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Now retired but busy still living..

Thursday 24 December 2009


Seasons greetings to everyone.

I trust that the spell of bad weather does not prevent you from spending the holiday with your loved ones and that this Christmas is everything that you wish it to be.

Obviously this year I will not be 'out' for a Christmas morning ride but I will manage to spin the pedals on my indoor trainer for about 25 virtual miles. Actually the training has started well although I am still struggling with my weight. I must remember to make some attempt to avoid eating too much over the next few days. I feel quite positive about it really as the shock of standing on the scales recently was a bit of a wake up call - although after everything that has happened this year I do have a genuine excuse for it...!

Wednesday 23 December 2009


I thought that you might be interested in an E-mail received this morning.

Dear Purpletraveller-

You made a posting on the 26th November this year with the heading 'A Solution'. You showed a picture of a bike/trailer set up that your team mate John thought might be the solution to your transport problems if your health does not improve.

This set me thinking and I decided that this could well be the solution to MY problems. Let me explain-

For many years now- towards the latter part of December I have needed to make a round the world trip delivering lots of parcels of various sizes. Over these years I have always used an open top style of vehicle on runners that is pulled by a number of 'beasts with antlers'.
I have always thought that this was quite a 'green' method of travel but I have now been told that I am wrong as apparently the 'exhaust' gases given off by these beasts is not as green as we were all led to believe. Indeed these gases could well be harming the atmosphere and helping to speed up global warming. On top of all this -all the years of just sitting in the vehicle being pulled around the world has not helped my own weight situation. On many occasions during my deliveries over the past few years I have got stuck in various chimneys. This has been caused by my growing rotund shape and lack of fitness.

So you see- the bike/trailer set up that you highlighted could also solve MY problems.
No exhaust gases from the bike-totally green. Room in the trailer for all the parcels. Plenty of exercise to help improve my weight and fitness.

I have managed to obtain one of these bike/trailers and am planning to try it out for the first time on the 25th December- I will let you know how successful it turns out to be.

Thanks for the idea-



Friday 11 December 2009


Ever since Bradley Wiggins came in fourth on the Tour de France way back in July there has been talk of him joining the new Sky team.
Bradley seemed to drop little hints but when pushed on the subject always denied it. Indeed as recently as last Saturday evening at the Manchester Velodrome he said "Once we get into January and it's apparent I'm still with Garmin everything will settle down. I'm under contract to Garmin so I'll be racing with them".
Well he HAS signed with Sky.
He had a contract with Garmin until the end of 2010 and after last years T de F placing the only way that Garmin would have released him from his contract was for an offer that could not be turned down. That means loads of the folding stuff........!!
At the time of writing this posting Garmin have still not made any mention of this on the Team website.
On the Team Sky website the signing is of course mentioned but it is interesting to note that in the Bradley Wiggins 'fact file' on the site no mention has been made of him ever being with the Garmin team. Mention is made of his various achievements on the track and the Olympics but no mention of his fourth place in last years tour whilst he was with Team GARMIN.
Before everybody overlooks the fact that Bradley was a Garmin rider for a short but important period of his career- just take a look at the Garmin shirt in the photo above with Bradley's signature on the front. This is part of my collection which I acquired direct from the team just prior to this years T de F .
A week appears to be a long time in sport- particularly where money is concerned..........!!!

Thursday 10 December 2009


It would appear from my observation that a lot of cyclists believe that they are made of Lego.
Click on this to see what I mean: http://tinyurl.com/legobike

Tuesday 8 December 2009


A few weeks before I started having problems with my left eye- I purchased an indoor training bike to help me with my winter training. Like a lot of people I always have problems with my weight and fitness over the winter months. The cause is a mixture of not wanting to ride in bad weather and eating too much over the Christmas period. This year I thought that the problem would be even worse now that I no longer have to set off to work each day- plus nearly six months of hospitals/treatment etc. The eye situation just made the matter worse as I was instructed by the Consultant not to get on ANY bike as I was required to keep my heart beat and blood pressure low.
Last week I had a trip back to the hospital to follow up on my recent eye operation .The news was good. The operation was a success-the sight has returned although I am very short sighted now in that eye and I was warned that I might develop a cataract in the eye which will need a minor procedure to remove-this will take about three months to form and is quite normal following the type of operation I have had.
The other good news I was given is that I can start to ride my indoor training bike (Still not allowed on a REAL bike).
So I have now started training again in an effort to catch the rest of the team up in the fitness stakes and a big task it is going to be.
I have gained two and a half stone since I came off my bike in June and because of all the resting that I have had to do I am very unfit.
The training bike is fully computerised giving me lots of feedback on speed-distance-calories-power-cadence etc. I can also choose from various route programmes such as hills-mountains-rolling terrain etc and I have started off in a small way by doing a five mile virtual commute in the morning over an undulating route and then I am doing the same again in the evening.(My virtual return trip). My plan is to build up on the distance and the route as well as introducing some more performance specific sessions over time.
I am due to come off my blood thinning drugs in January. I have been on these since July following my accident and the subsequent blood clots I suffered.
I will then be able to start the cancer treatment at the end of January and I have been informed that the radiotherapy can make you feel quite tired. My plan is to try and build up my fitness as much as I can between now and then- just in case I am forced by tiredness to ease back a bit on training after the first few weeks of the treatment.
So good news all round at the moment. No-the picture with this posting is nothing to do with my indoor trainer but is a shot of the rear wheel and Shimano Dura Ace transmission on my Felt Sportive bike. If my training goes well I hope to be riding this bike in the Ducton Sportive on the 9th May.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Waiting to See.

After seven weeks of having no sight in my left eye and having had an eye operation two weeks ago -I am really happy and relieved to report that I am starting to recover some sight in the eye.
I am back to the hospital tomorrow for a post operation check up and hope to find out then what the longer term prospects are for sight improvement.
The loss of my sight in this eye has proved to be one of the most scary things that I have experienced. I will never again take my eyesight for granted. A truly life changing experience.



T.van der Kelf.

Thursday 26 November 2009

A Solution.

This picture was taken on the Team 219 Atlantic coast challenge ride in June.
During one of the many trips we made to various cycle shops in France (to have John's wheels repaired) this cycle and trailer set up was spotted sitting in the front window at one of the shops.
John has recently informed me that if my health doesn't recover for next years planned rides he is going to make me ride in a trailer similar to this-he of course will be up front spinning the pedals.
If I ever had an incentive to recover as quick as possible this must be it.
John also told me that his first idea was a tandem but he discounted that idea because he said that I would want to be up front-not a good idea with dodgy eyesight.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Wait and See ?

I must start this entry with an apology for the lack of postings over the recent past. Unfortunately I have had another emergency visit to the hospital. On Monday I suffered a further major bleed in my left eye. This time it was so bad that it managed to detach the retina and I was informed that if I didn't have surgery straight away than it was unlikely that I would ever regain the sight in that eye again.
Next thing I knew I was being wheeled into an operating theatre- from there on I remember nothing. When I woke up I could still not see anything out of the eye and it felt as if someone had been playing marbles with it-however the Nurses and Doctors were first class and I now have to play a 'wait and see' game- ie: If I Wait I Might See.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Mission Accomplished..........!!

