and a half and 45-50 km, it was at best a grind and I pushed myself a bit harder just to get to around 80 km in order to keep the distance required down to 250 km in three days. That should be manageable but I will be glad now when it’s all over. A big effort needed and some deep digging to do. In other news, chicken and beans for tea, which apparently was Alan Shearer’s pre-match meal of choice.

Day 6 Distance: 81 km (50.3 miles)

Total Distance: 554.4 km (344.5 miles)

Where am I on the London to Glasgow route: In the southern outskirts of Carlisle, in Cumbria. The kids of CiN apparently went through hell today in the wind, cold and rain and up a number of steep peaks. They somehow managed to close the gap on me to a mere 17.5 miles. Hats off to them; they probably had it harder than me.


Image result for pictures of carlisle england

Watching The One Show today was truly emotional as the stories of a couple of the riders were played out, highlighting how fortunate most of us are in our own lives. You’ll hear this time and time again this week, but…….please donate whatever you can:

Cycle Challenge Day 5

Our gym was built when we converted our garage about seven years ago. It is a fairly small affair with a cycle, rowing machine, bench and weights, and a vibro exercise plate. The gym lies largely unused for long periods in between spells of high activity, but it is being tested to the full at present, or at least the bike is. After work today, I was in the gym by just after 5:30pm and the temperature reading was a frisky 6 degrees Celsius.

It soon warmed up as I trundled away steadily, belting out a bit of Bon Jovi after 10 km. I was halfway there but not really living on a prayer. At the start of proceedings, with a little more than 400 km to go in 5 days, it doesn’t take a career statistician to tell you that that is around 80 km per day. I would be more than happy to leave myself a bit more on the Friday if I have to.

I am really in the rhythm now and this is becoming part of a routine, though not routine enough for it to be too easy. Make no mistake, this is damned hard and I am gradually becoming slightly more reticent to start off each day. The Land’s End to John O’Groats walk is in a different league, but of all the other challenges this one feels to be the hardest since it is sustained over a number of days and the need to do a lot of the legwork on top of a day at work. The 100 km walks were very hard but mostly in recovery than during the events when adrenaline was everything.

Today, the contestants won the jackpot on Pointless (BBC), didn’t win the jackpot on The Chase (ITV+1), but England won their own jackpot of The Ashes at The Oval (DVD+8 years). Tomorrow, there is the England football team playing, so yes, er, really something to which to look forward to watching.

Day 5 Distance: 81 km (50.3 miles)

Total Distance: 473.4 km (294.2 miles)

Where am I on the London to Glasgow route: Crosthwaite, a small parish in the heart of the Lake District, around 5 miles west of Kendal. Crosthwaite has a population of around 600 and a median age of 51, so (if you’re reading this after about 8pm) most of them are in bed by now. There is a nice church. Meanwhile, the kids of BBC CiN are a full marathon (26.2 miles) behind in Morecambe. Take that, suckers! They may well catch me up on Day 8, I reckon, but we will all be happy families in Glasgow at the end of Day 9.


A stone church tower, on a sunny winter morning.

Details of the BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge are in the following link. Please be encouraged to donate whatever you can:

Cycle Challenge Day 4

I must say that I surprised myself today. After doing the weekly shopping this morning, I settled down in the afternoon in front of Columbo (5 USA – Freeview Channel 21 – has three episodes every Sunday afternoon) and cycled away. I didn’t bear too many aches or scars from yesterday’s marathon effort and in a bit under two and a half hours managed 75 km. An hour break and some light sustenance saw me well, ready for the final 2009 Ashes Test, and my legs took me another 59 km. I felt remarkably fresh but I stopped just as I was starting to slow down a trifle (who put that trifle there?!?) and England had got themselves into a winning position at the end of the third innings. So there is a bit left for me to watch after work tomorrow.

Today may be the key day. I am almost halfway and still not suffering too much, with the last two days taking a big clump out of the 500 miles that I need to complete before the end of Friday. One of my key tasks is to ensure that I have good TV or DVD viewing material for the following five days. It makes an enormous difference in passing the time in what is essentially quite a dull and boring task, just cycling for about 24-26 hours. At least when I am out walking, there are interesting things to see and decisions to make about the route. Writing a blog about sitting in the gym for three or four hours on any one day tests the creativity of the mind. But I am enjoying the challenge – so far. I can appreciate the fitness in my legs and a bit in my shoulders too.

Day 4 Distance: 134 km (83.3 miles)

Total Distance: 392.4 km (243.8 miles)

Where am I on the London to Glasgow route: Fulwood, which is a suburb (population around 33 thousand) just north of Preston. Fulwood Barracks is the home of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, and has a museum dedicated to the Regiment. Meanwhile, the BBC CiN riders are stuck in Salford, 32.8 miles behind.


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Details of the BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge are in the following link. Please be encouraged to donate whatever you can:

Cycle Challenge Day 3

After getting far behind where I wanted to be yesterday, it was not exactly do or die now but Saturday and Sunday have to be the days for the big moves prior to the working week.

It was a tough Friday and a late night getting to sleep. An early morning delivery led to an earlier rise than I would have liked, and then some physical effort in the chores that followed, prior to thinking about getting into the gym and on the bike. Once in the saddle, it was a hard graft for just over an hour and a half for 50 km and I felt pretty drained. I decided to take a long break and had a lie down in the afternoon, with some sleep here and there while listening to Pompey’s eventful win at Blackpool. Drifting in and out of consciousness is perhaps the best way when Pompey are playing, even at the best of times. But the rest had done me good, and a generous bowl of pasta with various vegetables, sausages and cheese gave the impetus to start riding again in the early evening.

A really fine session, accompanied by Strictly and then some more 2009 Ashes (1-1 with only the Oval Test to come), found me with such improved mood and energy, and I was feeling ok even after another 80 km in two and a half hours. So that was a personal best 130 km in the day, over 80 miles, and a satisfyingly large chunk out of the challenge. I had hoped to be about halfway, 400 km or thereabouts, at the end of Sunday and I might be not too far off that. Workdays will be hard – I won’t be able to kick off until the early evening and then have to go to work the next day. But that is the nature of the beast; it wouldn’t be a challenge if it wasn’t, er, a challenge.

Day 3 Distance: 130 km (80.8 miles)

Total Distance: 258.4 km (160.6 miles)

Where am I on the London to Glasgow route: Stone, Staffordshire. A lovely market town with the Trent and Mersey Canal passing through it. The population of the town is 16,385, according to the 2011 Census. The BBC CiN riders are just about in the same county, resting tonight in Cannock, a full 18.6 miles behind. They of course have the advantage of not having to go to work from Monday to Friday…….


Details of the BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge are in the following link. Please be encouraged to donate whatever you can: