Welcome to the Participation Ride 2007 Blog

October 9, 2007

Pridelogo200The ride was completed on 7 September at around midday but you can still donate and honour those pledges! I will personally and privately acknowledge all donations.

More than £2,500 has been raised so far for ruralnet|uk’s Participation Fund and  one of my co-riders, James, raised more than £1,000 for a Cambodian charity trying to stop the trafficking of children.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting up the videos I have
taken and all of the GPS data collected for the route we followed for
others to use if they wish. Thanks again to everyone who supported this
project. Please continue to keep an eye on this blog.

The challenge to ride from Land’s End to John o’ Groats exclusively on the National Cycle Network remains. Does anyone fancy doing it as a relay? The route is here.

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Cockpit video clips now available

September 27, 2007

Sorry these have been a bit of a time coming but YouTube can be very tempramental!

But anyway here they are.

There are more to follow – watch this space.

The Yorkshire dales by bicycle

September 27, 2007

On the top of Holme Moor Summit

September 27, 2007

I will fill this post up later but just want to get the video clip up for now. I didn’t want to take still as it just wouldn’t have captured the atmosphere in the same way! Listen and see that wind!


More later . . .

On the Road to Pitlochry

September 27, 2007

I will fill this post up later but just want to get the video clip up for now.

More later . .  .

Barnstaple to Wells – Day 3 – Stages 8 to 11

September 27, 2007

A silver lining . . .
This short clip was taken after climbing up
onto Exmoor out of Barnstaple. It was nearly noon on Day 3 and I was only 15
miles in to a total of the 120 miles target for the day. However, I still had
time to pause, catch my breath and take in this view.

My departure from Barnstaple was delayed as I had to wait for the shops to open and source a new seat post bolt and buy my own pump as the others had to go ahead and I wouldn’t have access to Luke’s pump today. I also needed a new tyre. I’d got through 3 in the first two days and I was still running the third on my front wheel! Luke and I had inserted a thick piece of rubber on the inside of the tyre to stop the tube coming out but this was only a temporary fix.

Photo_082907_001
The bike shop recommended was ‘Gordon’s’. This was on the edge of the shopping precinct next to the car park in Barnstaple. It had bikes piled everywhere, inside and outside. You couldn’t get into ‘the shop’ as it was completely full of old bikes piled up one on top of the other. No racks just an enormous heap.

I asked Gordon if he had a seat post bolt and showed him the broken one. He tutted and went into ‘the shop’ and rummaged through a heap of bits just inside the door. He emerged a couple of minutes later with a bolt that fitted but was too short. He said that was all he but I was welcome to it. Thanks Gordon. He said I’d have to try elsewhere for something ‘so specialised’!

I tried the Bike Shed next. Again they struggled a bit to find a bolt but came up with the goods. They also had the perfect pump, a Topeak Road Morph which had an in-line pressure gauge. This pump was superb and became the pump of choice for everyone and served the whole team very well during the rest of the trip.

Photo_083007_003
I failed on the tyre front no one had a 406 tyre.
Luckily Trish was supporting us from Bampton today and she went to buy tyres first thing so if I got to Bampton I’d be OK.

I did get to Bampton and fitted two Continental tyres. These were a much more traditional tyre and were brilliant – they took me all the way to John o’ Groats with absolutely no further problems.

A lot of today’s ride took me along canal paths which was brilliant but the NCN signage let me down badly in the area under the M5 and wasted a lot of time getting back on track.

I never did catch up with the others. And I didn’t make it all the way to Whitchurch. It was very dark by the time I got to Glastonbury but I pressed on up to the Tor and then down what felt like a rabbit hole onto a minor road and through to Wells.

Bishops_palace By the time I got to Wells I had to stop! It was late and I didn’t have the lights to be able to stay on the NCN. Trish and Carol came to pick me up (bless them) and take me to Swallet Farm on the understanding that I would get up early and be taken back to Wells to complete the stage.

The crew at Swallet Farm were absolutely marvellous. They made us so welcome and comfortable and offered to do our laundry. And there was wheat free toast for me at breakfast and a £20 donation to the cause. Thanks guys.