Mission Accomplished- that was the text message I received from Dave(Broom Wagon)Vaughan this afternoon. Yes Dave has managed to beat the 'Hill of Death' on his Sunday ride today.

He tells me that on the last section of the hill where it kicks up steeply he was in bottom gear but his legs were not exactly spinning- in fact he had to talk to himself in very tough language in order to complete that final and steepest section.

But he did it and is now a full card holding member of Team 219.
Well done Dave..!

I look forward to racing him up the hill sometime in the spring just as soon as I have recovered from treatment. I always like to give a bit of a head start so keep concentrating on the training Dave I should only be about three months behind you..........!!

Thursday 29 October 2009

Team 219 still training.

Although I am stuck at home for the time being with my various ailments- the Team 219 lads are managing to get out and about on their bikes.
John has sent me a picture of his 'Revolution' on the seafront at Swanage. As the weather was so good today he decided to ride our Studland/Corfe/Swanage training circuit. John tells me that he was feeling so good that after he had ridden the circuit once he then went round and did it all over again. This means he rode the 'hill of death' twice. John has really come on as a cyclist over the past two years and he has managed to lose two stone in weight as well. When he first started riding he only just managed to get to the top of the HOD now he can manage two ascents on the same ride. Well done John !
Dave (the broom wagon)Vaughan has sent me a picture of his new set of wheels parked up at the bridge at Wareham. Dave tells me that he completed the Studland/Corfe/Wareham training route but was beaten by the HOD. He managed to get two thirds of the way up before he had to dismount. I have no doubt that after more training Dave will beat the hill in the same way that John has done. A really great first attempt Dave !
I wish that I could be out riding with these guys and I aim to do just that as soon as my health issues are sorted.
John and I have already been discussing various rides that we plan on doing next year including a trip to Normandy in late spring/early summer and a charity ride for 'Help the Heroes'. I also plan on entering the Duncton Sportive with the aim of moving from bronze to silver and there is even talk of Cycling Across America in 2011.
I have worked out my training schedule (including my cancer treatment) and even if I dont regain the sight in my left eye - I will be riding next year....................!!

Friday 16 October 2009

The Journey Continues................

I thought that I would post an update from my last one on Monday.

Some good news was received on Tuesday concerning the Aorta problem. Apparently it is of a size that at this stage only requires an annual scan to monitor it. This news helped me in coming to terms with the earlier bad news concerning the cancer. Unfortunately on Wednesday evening something happened that sent me a few steps backwards.

Without going into all the details- I have lost the sight in my left eye. This is not connected with the cancer but seems most likely to be the failure of the warfarin that I am taking to control my blood clotting. During the Wednesday evening I had noticed that the sight in my left eye appeared to be getting slightly dimmer and then- wham-the centre of my vision in that eye seemed to be like looking at a huge pool of blood that obscured everything else.

Anne took me to A&E at Poole who after four hours sent us over to the Emergency Eye unit at Bournemouth Hospital. An Eye Consultant there did various tests and it would appear that I have a blood clot in the eye.(Something had burst) She told me that it is possible I will not regain the sight and all we can do for the next month is wait and see how much of the clot the body absorbs. After that it might be possible to try and clear it with laser treatment. What really caused me to go into panic mode was when she told me that there is a small chance that this could happen in my other eye as well........

Prior to my recent biopsy I had to stop taking the Warfarin-starting it again afterwards. However since that time my blood test readings have been all over the place and this appears to be the cause.

So- for the time being I cannot drive- I cannot ride my bikes- and I must not even indulge in any strenuous walking such as hillwalking or backpacking. This means that I am now unable to attend the BPC static meet at Tom's Field this weekend. I have spoken to Peter Calcutt who will now lead the walk and he should arrive at the site between 1900hrs and 2000hrs.

I have completed lots of difficult journeys over the years but this current one is testing me to my very limits ...!!

Monday 12 October 2009


Following my cycling accident in June I had a number of abnormal blood tests. These led on to me having various tests and scans the latest of which was a biopsy (pretty uncomfortable it was too).

About three weeks ago I was told by a junior doctor that the results 'appeared' to be negative. At that time I breathed a huge sigh of relief thankful that the big 'C' had passed me by.

Today I had a meeting with my consultant and he confirmed that of the eight biopsies that were taken -two were shown to be positive.

It all feels a bit like a psychological rollercoaster-initially feeling low then back up with relief and now back down again. It does focus one's thoughts somewhat.

To add to my concerns one of the scans has shown an enlarged Aorta (Aneurysm) and the risk of this bursting still needs to be assessed.

I have always kept myself fit and led an active life and looking on the positive side- it is only due to the cycling accident that these two potentially life threatening conditions have been found.

At the moment I do feel a bit like the picture shown above- trying to drag myself up and out of the depths. After a few days I will manage to drag myself out of the muddy depths and reach the grassy bank and at that time I will get on my bike and start fighting back but at the moment I am finding the mud pretty deep.....!!

Yes-I have had better days.....!!

Saturday 10 October 2009

Lessons in Travel - 1

It occurs to me that a little advice from others on the art of travel (and it is an art if done properly) is always welcome.

With this in mind I thought that over the forthcoming winter months I would post a few words every now and then as uttered by the wise and experienced.!!

To kick it off we have a quote on Travel Companions:-

The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
(Henry David Thoreau)

How true that comment is......
I recall a number of backpacking trips with someone who seemed to delight in having 'another ciggarette' before taking his tent down whilst everyone else was packed and ready for the off.

One of the great pleasures of solo backpacking (or any form of solo travel) is the freedom from others.

Friday 2 October 2009

Ian Heritage / LEJOG update.

I was speaking to Ian today about his cycle LEJOG attempt that unfortunately ended at Dumfries Medical Centre.

Apparently one of Ian's knees had been giving him problems as he was cycling up Shap in the Lake District- he carried on trying to cycle 'through' the pain. He managed to get to the top (shrouded in clouds at the time) and from there on it was a downhill ride for most of the distance to the border.

The picture shows Ian at the border near Gretna. He tried to get a Doctor to check out his leg there but the surgery was so busy that nobody could see him.

After spending a night in Gretna the brothers set off again but the pain was so bad that they only managed to cycle a further five miles. A visit to the Dumfries Medical Centre confirmed their worst fears and the LEJOG attempt had come to a premature end. The brothers were both devastated by the bad news. After managing to cycle the entire length of England the end had come just a few miles over the border in Scotland.

Ian told me today that he had really been looking forward to the Scottish section of the ride with the highlights of Loch Lomond and Glen Coe.

So what now?

Well -Ian does intend to complete the route.

By the time Ian's knee has healed it will be too late in the year to make a realistic attempt at the miles remaining so spring next year seems to be the most likely time to complete the LEJOG.

