Sunday, 7 September 2014

a much better day!

Massage in 5 minutes... That's all done. Legs definitely better but there are many other parts aching!
Great cycling group - just need to stick the pace.

Accommodation at Bath University is a dream compared to the cold campsite this morning. Back to tents tomorrow  - argh. No more photos as camera as succumbed to a common HTC one m8 flaw that it doesn't like the vibrations from bikes. Ah well.

I'm  the lucky owner of both Chamois Cream and Aloe Very flavoured Vaseline but I'm sure that'll work just as well elsewhere where it's more needed.

I may just have enough energy to watch some catch-up TV!

Check out my 185.7 km Ride on Strava:

Saturday, 6 September 2014

RAB Day 2 preview

Tomorrow's ride. Apparently rated the worst. Slightly longer and about same elevation rise including a dart moor and cheddar gorge.

Tough day out today

Check out my 179.3 km Ride on Strava:

RAB Day 1

I'm knackered!

Got very hot today; drank over seven 750ml bottles and still ran out. I fell off the bike early, long story but not all my fault....needed patching at the first pit stop and forgot to eat there althiugh luckily shoved banana, cadbury dairy milk in pocket. Only remembered once I'd run out of energy! So exhausted

Longest climb I've done in a days too at over 2,500m. I know others at work have recently done 5,000m but it was tough.

Up at 05.15 again tomorrow

Friday, 5 September 2014

Blimey... There's 100s of tents

And a bar

RAB Day 0 - Penzance to Land's End

Well, it's boiling here in the coach.  I've just realised that I'm locked up with a whole bunch of nutters! In the nicest possible sense. Not quite celebrity big brother.
Also been looking at route for tomorrow - I may just close my eyes for much of it

  • the person behind is going to break it up into 10 mile chunks
  • the person next to him has apparently been thinking of nothing else all year
  • someone else says it's the first 40 mins each day that gets to you! 
  • and for another it is their fourth time. 
  • the sanest person appears to be the one next to me in his Crocs.
Wish I hadn't just had a big fish and chips by the bus station. I'm rambling....

RAB Day 0 - training it down to Penzance

7am Paddington. I'm shocked waiting for the train to find someone come straight up to me and ask if I was heading to Land's End. Not thinking I was sending overt signals that I'm really a MAMIL (what an awful acronym and one I only saw recently), he pointed to my give away label on the bag - a large laminated race number tied on with a blue cable tie. Looking around I realised that there were many of us - some with much larger and heavier bags.
I feel the adventure has just begun...
..I know I'm missing one thing already the chamois cream that's supposed to be a life saver. Mental note to seek out asap on arrival!
The journey to just past Swindon was like a busman's holiday - I heard about all the pros, cons, relative pricing and showstoppers for at least four of the tenderers presenting today to win the major R&D upgrade for a manufacturer's HQers in Wiltshire. I never quite understand how people think it's a good idea to talk about confidential issues on a train. Ho hum.
OK the photo isn't great from the train but it was meant to show that the sun was poking through the haze and remind me of where I'll be cycling to get back to Bath on Sunday evening.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Thank you for your support

Thank you so much to the many people who have sponsored me (over £500 to date) – this is very much appreciated. I also have a number of offline promises of support based on measured achievements!

It is never too late if you would like to provide some support to the charities at

Finally some news/info…
  • There is approval in principle (pending formal approval) that Navigant’s Foundation will match donations up to a cap and therefore each pound given is worth up to twice as much to the two charities
  • Even a modest donation is of huge value and will certain have an impact on me to get through the hillier sections of Devon – each day’s route can be viewed at the Ride Across Britain LIVE TRACKING website where you may be able to see quite how far back I (Rider 0690) am each day.
  • DEVON DAY 2 is this Sunday 7 September and woken up at 05:30am I should be on the road at around 07:00; the route and climb of nearly 6,000ft looks tough for me

  •  I do own a bike and have been out training across southern England for this since by July email. There is some evidence of the bike and training in this photo of me (I’m in the middle!) at the top of Box Hill only a few weeks ago.

-          Finally, I have twitter account if you would like to share with others

Bike is on its way to Land's End and return transport all sorted

It all appears very efficient....

