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Now retired but busy still living..

Tuesday 20 December 2011


Well if you needed proof here it is....Father Christmas IS a cyclist as this photograph taken in Bournemouth a few days ago proves.

Due to all the financial problems world wide it would appear that the 'man in red' has had to dispense with his reindeer and sleigh. The cost of feeding all those reindeer had proved to be too expensive and they just had to go. 

All the financial cutbacks have meant that he has had to find an alternative and far cheaper form of transport. After all,  the Prime Minister David Cameron has told us that "we are all in this together" and unfortunately this means Father Christmas too...
Going one better (or one less) than most of us,  Father Christmas has chosen a Uni-Cycle and in doing so is saving the cost of having to buy two tyres. Very cost effective I would say.....

Seasons Greetings to all visitors to this blog whether you are a regular or occasional visitor.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I will be posting again in early January 2012

Friday 16 December 2011


A couple of stories in the Bournemouth local press this week involved two very different cyclists....
One of the stories had the heading...'Left for Dead'. It concerned a cyclist found in the road following a hit and run incident.

The 40 year old experienced cyclist was cycling to work at around 05.30hrs one morning. He was wearing high-visibility clothing and a helmet and he had a number of lights to the front and rear of his machine when a car ploughed into him. 
The impact flipped him over the top of the car and apparently the cyclist landed on his back about 10 metres from the point of impact. The poor guy suffered two broken vertebrae...a broken bone in his hand and plenty of road rash. The car did not stop and just left the cyclist in the road. 

Luckily an off duty fireman saw the incident and went over to assist. He phoned for the emergency services. 
Later, the cyclist said..."There is no way that the driver would not have seen me...I was lit up like a Christmas tree and I'm not a small person. I did a double somersault over the top of the car and he just kept on going...I can remember riding the bike and then looking down and thinking it was going to hurt....I cracked my helmet and the bike is probably a write off". 

After four days in hospital he is now at home but has to spend the day lying very still and is on morphine slow release to ease the pain...apparently he is due to see a spinal specialist but it is not expected that he will have any permanent damage . He really was a very lucky guy not to have been killed. 
As for the driver of the car..well the police are still looking for him.

The next story concerns cycling on the pavement (sidewalk) which is one of my pet hates. 

Apparently the police have been out in the Boscombe area of Bournemouth  to remind cyclists that riding on the pavement and through the precinct is not allowed. 
This follows an incident involving a four year old girl which highlights the dangers that cyclists can pose when riding along the pavement and precinct areas. 

The young girl was left in agony after an irresponsible cyclist slammed into her when riding his bike in the dark on a pavement in Southbourne Grove. In the impact she suffered two breaks in her lower left leg. 
As for the cyclist....well after stopping briefly to get back on his bike he then rode off ....the police have made a public appeal and they have issued CCTV pictures of the man they want to speak to. In the CCTV images I've seen, the man is cycling along no handed....

What do these two stories highlight then ?  Well for me it shows that there can be some pretty nasty people driving cars as well as some pretty nasty people riding bikes.
I do hope that the hit and run motorist and the hit and run cyclist are both caught....it is a good thing that the majority of motorists and cyclists would not behave like these two...but it does the reputation of both groups of road users no good at all when people behave like this.

I trust that both the little girl and the cyclist that was hit by the car make a full and complete recovery and that their Christmas is not spoiled by these incidents. 


Sunday 11 December 2011


Here is a little tale that had me in fits of laughter when I first heard it.

A couple of weeks ago JD and I had planned on going for a fifty mile ride over the Purbeck hills on the Monday morning.
On the appointed day I woke up to really wet and gloomy conditions and it became obvious that the planned ride was probably going to be doomed.....

The phone rang early and it was JD , "What do you think" he said.  I told him that our best bet was to wait a couple of hours and see if there was any improvement.
Two hours later my phone rang again and JD said  "it's now even worse". And it was....

Since our earlier conversation the weather had deteriorated even further and we made the decision not to bother and I resigned myself to a session on the turbo.

Well....a few days later JD told me that a couple of hours after our second call he had got so frustrated having a day off work and not being able to get out for a decent ride, that he decided that he would brave the terrible weather and go out anyway.
He decided to use his touring bike because it has fenders and would help to minimize some of the muck that would obviously be thrown up off the road on such an awful day.
Now as he was setting out much later than he had originally intended getting out with me on the bike, he decided not to head to the Purbecks but to save time by using one of our summer loops north/west of where he lives. The route in question is mainly along country lanes.
These country lanes pass by lots of farms and one of the reasons we normally only use this loop during the summer months is because during the winter the lanes can become covered in mud and muck from the farm traffic....tractors to you and I.
Anyway because JD only had a few hours of daylight left he decided to throw caution to the wind and use our summer loop because it was closer to home.....

Oh dear!
Have you ever made a decision and afterwards wished you hadn't?
Well JD has!

Apparently about ten miles into the ride he realized that somehow he had taken a wrong turn and was lost.....not only that, he was soaking wet and also freezing cold.
JD was thinking to himself what a mistake it had been to decide to go out for a ride....after all he could have been nice and warm back at home...things couldn't really be any worse.....or so he thought.

So what happened next?