I think that this story goes to show how difficult these challenges can be and the stresses they put on the body are enormous. Ian and his brother have worked hard on this trip in their efforts to raise money for their chosen charity. If you would like to support their effort and their charity please go to www.justgiving.com/heritagecycle and find out more.

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Final day.

Today is the final day here at Sixpenny Handley. I am sorry to be leaving as it is a great little village. A post office- a shop- butchers- pub- as well as a picture framer and a hairdresser. The only thing missing is a village pond. The campsite has good facilities and everyone speaks to you- yes it has been a most enjoyable six days. I have some bad news concerning Ian Heritage and his LEJOG cycle attempt. I was in contact with Ian late last night and he told me that it all ended yesterday in Dumfries medical centre. ian has torn a muscle or cartilage and it is impossible for him to continue. He says that he will complete the ride at a later date. Ian and his brother must be devastated to get as far as Dumfries and then having to give up on the attempt due to an injury. It was a really good effort and they have raised a lot of money for a first class course.

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Another good walk.

The weather is still holding good so Peter and I had another walk today. Plenty of farming activity in all the fields - probably trying to get as much done before the weather changes. I have had bad news from Ian Heritage and his brother on their LEJOG cycle trip. One of Ians knees has been giving him major problems. Today they were unable to get beyond Dumfries. At the moment they are uncertain if they will be able to continue. As soon as i get more information i will post it on this Blog.

Monday 28 September 2009

A good day for walk.

Today Peter and I took a bus to Coombe Bisset and walked back to the camp site from there. The day was cloudy but remained dry and warm. We passed through Throope Manor where we saw the very pretty church in the picture. When we got back to the campsite the clouds started to thin out and the evening felt quite cool. The latest news from Ian Heritage and his brother is that they have arrived at Gretna. They now have the length of Scotland to negotiate before they reach their LEJOG goal.

Sunday 27 September 2009

Lazy day!

Today most of the BPC members spent a lazy day around camp drinking tea and having another attempt at putting the world to rights! Graham set off to walk back to Bournemouth . Dave Topley and his son got on their bikes to ride back to near Newbury at about 0900hrs which was about the time that Ian and his wife also left for Northampton. Tony headed off for the wilds off Epping at about 1030hrs. Chris and Mike spot the day here not leaving till about 1730hrs. Tonight it is just Peter and myself left at the site. The final news for today is that Ian Heritage and his brother have now arrived just north of Lancaster on the 7th day of their LEJOG.

Saturday 26 September 2009

Static meet day 2

The good weather continues. Today three members were up and out on a walk almost before the rest of us had cleared our sleeping bags. The Dorset contingent had a lazy breakfast followed by another mug of tea as we decided on the days walking direction. We managed to leave camp at 1100hrs completing a 16mile day walk. This was at about my distance max in my present state of health and i did find the last few miles harder than normal. Tonight we put the world to rights at the village pub. I have had news from Ian and his brother on their LEJOG . Thursday night they made Gloucester. Last night they were at Shrewsbury and tonight they are at St Helens. Ian tells me they are camping on the touchline of the Rugby pitch. So far they have had no punctures and both bodies and bikes are holding up well.

More kit.

Well i am back at Church farm- Sixpenny Handley for the BPC weekend static meet. At the last weekend meet i saw the neo air mattress that Mike had and almost the first thing i did on my return home was to purchase my own. On that meet it was the first outing for my new NALLO 3 GT TUNNEL TENT. What did Mike do when he got home? Buy one of course! That weekend meet cost Mike a lot more than it cost me. The photo today is of Mike and Chris with their NEO AIR MATTRESSES and behind them their new NALLO TENT.

Wednesday 23 September 2009


I have been in touch with Ian and his brother and I am pleased to report that their ride is running to plan.

On Monday they left Land's End in the morning and achieved CAMELFORD for their first night's stop.
Tuesday's pedalspinning got them as far as CREDITON and today they have arrived at GLASTONBURY which is where I had hoped to meet up with them.

They are both feeling tired as the stresses and strains of multi day cycle riding begin to sap their energy but they are trying to offset that with plenty of malt loaf -the cyclists friend.

Tomorrow they will turn a corner. After BATH they will start to head north as they leave the West Country section of the ride. This first section is known as one of the toughest parts of the cycle LEJOG -being so hilly at the very beginning before you have managed to get into the tempo of things.

Support them at www.justgiving.com/heritagecycle

Back Home.

Well I am now back home following my sudden illness whilst on my cyclepack. When Anne arrived I had packed everything up for loading in the car. I had stripped the bike of it's wheels /mudguards and rack ready for the bike to be packed into it's various travel bags. I am always amazed that we manage to pack all the kit into such a tiny car as the Peugeot 107. (It just confirms to me that we did the right thing when we downsized our car this year).

When we got back to Poole -Anne took me to the hospital for a full check over. Because of my medication any variations in my health have to be checked out. We arrived at the hospital at 1515hrs and didn't leave till almost 2200hrs.

I won't bore you with all the medical details but I feel a lot better now and I know I did the right thing by ending my trip when I did. It's a great pity that I did not manage to meet up with Ian Heritage and his brother as planned as I was only 15 miles from our rendezvous point when I was taken ill. I am in touch with Ian and will keep you updated on his progress as he makes his way up the country on his LEJOG. I will make the first posting later today.

As for the Backpackers static meet this coming weekend at Sixpenny Handley- I WILL BE THERE.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Game stopped

I was taken ill during the night. Probably something to do with the medication i am on. Severe dizziness with blurred vision and a very light headed feeling. No i hadn't been drinking! This morning i still feel unwell. I have phoned Anne to come and pick me up. While i wait for her i will break camp and strip the bike ready for the bike bag to make loading in the car easier. Obviously with dizziness and loss of balance it is impossible to continue on my bike. I AM GUTTED!

Monday 21 September 2009

Moved on

I have now moved on for night two. I am now camping at Wincanton racecourse. Weather has been good but i dont know if it will stay that way. My plan on this trip is to get up late and stop for the day early Great! Only covering about 30miles a day- just 2hrs on the bike. Lazy riding.

Sunday 20 September 2009

First night on the Neo Air.

Tonight will be the first night spent on my new Neo Air mattress. I have cycled over to Church farm at Sixpenny Handley. I am using it as my first night stop on my cycle trip to meet up with Ian Heritage and his brother on their LEJOG. On Friday i will be back at this site for another Backpackers Club static weekend meet. Two members are already here for that meet. They obviously wanted to make sure that they didnt arrive late!

Friday 18 September 2009

Ready to Ride !!

The Heritage brothers Ian and Derek are ready to ride.

I posted details about their up-coming LEJOG attempt a week ago. This morning I spoke to Ian and he told me that everything is now ready for the start at Land's End on Monday morning.

Over the past few weeks they have been too busy with the preparations for the ride to have much time to think about the challenge that they have taken on.
Now everything is ready they are going through that period of apprehension that all long distance cycling challenge riders experience on the last few days prior to the ride itself.

As Ian said to me "We can't wait to get started now everything is ready".