  1. The bike was picked up in a HGV yesterday by European Bike Express.
  2. Enterprise Rent-A-Car even rang me up today and it looks like they will be able to pick me and the bike up direct from the the end of Day 5. I'm impressed but will just have to make sure I don't break a leg on the way up.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Navigant Cycling Team

So the team jersey has arrived from the US already - and the bike is ready to go too....

I quite like the zebra! - Turn to us for Direction[s]
Day 1 - I've never come across gears that are linked to brake levers- apparently this is very normal now!

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Route

969 miles of the UK’s most breathless sightseeing

The full route is 969 miles broken in to 9 daily stages averaging 108 miles a day. Whether you call the UK home or not, the ride is one of the classic cycling challenges on the planet. It takes in the most beautiful parts of Britain from barren moorlands and majestic highlands to lush green valleys, winding back lanes and stunning coastal roads. We aim to find the most varied and interesting route out there and riders climb around 15,000m over the 9 days. That is around 13 times up Alpe d’Huez! This sounds like a lot, but with the right training it is within your reach.

Donations can be made at . Thank you.

Riding Across Britain - 2014

The England Package

england profile

Stunning cycling through the Lakes, Peaks and Moors of England

The England Package takes in 5 days of exceptional riding exploring little known back routes through to legendary climbs and descents like Shap in the Lakes, Cheddar Gorge and the stunning scenery of the Westcountry moorland. Most riders who complete this section of the ride come back wondering why they always head off abroad for beautiful scenery when they are within a matter of hours from some of the best views in the world. Formed from Days 1-5 of the full route you can explore exactly what is involved by clicking the stage icons above the map to the left.

Dates: 5th to 9th September, 2014

The England package sets off on the 1st day of the full course and riders need to arrive by 6pm on the evening of Friday 5th September at the Land’s End base camp. They will register for the event, have a hot dinner and meet the other riders before settling in for the night in preparation for an early start.

Donations can be made at . Thank you.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Runkeeper maps and route profiles added

I've added at the end of each date the route I took and the approximate statistics - elevation, speed etc.

Clicking in the top left hand corner of these images (view details at should take you to further information as shown below for 25 September where I climbed a total of 1.36km and cycled 161km.
From Screen Captures

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Finished - 955 miles; summary, some list and miscellaneous figures!

I certainly didn't come first in any speed challenge but I have enjoyed myself!
I set out with some Goals, these were to:
  1. cycle from Orkney back to Kent before my son's 15th birthday; done with time to spare!
  2. look at engineering works to show how great examples of both current and historical engineering works are all around us and help to make our country the success it is; I believe I had a good go at this and whilst I could have done more, some people found it a little too technical!
  3. visit my family across the country; well I managed to visit my parents, brothers and sister and most of their children. Thank you for putting up with me and my thoughts are very much with my brother Angus who shortly after I met up with him and Robert had an accident and has yet to recover.
  4. reflect on the implications of the big changes I (and perhaps we all) need to make as we move to a low carbon economy; well I have done this but reached no firm conclusions. I will return to this on another blog.
    • There's always something to do...
    • raise money for two charities; I still have a bit of work to do on this but I am extremely grateful for all those who sponsored me - thank you
    • find a new and challenging permanent job; still working on this one but the notice period I have been given related to my redundancy goes through to mid-February, so there is till time!
    So I thought I would round up with some lists
    Challenge favourites 
        1 cycling with Angus and Robert from Hexham
        2 south from Tongue to Lairg with pint in the Crask Inn
        3 05:30 start from Kirkwall to catch ferry from St Margaret's Hope 
        4  getting new wheel in York!
        5  staying with and meeting nearly all my family at various places along the route  
    Places that catered for my cycling best 
        1 London (quantity, maps, clear route types, investment)
        2 Loughborough (junctions, quality and quantity)
        3 York (cycling facilities)
        4 Inverness and area around south to Aviemore (old A9 and commuting)
        5 Sheffield (plus whole region from Derby to Market Harborough)
    Places that catered for my cycling least 
        1 Leighton Buzzard to St Albans (signs, routing etc)
        2 Milton Keynes (signage misleading and quality of surface)
        3 Peterlee plus or minus 10 miles (quality of NCN route 1 surface)
        4 Edinburgh (RR - ring road was very poor quality routing, poor junction design, no temporary routing whilst roadworks taking place). Of course this is where I was born so I should favour it!
        5 Perth (no idea what is going on at junctions)   
        £2,637.10 raised to 6 October; £1,400 to go, it's never too late and every little helps! Thank you. 
        955 miles (1,635 km) cycled including about 1 mile walked (some hills, tunnels and foot bridges)
        356 photos taken
        20 blogs written (almost daily)
        9 kilometres (5.6 miles, 29,600 ft, 9,031m) total vertical climb
        8 serious near misses; incl. 2 by me (skidding on wet rivets on old rail bridge and narrowly missing curb, 6 by others - 1) head-on young guy racing level crossing barrier closing from side road near Doncaster, 2-5) local coach in Derbyshire, HGVs near Perth, St Albans and Woolwich having no idea what they were doing! 6) 50+ year old woman driving in Tain where shopping is far more important than watching the road. General knowledge of Highway code rules 139, 158 and 188 fairly poor with at least 1:100 drivers - at least the time I met them!
        1 new rear wheel but no punctures
    Slideshow of all photos as per map above 

