Friday, August 05, 2005

The End (nearly)


Well, we're back. A little older and, frankly, not much wiser. I'm off on holiday now, a real one this time, where you don't have to get up each morning and rub nappy rash cream all over your privates and pain relief gel on your knees. On my return will be working out how much cash we've raised. I'll publish a last entry in a couple of weeks time and wrap up this gig once and for all.

A big thanks to all of you that have supported us. Your financial and emotinal support made this possible. I was always going to start the ride, you made it impossible not to finish it.

One big thanks has to go to Brother Ed. Magnificent. A true rock.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Day 9

A day of two halves. Helmsdale! Should be a ski resort. Just hideous, this took all morning. H has saddle sore so his temper frayed at last minute.

But, but, but, the land flattened out after lunch and Simon and Howard met up with Ed five miles from the target and they rode on together.


They have done it. 2men1bike (2 consecutive bikes actually) rode from Lands End to John O Groats in eight and a half days through a British Summer. Hats Off!

They all say thank you to everybody for all the texts and all the support and Howard says he will not feel the least bit bad asking everyone for money because for once he really has earned it!

Dig deep my friends they're on their way home.

Day 8

On Sunday night the boys are living the high life in a rather swanky hotel in Tain. I have no idea where that is but it is 75 miles from John O Groats. They have a suite of rooms in a seperate wing in a tower attached to the kind of hotel that people stop to have their picture taken in front of. It is indeed a thousand miles away from the Youth Hostel they stayed in in Penzance on their first night.

They are trying not to believe that they actually might finish this thing tomorrow.

Day 7

Today the boys made it as far as Fort William. The scenery was beautiful and all the other traffic thought so too. It was, however, the first break they have had from the wind since they left Lands End, though the sky was grey all day. It was very dificult to find a place to stay beacause of all the other visitors so well done again to Ed, who had a nightmare.

110 miles.

Tomorrow, H, S, and E head up the Caledonian Canal as far as they can get.

Day 6

Reached Motherwell today. There was as usual lots of wind and none of it was going in the right direction.

105 Miles.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Day 5

And the rain rain rain came down down down!

Very windy this morning from Wigan to Carnforth with the bike being blown either into the hedges or under lorries. Howard has a picture in his head of Ed drying his socks under a hand dryer at a Little Chef at breakfast time.

They stopped at Carnforth for lunch and bought some waterproofs. H says these saved his life up Shap (1,400 ft climb into the wind) It was so windy downhill that it was impossible to frewheel. Simon and Howard covered only 15m in two hours.

They did not quite make it to Carlisle, but are spending the night in Penrith where apparently there is a great Chinese takeaway.

Todays thankyou goes to Paul and his mate out on a stag night (tenner - nice one).

They are pointing the tandem towards Glasgow on Friday so keep texting, they love that. Thanks for all the support.

(No more updates until Monday I am afraid, pa is off on holiday.)

Day 4

Today the going was good despite a headwind. Howard and Simon averaged 16mph and cycled a total of seven and a half hours. This is the first trouble free day and the first day to achieve their target milleage.

The boys ate breakfast in Hereford, second breakfast en route, lunch in Shrewsbury, high tea in Warrington and eventually stopped at Wigan for the night where they had another dinner. They all say thankyou to Alison Hogan at the Premier Lodge in Wigan and Howard and Simon would like to say a thankyou to Ed. They say "no Ed, no trip!"

Their target for Day 5 is Carlisle. (Ooh thats far!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Day 3

The plan was to send Ed off to find a new tandem with Simon whilst Howard cycled on by himself. So Ed visited a friend, borrowed a computer and managed to locate a dealer nearby. They stripped everything they thought they might need off the old tandem and put what was left in a skip. Howard meanwhile ploughed on with plenty of time to order his thoughts and build up hope again.

The boys were reunited again at lunchtime and Howard and Simon were able to cross the Bristol channel together on a brand new tandem. Hurray!

An early stop for them this evening at a Premier Lodge in Hereford. A good rest needed and a chance to start again, putting the bad luck behind them.

Big thanks for the donation to the man and his little boy outside the Rose of Denmark in Bristol.

Day 2

So Howard and Simon set off on Monday morning on the single bikes, which is hard going as the bikes are not designed for the kind of roadwork required. Ed took the injured tandem into Barnstaple to be repaired. The repair was completed by lunchtime and everyone took off happily again with renewed energy.

However, before long diaster struck! In repairing the bike, part of the gear mechanism was loosened, this broke off and fell into the wheel which resulted in a catastrophic chain of events, leading to the eventual last hurrah for the tandem. With another rescue call to Ed the boys made it to Nether Stowey and were partially revived by the kind hospitality at Keensthorne House. Ed, Simon and Howard took themselves off to the pub to discuss what to do next day but their mood was not good.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Day 1

After a disturbed night in the youth hostel, our boys set off bleary-eyed for Lands End. They took a few photos in the mist and started pedaling at 9:30am. At approximately 11:30 the tandem took a puncture and they ground to a halt. Ed was on hand to rescue them and having sorted them out they met up for lunch at Wadebridge after cycling roughly 65 miles.

However, shortly into the afternoon the tandem developed more serious problems and they had to be rescued by Ed again. This time there was no quick fix and Howard and Simon were forced to continue on the two single bikes. Another 65 miles and six hours later they arrived at Bakers Farm in Great Torrington, thanks to Mr and Mrs Rudd. Here they stayed overnight with the prospect of single bikes facing them in the morning, undeterred though a little disappointed.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Saturday 23rd July

I've just shown my eldset son (Floyd) how to write up this blog. He seemed, at best, uninterested in it. I'm going to phone in entries on a daily basis. I'm not sure that I've got the wherewithall to send in photos, but we'll see. One of the side effects of cycling for so long each day is that the vibrations numb your fingertips. This is going to make typing in an entry from a web cafe impossible. One of the other side effects of the constant buffering on your bottom is that you go temporarily impotent. Simon told me this. He didn't define what counted as temporary.

Apologies to my colleagues yesterday. I didn't so much as say fond farewells and thanks for the best wishes as run out of the door in a world of my own. I appreciate your thoughts.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday 22nd July

We're off to Cornwall tomorrow. It seems a bit unreal that the training is over and the real thing is going to start. The bike's still got "issues" but Simon's on the case. I've packed a spare bike in case the tandem blows up (thanks Guido).

Simon wants to call the bike "Buchephalus". This was Alexander the Great's horse. He thinks that a classical reference is appropriate. I want to call the bike "The Mid Life Crisis". We've settled on calling it "The Bike" for the moment.