I will be setting off on Sunday or Monday (weather will dictate which) on my touring bike in order to meet up with the lads and their support team somewhere towards the end of their West Country section. That should be sometime during Wednesday and I hope to be able to post some pictures with a progress report at that time.

Please visit their web site at www.justgiving.com/heritagecycle to find out more about Ian and Derek and their ride as well as the charity (BLESMA) which they are riding for. I think that you will agree that it is a very worthwhile charity and I urge you all to show your support.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Dave's Sunday Ride.

Earlier this week Dave Vaughan told me that he was going to get rid of his MBK as he wasn't getting on with the riding position and the gears were giving him problems on the hills. He part exchanged it for a used Specialized Globe Hybrid- a good bike for general use and the odd bit of lightweight touring.
Dave has told me that he is keen to come on next year's Normandy touring trip so with that in mind he decided to come out with Jason and I today on our Sunday morning legspinner. Total mileage was 32 miles and this was taken at steady pace. Jason had not been on a bike for a few weeks and I am still having some quite major health issues so we decided that a nice steady tempo would be the order of the day.
Dave rode really well. He managed to maintain the steady pace and at no time did he drop very far behind us. The truth is that being the 'broom wagon' driver on the team's last two endurance events was not enough for Dave. He wanted to be in amongst the action- today Dave proved that he was up to the challenge.
Dave told me that today was the furthest that he had ridden for about 40 years- not bad for a two hundred year old man eh !! Only joking Dave...!
All Dave needs to do now is make an attempt on the 'Hill of Death' and then he will be a fully paid up member of Team 219.

Friday 11 September 2009

One Year Ago.

One year ago I was busy cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats .The memory of the wet weather and the pain of it all as well as all the high spots of the trip still stays with me.
A few nights ago I went over to a friend's house because he had asked for advice on the journey as he is about to attempt it with his brother.

Ian Heritage and his brother Derek will set out from Lands End on the morning of Monday 21st September. They plan to cover about 60/70 miles a day. Ian is not a cyclist- indeed when the decision to attempt the ride was made he did not even own a bicycle. When John Donoghue of Team 219 bought his 'Revolution Touring' bike he sold his 'Scott Sub' to Ian and that is the bike that Ian will be using for this trip. So the bike has already done the LEJOG route once- not that that will make the trip any easier for Ian.

The Heritage brothers are riding the route for charity. BLESMA is the British Limbless Ex ServiceMens Association. Every time you see yet another coffin arrive back in this country containing one of our Servicemen there are probably half a dozen or more other Servicemen and Women coming back injured and a high number of these have lost limbs.
Ian has a close connection to this charity as on the 7th of November 2004 his son Neil lost both his legs whilst in action in Iraq.

I plan to cycle up to North Somerset and meet up with them both towards the end of their West Country section. I will be taking some pictures and hope to post them on this blog as well as giving you an update of their progress.

Please support Ian and David in their attempt to complete this ride.
The charity they are doing it in aid of (BLESMA) is very worthwhile and is something which is very topical with the conflict in Afghanistan continuing.

You can support them and their chosen charity by going to www.justgiving.com/heritagecycle
where you can read more about Ian Derek and Neil and also more information about BLESMA.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

A Discount at the Brothel !!

I think that most of the advantages of riding a bike are well known-but here is one that is probably not so well publicised.

I have just read in a magazine that the Maison d'Envie brothel in Berlin is offering a discount of 5 euros to all customers who arrive on a bike. This discount is from their standard charge of 70 euros.

Thomas Goetz-the proprietor says ''It's good for business, it's good for the environment and it's also good for the girls''.

I don't quite understand his last point about it being good for the girls unless he means that due to their exertions on the bike most of the customers now just fall asleep!

Monday 7 September 2009

Well done Andy.....

I was pleased to see that the ASDA C.E.O. Andy Bond finished his LEJOG in the ten days that he had set in which to complete the ride.

The purpose of the ride was twofold- first the aim of the ride was to raise money through the Asda Pedal Power campaign for 'Bike Club'-this is the new project set up by the CTC and two youth charities to help more children and young people to experience the benefits of cycling.
Pedal Power has managed to raise in excess of £1.2 million which is a terrific achievement.

The other purpose of the ride was to advertise the fact that Asda are now selling bikes. These are being sold on a 'not for profit' basis.
These bikes come in a box and customers have to assemble it themselves and they are branded as British Eagle Bikes. The adult bikes sell for £70.00 and the childrens version is £50.00

What make of bike did Andy Bond use for his ride-was it a 'British Eagle' ?
NO..... Andy chose to ride a 'Giant' road bike.

Says it all really......!!

Sunday 6 September 2009

Backpackers Club (Dorset Group) Weekend meet.

I really enjoyed this weekend-it was just great to get out and spend a couple of nights in a tent again. Since the accident I think that I have suffered withdrawal symptoms due to not being in the outdoors often enough.

The walking on the Saturday I found tough and it showed me how much further I have to go before I regain my normal level of fitness- even the camping itself had its difficulties but these I managed to overcome.

We had a poor turn out for a club group meet with only seven of us attending- Tony Wilson had travelled from Nottingham and he arrived with Lynette. Graham Faithfull attended with his six year old son Caleb and Mike and Chris McEnnerney arrived just as it had got dark on the Friday evening. Interestingly two people who had e-mailed me for details regarding the site/pub/walk distance etc..etc... failed to show. One of them did e-mail me again to let me know that they would not be attending after all- but not until I had already set out for the site so I didn't get the message until my return home.
But hey-who cares! I arrange these meets for club members but I would enjoy it even if no one was to show up. It will probably happen one day-I will arrange a weekend meet and I will be the only one there- not much different to a solo backpack really.

Now the next thing I must do is to sort out the purchase of one of those Neo Air Thermarest mattresses................!!

Saturday 5 September 2009

Something else to buy!

One of the good things about these Backpackers Club weekend meets is catching up with friends and chatting about new kit. Mike showed me his recent purchase- a thermarest neo air mattress. I had not seen one before and it seems a big leap forward from my old standard thermarest. Lighter- packs smaller and more comfort. Mike let me use his for anafternoon doze and it was great- i now want one ! The picture shows the neo air next to my standard thermarest prior to my doze. Colour is a bit bright (yellow) which is its only fault- unless you like bright yellow .

Dorset group static camping weekend.

This is the first time that i have been camping since my cycling accident. I am spending time at the Sisters Grimm camp site with other members of the Backpackers Club. I have already had an argument with one of the Sisters over the rip off price of ten pounds a night for a single backpacker. She eventually reduced it to eight pounds which is still too high for the facilities here but it is a nice spot to camp. Lets hope the weather stays kind to us.

Thursday 27 August 2009


Regular visitors to this blog will be aware that amongst my pet hates are cyclists who feel that it is ok to cycle along pavements when there are perfectly good roads that we can all cycle on.....So it was of some interest to me today when I saw two police officers with a radar gun measuring the speed of vehicles travelling along a straight and wide residential road close to my home.