Bodmin to Bude – Day 2 Stage 6

September 24, 2007

On Day 2 we set off together from Ruthernbridge and cycled to Grogley Halt on the Camel Trail. There we split with James and Ian heading north west towards Padstow picking up the A39 at Wadebridge up to Bude. Luke and I stuck to the National Cycle Network, heading south east initially and then up onto Bodmin Moor. We’d cycled together over this moor before a few years back and it howled a gale. Today wasn’t so bad but still very windy considering there was virtually no wind anywhere else.

Bodmin_sign
The signage up onto the moor and across it was brilliant. Bodmin is a struggle to climb onto and hilly once you are up there too. As we came off the moor we bumped into the Wisely Down pub and rewarded ourselves with an early backed potato. We then pressed on to Bude. The narrow roads which the NCN uses into Bude are extremely steep. The rule was if you’re cycling less that three miles an hour, get off and walk. You go faster and exercise a different set of muscles!

During one of rest between climbs we met up with a very friendly local farmer. It was a great conversation which I wished I’d been able to capture on camera: the problems with this governemnt; the right to roam; the death of farming; the Word War 2 operations of the coast here including sinking of a hospital ship (carrying arms!) etc etc. All in the space of about 10 minutes. This is where the conversation took place.

We met up with James and Ian in Bude and had another lunch!

After lunch we split again with James and Ian sticking to the main roads to Barnstaple while Luke and I stuck to the National Cycle Network through Holsworthy and Sheepwash. Just beyond Sheepwash we got stuck in a sort of traffic jam of Combine Harvesters and Land Rovers. We both got off our bikes and out of the way in different passing points along the road. When we set off again I thought Luke was in front of me and he thought I was in front of him.

So he pedalled like mad to catch me up and I did the same to catch him up. When I got to the start of the Tarka Trail I thought I’d better phone to find out where Luke was – no signal! So I started down the Tarka trail until I go a signal (quite a long way) and then I called. Luke had picked up the other part of the figure of 8 that the Tarka trail does and was going in the wrong direction. Anyway I waited and we were off together again towards Barnstaple and the really flat old railway. We’d done 65 miles and only had 20 to go and it wasn’t dark yet!

We were looking forward meeting up with James and Ian and Ian’s wife Emma and son William for an evening meal and then disaster struck! My seat post bolt broke with 12 miles to go. It was now getting dark and there was only one option. The saddle came off, Luke took most of my luggage and I pedalled the next 8 miles standing up. This was really hard especially on a small-wheeled bike and I was really worried about the balls of my feet. I thought I was going to get really deep blisters – they were red hot! After 8 miles Luke let me have his saddle – what a star and what a relief – Luke did the last 4 miles standing up.

We missed Ian, James, Emma and William but had a nice late Italian meal in the only restaurant still open! I was going to need to visti a bicycle shop in the morning.

A few more thank yous

September 13, 2007

Brianr
Headbadge
AlexmoultonDuring the the early and traumatic part of the ride several people ran around a bit to help. My work colleague, Brian, contacted Alex Moulton Cycles and Shaun Moulton provided tyre advice and two new folding tyres very quickly to an advance accommodation address. Thanks guys. My wife Jane also spoke to Dan Farrell at Pashley’s who also gave his time and advice freely. Thanks Dan.

Some summary stats

September 8, 2007

 

Here are the headine stats:
1 The ride lasted 11.5 days.
2 100hrs and 14mins were spent in the saddle. An average of 8.72 hours per day.
3 The ride was 1171 miles at an average speed of 11.7 mph. I did an average of 102 miles per day.
4 I managed to do 647 miles on the NCN (55% of the ride)

These figures exclude the distance from Penzance to Land’s End. More detail to follow.

See! I told you it folds . . .

September 8, 2007


. . . well it separates anyway. I’m not sure if I’d have got on the Glasgow to Rugby train with a traditional bike.
Again, I was asked for my bike reservation (which I was unable to book in advance) and there was space for bikes on the train.