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Now retired but busy still living..

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.

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...