What I had noticed was a cyclist (male/about 20yrs old/mountain bike) riding his bike towards the officers along the opposite pavement. He hadn't noticed them as they were partially obscured from his view by a parked van.

I wondered if he would be stopped or ignored by the officers so I decided to watch for a bit. As he got closer to where the police were standing one of them spotted him and crossed the road and stopped him. The officer appeared to explain to him the error of his ways and after telling him to ride on the road allowed him to carry on his way.

In my view that is the problem -NO PENALTY. Riding along the pavement IS an offence for which a penalty CAN be issued but penalties don't seem to be given out all that often.
A couple of months ago cyclists were being stopped for breaking the 10mph speed limit along the promenade-again no penalties issued- just a warning.

Now this is interesting because I believe that until cyclists start getting fined for these offences thay will continue to stick two fingers up at the law and carry on cycling on the pavements-jumping red lights etc etc..
Is it any wonder that vehicle drivers seem to get uptight about cyclists when there doesn't appear to be any fairness in the application of the law.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Tourist Season

John Hee was certainly right with the advice he gave me in the comments section of my last posting regarding staying out of Bournemouth over the few days of the Air show. I made a point of only going out today and that was inland to the countryside in the Shaftesbury area and very pleasant it was to. Green fields and fresh air as well as lots of peace and quiet-Wonderful.

Yesterday was very different as I stayed at home. One of the drawbacks of living just a five minute walk from the beach is that during the summer all the local roads get choked up with parked cars and yesterday they started parking up from about 0900hrs. When all the road space was used up they then started trying to jam their wheeled tin boxes in to every nook and cranny. Two 'moron' drivers in their panic to find a place to park before the airplanes started whizzing overhead decided that my drop kerb didn't exist. They saw nothing wrong in parking across it- I mean lets face it the people that lived there would not want to use their drive would they? So securely sealed in anyway I was then subjected to an afternoon of planes whizzing overhead and all the noise that goes with it. Not so bad for just the one day in isolation (and we do have a superb viewpoint for it here) but I had already had it for the Thursday and Friday hence my trip inland today in search of peace and quiet and away from tourist overload.

I kept thinking of the words of George Carlin regarding tourists:

''Why is it called the tourist season if we can't shoot at them?''

Wednesday 19 August 2009

I should have known better..!

Last nights weather forecast was a good one so I decided that I would go for a bike ride in the Purbecks today.

That was a big mistake and I should have known better.......

Within one mile of home I came across nose to tail traffic- it was well stacked all the way to the chain ferry. Not content to block up the roads the cars and vans seemed determined to make certain that a man on a bike would have major problems in passing them by swinging to one side of the road and then the other in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to slow my progress even more than they already had.

I arrived at the ferry (eventually) and I should have bailed out of my ride at that point. But no-like the fool that I am I bought my ticket and crossed over to the Studland side of Poole harbour.

Off of the ferry and what did I find? More traffic. Cars parked both sides of the road (access to the beaches) cars trying to squeeze in tiny gaps to park - more cars trying to get past on their way towards Studland village Corfe and Swanage. A couple of miles along the road and everything ground to a halt again while cars coming from the opposite direction were trying to find places to park etc..etc..etc I seemed to spend all of my time in and out of the cleats-stop start-stop start.

I'd had enough!

I saw a shady tree set back from the road in a pleasant grassy area. I leaned my bike against the tree sat down on the grass and had a nice doze for over an hour.

On my return trip the traffic was almost as bad-never again! The Dorset coast on a bright very warm August day is not a good place to go for a cycle ride if you want to avoid traffic.

I should have known better....!

Sunday 16 August 2009

From Broom Wagon to Saddle.

In a previous posting I mentioned that Team 219 'Broom wagon' driver Dave Vaughan had acquired and old MBK bike that he was going to do up and that he was going to show us all how to ride a bike. (And how not to fall off in my case.)
This morning I looked out of my window and this is what I saw on my drive- Dave with his MBK MISTRAL steel framed race bike. Yes it's true -Dave is now out of the broom wagon and on to a saddle.
It won't be long before he is out riding with the rest of the team and he even mentioned this morning the possibility of riding with us up the 'Hill of Death'.
For those of you who do not know- the 'Hill of Death' is a hill in the Purbecks that each prospective team member has to conquer before they are allowed to join the team. It's exact location is a closely guarded secret so that prospective members cannot practice on it before their first official attempt.
I will keep you all informed of Dave's cycling progress.

Saturday 15 August 2009

Fixie V Roadie

Following my last posting when I mentioned the 'Fixie ' craze I came across this short video that is currently doing the rounds of the cycling sites. Being a bit of a 'Roadie'I can laugh at myself from this as it is really taking the mickey out of both the Roadies and the super cool Fixie riders.
Very funny and worth a look.
Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn29DvMITu4

As I said to Anne recently when she asked why my latest bike was so expensive - 'It's all about PERFORMANCE !!'

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Repackaged but just the same.

I saw it happen with wild camping-backpacking-tarps-etc...etc......

Find something that people have been doing quietly and skillfully for years and then repackage it (with in some cases a different name) and then relaunch it as if it is something that is a brilliant new idea - something that is not only new but 'cool' and exciting. Before you know it there is almost a sub-culture built up around it - you have only to check out the various outdoors sites and blogs to see what I mean.

It now seems that this is happening in the world of cycling. We have had the 'Fixie' craze - that is the craze for the fixed wheel bike that is so popular with City based couriers. Well it now seems that someone has decided that 'light touring' or 'fast touring' as a term is too old fashioned. They have repackaged it with an acronym and it is now reborn as 'S24O' or 'S48O'. These stand for 'sub 24 hour overnight' touring or 'sub 48 hour overnight'touring. It is no longer deemed 'cool' to have a weekend fast cycle touring-next time some one asks what you are up to on your days off you can tell them that you are going on a 'S24O'-just think how impressed they will be..!!

Sunday 9 August 2009

A Proper Ride.

32.67 miles / Cycling time 2hrs 15min / Average speed 14.4mph / Max speed 30.4mph / 1907 Calories burned.

The above figures are the results of my first 'proper' ride since the accident. By 'proper' I mean that I cycled further than ten miles.

Today I met up with Jason (Team 219) and we went out for a circular route. It was just a leg spinning exercise but vital for me on two fronts. First- it was another important step in helping to build up my fitness and recovery. Second-I needed to get out on a reasonable ride to help with my confidence. Although no vehicle was involved in my accident I have found that I now seem to be very wary of motor vehicles to a point far in excess of the way I felt before the crash. As I don't even remember the accident it seems a very odd way for me to be feeling-on the other hand perhaps it's a normal reaction. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has experienced something similar.

We had a good ride in great weather and I am sure it did me a lot of good.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Well - It made me smile.

When Anne went off to work today she left me behind a small badge to wear.
I don't know where she acquired it from but it gave me a smile when I read it.
I must say that compared to the courtesy shown us by the French drivers on the roads in France I do feel that we have quite a few psychopaths behind the wheel on UK roads.

Saturday 1 August 2009

Where the ACCR ended.

