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Now retired but busy still living..

Monday 27 October 2008

On the way home.

Peter and I are now on the way home from our stay in the Mendips. We are camping on a farm at West Stour west of Shaftesbury . Todays weather was dry till just after we put up the tents and then the rain came down . Very cold tonight with ice forming on the inside of the fly sheet.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Wells Cathedral.

This has to be one of the grandest fronts to any cathedral in the UK- I love it!

No Signal.

The past few days we have been camped at a site near Priddy. I have not been able to send updates to the Blog due to a poor signal. Yesterday we did a circular walk to Cheddar Gorge and today we have walked in to Wells to look at the Cathedral. Weather has been very mixed. Photo shows a lunch stop during our ride up here.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

An empty field ,

Peter Calcutt and I have cycled to a campsite west of Shaftesbury. It is an empty field apart from our tents ,even John Hee would approve of this. No other campers no little entrance with cars arriving and leaving and no screeching kids. The weather today has been great and we enjoyed our steady ride up here. Tomorrow we plan to carry on to Cheddar. Not certain that the weather will continue as nice as today. Todays mileage a very lowly 35- Average 11.5mph- Highest speed 35mph - Calories burned 2117

Thursday 16 October 2008

Another Summers Day.

It was too much to have hoped for. Another day off and what turned out to be another summer like day.
As I said in my last posting, these indian summer days cannot afford to be wasted so today I set out on another cycle ride with JB-L. From Brockenhurst out to Ringwood and then to Fordingbridge. From there we carried on to Cranborne where we stopped for Coffee and Cakes (well we had earned it) before we headed back to Bournemouth by way of Wimborne.
A great day cycling with really good weather. It is probably too much to expect good weather for my weeks cycle touring with Peter Calcutt starting next Wednesday- still you never know!
Todays stats:- Total Mileage 55 - Average speed 14.8 mph - Top Speed attained 29.7mph - Calories burned 3116

Saturday 11 October 2008

Last Days of Summer?

Two weeks ago we had good weather for our Backpacker Club static weekend and as we aproached this weekend the weather forecast was good again. After the poor summer that we have had it seems more important than ever to take advantage of any good weather that seems to come our way. Not having purchased an 'Elliptigo' the first thing that I had to do was make the choice of Walk Run or Cycle. It was easy to eliminate going for a run as I don't do running! It has never really appealed to me. All that thumping along the pavement while you get covered in perspiration - no not for me and anyway most of the people that I see out for a run don't look as if they are enjoying it all that much. Now walking that's more my thing. It seems a more fluid movement than running and most of those that I meet out walking whether its Hill walking -Trekking-Backpacking -a Walk in the Country or even a walk to the corner shop all seem to be enjoying themselves. However I really wanted to cover some mileage this weekend and see as much of the autumn countryside as I could, so when Jason Boynton-Lee phoned me up on Friday night and said 'Red sky at night shepherds delight- do you fancy going for a cycle ride on saturday' my decision was made.
At 1000hrs this morning Jason and I headed off on our bikes. Getting out of the Bournemouth area was as always the usual struggle with cars starting and stopping and generally clogging up all the roads. After about 10 miles we got through Wimborne and out on the B3078 towards Cranborne then left on the B3081 passing through Sixpenny Handley and Tollard Royal down the zig zag hill and into Shaftesbury. We had coffee and cakes with the bikes taking a rest leaning against a nearby wall (see picture). After our well earned break we set off on our return journey with a very stiff climb up to Melbury Down. The views were superb with dry roads and a few crisp freshly fallen leaves finding their way under our tyres as we zipped along the ridge line. The run back was great passing through all the Tarrants- Gunville- Monkton-Rawston and Rushton. Just before Tarrant Keyneston we took a left on to the B3082 passing Badbury Rings before heading into Wimborne and the return to Bournemouth. It was a superb ride with perfect weather and going through some wonderful countryside. One of those rides that you remember. Details of the ride:- 68.43 miles - 4.39 hours actual cycling time - 15.58 mph average speed - 35.2 top speed - calories burned 4113.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

The Bug is catching !