Still trying to find his way back on to the correct route he took a left turn just as a farmer in his tractor with muck spreader attached was pulling off his field with the muck spreader in full flow.
JD was covered  in....well....muck.
He really was covered from head to toe in slurry. Fenders didn't exactly help with this.
The thing to remember about the slurry that farmers spray over their fields, is that it is not only filthy, it also stinks and not only that it's also pretty sticky and it stuck to JD pretty much like super glue.

He did find his way home ......eventually..... and the first thing he did was to hose the bike and himself down with the garden hose. His wife wouldn't let him in the house until he had cleaned himself up and it took ages apparently to hose it all off.

So let that be a lesson to us all.....If you have a route that is designated a summer route then there is a reason we don't ride it in the winter.........  

Tuesday 6 December 2011


Tommy Godwin
TOMMY GODWIN 1912-1975

I have just been reading about the late Tommy Godwin  1912 - 1975. 

He was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England and as a youngster in an effort to help support his family, he took a job as a delivery boy for a greengrocers and with the job came a very heavy iron delivery bike.......this was Tommy's introduction to cycling.

By all accounts Tommy used to ride this bike at breakneck speed on his delivery rounds. At the age of fourteen he hacked the basket off and used that bike to enter his first time trial and actually won the event with a time of 65 mins over 25 miles.

Some years later Tommy left his amateur status with Potteries CC and joined Rickmansworth Cycling Club as a professional.

Now, back in 1911 the weekly magazine -Cycling- began a competition for the greatest distance cycled in a single year. The first holder was Marcel Planes of France with a distance of 34,666 miles (55,790kms). The record has been established nine times. 

Tommy Godwin set out at 5am on the morning of 1st January 1939 to bring the record home. The record had been previously set by Ossie Nicholson of Australia in 1937 and stood at  62,657 miles (100,837kms).

Tommy was sponsored by the Raleigh Bicycle Company and Sturmey Archer. He was riding a Raleigh Ace bike that had a four speed Sturmey Archer hub gear. The bike weighed about 30lbs.

Throughout 1939 for the most part, Tommy would get up at 3am and cover over 200 miles (320kms) a day and he could spend over 18 hours in the saddle. After the first two months his mileage lagged behind Nicholson's schedule by over 922 miles, so Tommy had to increase his daily mileage to claw back the deficit and edge ahead. 
He managed to gain the record with over two months spare and carried on. His total mileage for the year was 75,065 miles. He also continued riding right through until May 1940 when, after 500 days he also secured the 100,000 miles record as well. 

Tommy Godwin dismounted and spent weeks learning how to walk again before setting off to war with the RAF. 
He died at the age of sixty three returning from a ride with friends. 

The record is still open for challenge but not for entry in the Guinness Book of Records, whose editors say further attempts would be too dangerous.

I really love distance cycling, but Tommy Godwins achievements make my annual mileage look like a ride in the park by comparison...............

Friday 2 December 2011


Eurovelo 6
I mentioned in a recent posting that I have had the maps out looking for another route to use for a cycle tour during 2012. 
One of the routes that I rather like the look of is the Euro Velo Route6. 
There are currently 14 Euro Velo routes totalling in excess of 66,000kms of which about 45,000kms is already in place. 

When JD & I were cycling back from Gibraltar on our ROCK2UK RIDE we followed Velo Route1 up the Atlantic coast. I actually posted some images on this blog showing the wonderful traffic free cycle paths that we encountered on that route.

Velo Route 6 crosses 10 countries. It starts (or finishes) at St Nazaire on the Atlantic coast of France and goes through Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria into Romania and ends at Constanta on the Black Sea. 

This is a route that passes through some fantastic countryside - it even traverses the Jura foothills of the Alps without any appreciable climbing - one of the benefits of using a route that follows rivers -and that is just what the Velo Route 6 does- it follows the course of Europe's largest rivers, the Loire, Rhine and the Danube. 
The total length of the entire route is 3,653kms or in English, 2,270 miles. 

Now I am not planning on riding the entire route, as time and logistics play a part in my plan's as always. I am looking at various options depending whether I end up doing this trip on my own or with another rider. 

If I was riding alone with no time restraints I think that I would do the section from  Nantes at the mouth of the Loire and follow the river to it's source near Basel in Switzerland. 
About 70% of this route is on dedicated traffic free cycle paths similar to those I rode on the Southern Atlantic coast sections of Velo Route1. 

The remainder of the route is on quiet country lanes. 95% of the surfaces are super smooth asphalt- so well within the capabilities of a standard road or touring bike. 
After arriving at Basel I would create a loop back on a different route to my original ferry port, this would give a total distance of about 1800 miles. 

If I decided to ride with someone else the chances are they would have time restrictions due to work -  something I no longer have to worry about. 

In these circumstances I would consider a much shorter route, probably the section from Nantes and then eastwards along the Loire to Orleans  with a loop back to a ferry port such as Cherbourg or St Malo from there. 

This would create a much shorter circular route of about 700/800 miles. Anyway these are all only thoughts at the moment and I have made no decisions and haven't spoken to anyone else about the route possibilities yet..........Just thinking out loud !........Well thinking on this blog anyway!

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...