This is the spot on the road near Budleigh Salterton where our ACCR endurance trip came to an abrupt end. We were travelling down hill and had just swept around the slight bend in the road as can be seen in the first picture (looking back up the incline). From what I am given to understand when my front wheel hit the first of the yellow rumble strips as shown in the second picture it caught the small pot hole that you can just see near the cars front wheel. Each of the strips has a small pot hole and then just past the strips on the solid white line of the hatching there is a sunken manhole cover. It seems quite possible that after the pothole threw me off balance the manhole cover finished the job off. I vaguely remember the yellow lines but it is almost like a dream. Looking at these pictures what is very clear to me is how lucky I was. The road is pretty narrow and if I had not fallen to the left -away from the on-coming traffic I could just as easily have slid into the path of a vehicle coming towards me. I was also lucky that the driver of the car following me had given me enough space and himself a large enough gap to allow him to stop before hitting me. As I said I was very lucky. Looking at the readout from the Garmin cyclo computer I was travelling at exactly 27mph when I came off. Unfortunately a lot of the recorded data of the entire ACCR was lost in the accident. According to Jason the accident caused quite a tailback of traffic not helped by the narrow width of the road.
There was a positive outcome from the accident. While I was in hospital I had to have a couple of blood tests. These produced a number of abnormal blood results. This has meant that I have now had to see a number of consultants to set in motion treatment in order to sort these conditions out. As I had not had any symptoms of these health issues prior to the accident I see the accident as a lucky break. Hopefully these other conditions have been caught in time- I will keep you all posted.

Friday 31 July 2009

Another step to recovery.

Having said in my last posting earlier today that I had no real news to share with you- I was wrong. This afternoon I went out on my Revolution Country Traveller-the touring bike that I was riding when I had the accident. I achieved a distance of ten miles and still felt good at the end of the ride. How good? Well as I was heading back a young guy on his racer turned into the same road just behind me-I just knew that he was going to flash past me so that I could see how fast and what a good rider he was..!!!!! Well I couldn't have that could I? I allowed him to get a bit of distance on me -about 20seconds-and then I reeled him in and passed him at speed-about 28mph on the flat. He never did catch me. Silly stuff I know but it did me the world of good-not bad when you think that at about the same time six weeks ago I was falling off my bike and breaking collarbone and ribs etc..etc...

More pictures of the ACCR

While I am recovering from the accident that I had at the end of the ACCR I don't have much in the way of news to share with you all. However what I do have are some more general shots taken during the trip itself. Shown here we have a picture of Dave's tent with the temporary repair he made to it using a sheet of polythene. Dave had tested the waterproof properties of this tent before leaving home. He had climbed inside and got his other half to hose it down with the garden hosepipe. 'No water came in at all' he told us all. Pity then that as soon as this tent came in contact with French rain it all just poured in! In the end Dave was forced to buy another tent. You can see from the next picture how nice and uncrowded French camp sites can be in June. Everyone obviously knew that it was going to rain except us. Then we have a picture of John and Jason having a very 'rare' coffee stop-usually these guys would be hammering along eating up the miles-- or should that be kilometeres? The final picture here was taken from the Britanny Ferry at the very start of the trip. It shows the Studland chain ferry that we use when we head out on a training ride-not an angle that we normally would see it from.

Saturday 25 July 2009


It was brilliant today to see Bradley Wiggins of Team Garmin-Slipstream hold on to his 4th place position in the general classification of The Tour de France as he climbed Mont Ventoux. On that mountain the race can be won or lost in one bad moment. After three weeks of racing with all the pressures and stress that the riders will have been under it was a cruel decision by the organisers to put that climb in at the last but one day-but what great cycling it made.
I climbed a mountain of my own today-I managed to get on my town bike and ride for ten minutes around the local streets. This was the first time since my accident 5 weeks ago that I have been on a bike-not perfect or pain free yet but it is a start. Not quite Mont Ventoux I know but just as tough for me right now.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Wet Weather.....!

Looking out of the window over the past couple of days and seeing some of the heavy rain we have had reminded me of some of the weather that we had on the ACCR. After last years LEJOG we expected that cycling south through France in June would almost guarantee us good weather. How wrong can you be?!! If any person from foreign shores ever makes comment to me about the bad weather that we have here in good old blighty I will let them know in no uncertain terms that in my experience it does in fact rain almost everywhere and at any time. Rumours of good weather in France during the summer are just that-Rumours. The last time I was camping in France was about ten years ago-again in June- and it rained heavily for most of the trip on that occasion.
The pictures today show one of our wet evening picnics and a wet scene in the local village.

Monday 20 July 2009

More from the ACCR.

Just a couple more pictures from our recent ACCR both of these taken in the French section of the trip. Back on 1st July I posted a photo of Dave asleep in his hoody - Dave had told me the purpose of the hoody was to keep the light out of his eyes. Just to show how questionable that explanation really was, here we have another picture of Dave and his hoody-truth is that Dave has been working at the station here in Bournemouth for too long- he always thinks that he is working undercover trying to blend in with the passengers- you should see his Nike trainers to help complete the look. Another member of SWT staff from the infamous Revenue Protection Department is Inspector John Donoghue even in France he could not resist boarding a train / checking tickets and issuing penalty fares to passengers without tickets. The picture here shows John trying to entice passengers on to the train before serving them all with a penalty for not having a valid ticket-good old SWT training- it even comes in useful to make a few euros in the middle of an endurance cycle ride-mind you I think I am better out of it -I have now managed to go for ten weeks without a confrontation..........!!!

Wednesday 15 July 2009


My new bike has now been built up. I managed to get over to my Felt dealer for sizing/fitting and to take over my Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels which I intend to use with the bike. This bike is seriously lightweight-with a full carbon frame and the super lightweight wheelset. Even the bottle holders are made in super light carbon. All the components are Dura Ace 7900 series.The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that one of the pictures shows the bike indoors. Yes that's right I have brought the bike indoors so I can sit here and watch the Tour de France on TV and also look at my new bike. What greater incentive do I need to recover from my recent accident? Anne tells me she thinks that I am mad!!!

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Making me happy.

Well the Tour de France is proving to be the exciting sporting occasion that it always is. Each year it manages to be unpredictable and delivers what is always a great sporting event. Team Astana is showing that it is a real force to reckon with and has ridden well each day. My favourite team Garmin has featured on the podium in 3 of the first 4 stages. Bradley Wiggins managed a 3rd place on stage 1-Tyler Farrar took 2nd on stage 2 and the team itself came 2nd in todays team time trial which was the 4th stage. Lance Armstrong (Astana) is cycling with a style and power that is truly amazing when you consider that he has been retired for the past four years and Mark Cavendish (Columbia) is showing us yet again that he is the fastest sprinter in the world right now. At the present time Garmin riders are in the overall placings at 6th(Bradley Wiggins) and 10th(David Miller). All of this makes me happy.--

Something else that has made me happy over the past couple of weeks is all the messages and calls I have received offering me support and best wishes following my accident. These have come from members of the Backpackers club and other areas of the outdoors scene as well as people that I have got to know in the cycling world. It makes me happy to realise how lucky I am to know such nice and thoughtful people. A big thank you to each and every one of you.