I have just heard that Peter Calcutt one of the Backpackers Club Dorset Group members has taken delivery of a brand new Revolution Country Traveller touring bike. Peter and I have often been on backpacking trips to the high and wild places together so I know how much he enjoys getting close to the elements which sometimes has included getting totally soaked to the skin such as on our last trip to the Black Mountains. Apparently after reading about the LEJOG trip on this blog Peter feels that he doesn't want to miss out on yet another way to give himself more pain and the chance to get even wetter than that Black Mountains trip, hence the new bike. Peter and I have a combination walking/cycling trip planned to start in two weeks time so I will keep you informed of how he gets on with his new purchase.

Saturday 4 October 2008

Walk-Run or Cycle?

If you can't decide to go for a walk,a run or a cycle ride you can now do them all at the same time. Here's a link that came to me via the Cyclists Touring Club. It is well worth checking out. Make a special point of looking at the video it might save you that difficult decision. Let me know when you have placed your order!!
Go to www.elliptigo.com

Friday 3 October 2008

Looking back at LEJOG- A review of our ride.

Between us we took a lot of pictures but I can only show a few to give you a flavour of the ride.

1)Bikes on the Severn Bridge.
2)Bikes in the room at the Premier Inn.
3)A rare sunny moment before the rain.
4)At Shap with Alyson van Raalte.
5)Dave doing a minor repair to one of the bikes.

I think that I can speak for the rest of the team and say that none of us would have missed this trip for the world. I know that it is a cliche, but some trips can change your life or at least your view of it. This LEJOG trip has had a profound effect on each one of us. None of us will ever forget it! We worked really well as a team in order to ensure that each one of us made it to the end. The support that was given to us from the most unexpected quarters was overwhelming as was the sense of total disappointment at the lack of support from areas where we had every reason to expect it!!
The ride has taught us as much about other people as it has about ourselves.
People who we met along the route- people who did not know us -took an interest in our ride and contributed to the Dorset Kidney Fund. What does that say about the kind of people they were? People such as Alyson van Raalte(shown in picture 4 above) who we met at Shap and Suki Sangha the owner of the Indian restaurant in Dunoon where we had a meal.
The ride was tough and not helped by the run of bad weather that seemed to follow us up the country. Due to the bad weather we only managed to camp out on four nights. But the need to dry out properly after 100 mile days meant that we also mixed in Hotels, B &Bs and even a Self catering Farm House.
The bikes were the real stars not giving us any major problems over the entire ride. John had three punctures in one day and this led to a complete change of tyres. Johns original tyres were replaced with Shawalbe Marathons with puncture protection. Gareth and I were using Continental Sport Contact tyres and these gave us no problems at all. One of my pedal cages fell off a few miles after leaving Shap but the Superstar of the trip Dave Vaughan fitted it back on in no time at all (picture 5 above).
Every LEJOG cycle trip should have their very own Dave! Dave was the mechanic. Dave was the Domestique. Dave was Broom Wagon driver. Dave was Logistics manager. All we had to do was spin pedals but Dave seemed to do everything else. Dave was in every sense of the word a Super Superstar. Thanks for everything Dave.
During the ride we each burned in excess of 55,000 calories over the 978 miles that we covered.
We consumed between us over 75 malt loaves. 125 energy bars. 3 tubs of energy drink powder and gallons of water. Our average speed over the entire ride was 13.14 mph and the time spent spinning the pedals was just over 74 hours.
As for our fund raising efforts - as I write this we have raised over £4,000 and it is still rising. Not bad when you consider that our original target was £2500

The fund raising page will remain open until the 9th November 2008 just go to www.justgiving.com/revproteamride

Would we do it again ? Well probably not LEJOG. Once done it becomes yet another adventure to tick off. However we had only been in the vehicle for about two hours on the return trip when talk came around to "What shall we do next"?
I will let you all know when the next cycling challenge is set!

Special thanks must go to the following:

ASDA at CASTLE POINT BOURNEMOUTH for supplying our special nutrition requirements.

COOPERS cycle shop in SHREWSBURY for sorting out John's tyres and inner tubes and getting him back on the road in double quick time.

THE BOMBAY INDIAN RESTAURANT- DUNOON- The owner/manager Mr Suki Sangha is a true gentleman.

Also I would like to mention some of the places we stayed:

PRESINGOLL FARM caravan and camping park-ST AGNES







The BIGGEST thanks of all must go to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU who have supported us and donated to the DORSET KIDNEY FUND.

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...