Monday 6 July 2009

Latest Update.

This picture was taken just a couple of hours after we had arrived back in the UK at the end of our ACCR. It shows Jason and John with their bikes aboard the Starcross ferry. Little did we all know that about 30mins later our ride would come to an abrupt end when I had my accident. Exeter hospital was not where we had expected to be that evening. --In the past few days my situation has deteriorated. It would seem that after all the full on activity of the ride itself and then my left arm being totally immobile following the accident and the subsequent collarbone and multiple rib fractures I now have a Thrombosis in my left arm. I woke up on Friday morning and my left arm had blown up like the michelin man. It had grown so huge that it didn't look like my arm at all. In fact I am convinced it belongs to someone else. Anyway the upshot was that my GP had me down the hospital before my feet could touch the ground. I now have daily hospital visits while they try to establish the correct levels of warfarin that I need to be on in order to treat this condition-this situation could continue for a further six months which isn't a great prospect to look forward to. Anyway just before leaving home this morning for my hospital visit I had a phone call from John. John told me that he has decided to upgrade the wheels on his bike following all his broken spokes in France. Apparently he went to Bicycle World at Longham as I had recommended them. They are the Felt dealers who have my new bike in their store room awaiting my visit so they can build it up. They are going to build John a new set of wheels for his Revolution- as I said in a recent posting regarding John's wheels-it was only a matter of time ..!!

Friday 3 July 2009

Good for a Laugh.

One of the good things about having someone like John on the team is that he is always ready to give us all a laugh. If he's not telling us one of his funny tales of the time he spent in the film industry he is cracking a joke or doing something that the rest of us find really humorous such as mentioned in yesterday's posting. One evening in France after a long and hot day the talk came around to the subject that is often on the minds of all long distance cyclists- that is the subject of CHAFING. Now chafing can be really painful especially as the temperture rises and the mileage mounts up. In order to help combat the problem most cyclists wear padded lycra shorts and a lot of us also use a cream that we apply either directly on the skin in those secret little places or else on the chamois pad of the shorts.During our evening discussion John told us that he wasn't using a chamois cream but he also let slip that he was wearing cotton underpants as well as his padded shorts. Now this is a total NO NO!! If you wear cotton underpants they will just absorb all your perspiration and all that dampness just helps to make you very sore indeed. The idea is to wear the padded chamois lycra shorts and NO underpants. Poor John - no wonder he had been suffering. When the rest of us had finished laughing (which took a good few minutes) John told us that he hadn't realised and that no one had explained this to him bearing in mind that he is not a cyclist as such. So between the bouts of laughter we explained to John all there is to know about the black art of wearing padded lycra shorts and the use of chamois cream. The following evening at the end of the day's ride we were suprised to see a large white greasy mark all over the rear end of John's shorts. When asked about it John explained that as he didn't have any chamios cream he had used baby nappy rash cream-more laughter. Unlike chamois cream the nappy rash cream is oily and is not absorbed by the pad in the same way that proper chamois cream is. By the end of the trip Jason and I could tell how far we had all cycled that day just by looking at the size of John's oily patch. The bigger the patch the further we had travelled. This proved almost as accurate as the bike computers. As I said at the beginning -you can always rely on John to give you a good laugh....!!!!

Thursday 2 July 2009

Broken Spokes.

When we were on the ACCT we all felt the frustration that John was feeling due to the high number of broken spokes that he suffered. This led us to the spectacle one afternoon of John in the main square of the village of St Emilion on his mobile phone to The Edinburgh Bicycle CoOperative telling them about the problems he was having. We heard him come out with phrases like 'What can you do to help me?' and 'Can we come to some arrangement?' Now I have always found the EBC to be most helpful but quite what John expected from them when they were nearly 1000miles away is difficult to understand. Anyway the final outcome was that on John's return to the UK he would return the wheel to them for checking and testing and they would either repair -rebuild or replace depending on what they found. I bet the poor guy at EBC had a red hot ear when he finally got to put the phone down that afternoon. Now to follow on from that- we had only been off the ferry for a few minutes on our return to good old blighty and had just passed through customs when John is straight on the phone to EBC again. Again I have no idea what he was hoping to achieve with yet another phone call to them but the final outcome of this call was the same as the previous one-he was to send the wheel off to them on the Monday and they would take it from there. Now that was two weeks ago. Did John send his wheel back to them? NO!!. After one very expensive mobile phone call from France and a second call the moment we got back to the UK he has not done anything about it. If he had sent it back on the Monday as agreed he would probably have a replacement by now- and he can't say that it would have meant his bike being off the road for a couple of weeks because he didn't ride his bike again until yesterday. MOST BIZARRE !!! The guy that repaired his wheel on the last occasion in France told him that the wheel was in desperate need of a rebuild so I will keep you informed of further developments on this story because it is only a matter of time.......................

Wednesday 1 July 2009

First words of advice from the cycling oracle.

Here is a picture (apologies for poor quality) of Dave our broom wagon and support driver as mentioned in yesterday's posting. The photo was taken on board the ferry on our return trip from Spain. Dave had settled down for the night in his recliner-quite what the hoody is all about I am not sure although Dave did tell me it was to keep the light out of his eyes. Now I have to ask you-WOULD YOU TAKE CYCLING ADVICE FROM THIS MAN? Since his MBK hit the roads yesterday he is now known as the team's 'Cycling Oracle' and his first words of advice to me were to invest in a set of stabilisers for my bike- probably good advice considering recent events...!!

Tuesday 30 June 2009

From Broom Wagon to Saddle.

Some weeks before we set off for France Dave Vaughan our broom wagon and team support driver acquired an old MBK bike that he was going to renovate. During our time away on the ACCR Dave told us various tales about the cycling he did when he was younger. Apparently he was quite something on a bike in days of yore.(I think in those days bikes had a big wheel in front with a very small one behind). Dave went on to tell us that our bikes have the gear change lever in the wrong place-apparently the only place for the gear change levers is on the down tube as fitted on his MBK. As well as pointing out to us where we were going wrong with our cycling technique he also explained to us that when he got the MBK on the road he would show us all how to ride a bike properly. Well today I received a text from Dave informing me that the MBK is now on the road. He has been out for a 'bike proving' run as he described it. I informed him that I would give him a 5 week headstart (my accident recovery period) and then we could tackle the 'hill of death' on the team's training circuit. This will now give me an even greater incentive to recover as soon as possible and perhaps I will then be able to learn how to ride a bike properly as taught by a master.............................!!!!!!!!!

Monday 29 June 2009

Bike upgrade.

Prior to setting off on the ACCR and to celebrate my escape (early retirement) I decided to upgrade my sportive bike. I have always fancied having something mildly exotic - some guys buy themselves a fancy sports car- I am happy to settle for a superbike. After doing all the usual research that one does when considering a major purchase I decided that I would stick with the FELT brand and go for the top of the Z series range. I placed my order four days before heading out to France. Whilst in France I had a call from my Felt dealer informing me that the bike had arrived. It is still in the box and awaiting to be built up but it needs me in some level of fitness to visit the shop for measurements etc. The bike has the Z1 frame as used by half of the guys in the Slipstream Garmin Chipotle team and it features full Shimano Dura Ace components. The wheels it is supplied with are Mavic Ksyrium Equipe's which are very good and well thought of wheels. However I am going to run the bike with the Fulcrum Racing Zero wheelset that I purchased a couple of months ago. The Zero's- as well as costing three times more than the Mavic's- are lighter which is great for hills and acceleration and they also look great with their red anodised oversized spokes. I handed over almost as much for this bike as I did for the new car I purchased in April but it is a bit like taking delivery of a brand new Ferrari on the same day you receive a driving ban!! Due to the accident I am looking at another 5weeks at the earliest before I can even sit on the saddle.
My current sportive bike is now for sale. If anyone reading this is interested in a super Felt Z80
Sportive bike that has only covered 730 dry miles having never been out in the rain or damp conditions at half the price of the current Z80 and with a higher specification please contact me for more details. The bike is finished in a high gloss blue finish and part of it can be seen in the picture sporting the Fulcrum Racing Zero's. The other picture shows what my new bike will look like which is finished in gloss grey and clear carbon.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Lid replacement

As I mentioned in yesterday's posting I have already bought my replacement helmet. I decided to purchase a Giro Ionos. It is probably one of the most expensive helmets I could have chosen but after my recent attempt at low level flying and crash landing I feel that my skull is worth it. The helmet is good enough for a number of the teams in the pro peleton including Astana and Slipstream Garmin Chipotle(so it is good enough for me). Those of you that follow the pro peleton will have noticed that my new helmet is in the colours of Slipstream Garmin which is the team that I support-mainly because of their strict anti drug policy. The cleanest team on the tour! Within the team we have UK cyclists David Millar and Bradley Wiggins as well as the Irish climber Dan Martin. The other big name in the team is the American Christian Vande Velde.Watch out for these guys in this years Tour de France I have high hopes for them. I reckon that they are a hot tip to win the team time trial. As I watch the team ride this years tour I will do so in the knowledge that their skulls are being protected by the same make and model of helmet that I have chosen.

Friday 26 June 2009

One week ago

It is now one week ago today since my accident. Most of this past week I have spent sleeping which I am led to believe is a result of the cocktail of drugs that I am taking each day. The broken collarbone and ribs are painful but the painkillers do seem to be keeping it all under control. Most of the 'road rash' that I picked up whilst sliding along the road is now turning to scab and it is only my left arm that continues to be an open wound. this wound keeps weeping badly and requires regular changes of the dressing. I was very lucky. I know this because the Doctors told me that if I had not been wearing my helmet and it had been my bare skull that had absorbed the impact it would probably have killed me. I know a lot of people don't wear a helmet because thay say that if hit by a car or lorry it is not going to protect you. I agree that a helmet won't protect you against a car impact but if following that impact your head meets the road/curb/pavement it will offer some protection for your head and in so doing restrict the range of injuries that you end up suffering with. Make no mistake I was lucky-look at the pictures of my helmet-that could have been my skull As it was even with the helmet on I was knocked out stone cold. Whatever reasons people give for not wearing a helmet THEY ARE WRONG. I am glad that I was wearing mine. I have already bought it's replacement.
Over the following weeks of my recovery I will be posting additional pictures etc of our ACCR and also reveal some of the secrets that the other team members would prefer me not to disclose.

Saturday 20 June 2009

ACCR DAY 14 /15

Sorry for the delay in posting to the Blog but our first day back in the UK ended suddenly when i came off my bike whilst doing about 25mph. I dont remember the accident but it appears that i hit a rut in the road losing control and being thrown about 20ft. I am now in Exeter hospital with 5 broken ribs and a broken collar bone. I should be going home tomorrow. It looks like it will be at least 6wks before i can get back on a bike. Plenty of road rash on my left side where i slid along the road. The accident happened near Budleigh Salterton shortly after crossing the Exe on the Starcross ferry. The othe members of the team came into see of earlier but they are now returning to the Bournemouth area. My long suffering Anne is now on her way and will take me home when the Doctors give the Ok. Not the end of the ride that we expected but every ride is an adventure. In a few days time i will write up a review of the ride complete with unseen photographs.

Thursday 18 June 2009


Bikes all loaded into the broom wagon and now in queue for the ferry which can be seen in the background. Due to depart for UK at about 1500hrs local time.


Now arrived at Santander. Bikes lined up ready for loading into the broom wagon.


Today was a longer day than we had expected. We thought that it might be about 50 miles but it turned out to be 75mls.The day was also hot very hot. The road surface was also variable.The first 37mls was flat or thereabouts. After that it became more and more hilly as we approached the foothills of the Pyrenees. The final climb was very long and very very tough but the payoff was fantastic- a 40 plus mph descent sweeping down the winding road off the hill side and into Spain. A total buzz- a real high- one of the longest descents I have ever done. We were joined on this descent by one of the local club cyclists. Our speed was matching his all the way into Spain where he waved and set off in a different direction. The whole experience makes me want to bring my race bike out here and spend a week just doing the mountain passes. Total cycling magic ! !. ! The picture shows Jason in contact on the phone to Dave as he was trying to talk us around the Biarritz ring road which was a nightmare. Having reached Spain we thought that we would give ourselves a reward- a night in a hotel and that is where we are about half way to Santander. Tomorrow we are going to The ferry and our 24hrs return sailing back to the good old UK. I will post again tomorrow.

Tuesday 16 June 2009


A big day for us today. It started badly with us taking the wrong road and doing 10miles and still being only a couple of miles from where we started. We found ourselves on a very busy dual carriageway with lots of heavy lorries thundering past. We got on to the right road eventually but not until we had wasted an hour. In the end todays riding was the best of the trip so far. First we were travelling through the wine region and then that was followed by mile upon mile of forestry and some of the most remote and straightest roads i have ever cycled on. We ended up doing 100mls at an average speed of 16mph. John ended up doing 108mls due to him taking a wrong turn and he managed an average of 14.3mph. We are staying at a site near the village of Matzos some 50miles from the Spanish border. Tomorrow we travel down to Biarritz and through into Spain. The weather today was good for cycling -warm with clouds and a slight breeze.

Monday 15 June 2009


The day started with heavy rain which continued throughout the day. We checked the forecast for tomorrow and it is looking better so we decided to take a tourist day. Time was spent looking around the town taking photos and doing what most other visitors to the area were doing. Look at the photo and you can see John taking pictures in the pouring rain under his newly acquired umbrella. We have now left ourselves just two days for the final push to the border. This is not made any easier as the guy at the bike shop who repaired Johns wheel told him that the wheel really needs a total rebuild or a replacement. We will just have to keep our fingers crossed that it keeps on rolling. We shall soon be at the mountains- we hope.

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...