    Tuesday, 5 October 2010

    Day 20 : Flamstead to Chatham, 68 miles, wet start to dry and overcast

    Well I may have got a good night's rest but the weather was no better in the morning. Despite my best efforts, substantial 'as much as you can eat breakfast at 7am etc, I didn't get away until just before 8am. This was probably a good time to go with hindsight as I suspect that HGVs avoid the rush hour journey along the A5 into St Albans.
    Notwithstanding that the journey all the way to Barnet on A5 via St Albans (nice but didn't look around much), Colney, M25 junctions 22 and 23 via Blackhorse Lane, South Mimms certainly got me close to certain good and poor aspects of highways design.
    London Cycling Guides - these are really excellent and are available free on line from
    However, once in Barnet the excellent and free London Cycling Guide map series (I had carried the four relevant ones with me all the way) came into their own. They are absolutely superb, although I could have protected them better from the rain, and I enjoyed the whole way back from there on in. Routes are colour coded to one of six types and I easily followed yellow routes (quieter roads recommended for cyclist although not necessarily signed) all the way to Tottenham Hale. This is the current link to order cycle guides on line.
    The point at which I reached Route 1 (this is the route that goes through Kirkwall, hugs the east coast and passes our house enroute to Sandwich/Dover). The path follows towpath to west of the River Lee Navigation from Stonebridge Locks, however as there was only one arrow on the post it was not at all clear!
    Route 1 takes a little diversion across this footbridge and then around Hackney Marshes. It is completely unnecessary, today it required a splash through 300mm of water and a trek across muddy playing fields just to get to the same canal towpath I was on already! I wasn't very impressed with myself for not noticing that on the TfL cycle guides.
    First sight of Isle of Dogs
    I passed by the Olympic site and into Mile End.
    After turning west away from the Hackney Cut of the River Lee Navigation and along side the Hertford Union Canal, the route took me through Victoria Park and then south through Mile End Park, between Mile End and Limehouse. I have to admit not being at aware of the existance of the very pleasant series of parks. On leaving the park, I almost made a fateful mistake on turning right on CS3, Cycle Superhighway 3, which although it was clearly signposted to Tower Gateway did look very inviting!

    Millwall Inner Dock from Pepper Street towards One Canada Square
    Not a great photo but the route 1 takes lifts up and down from the pedestrian tunnel (designed by Sir Alexander Binnie). Built from 1899 to 1902 it replaced an sometimes unreliable ferry service. The southern tunnel entrance in Cutty Sark Square. The tunnels and their staircases are currently be refurbished as it the Cutty Sark (out of shot but behind me!). A quick pit-stop to buy lunch of sandwich, fruit, Eccles cakes and orange juice from M&S and I was straight back on the road. I'd divided today into 5 sections of 20km each and Greenwich was the end of section three. I knew I had to keep moving!
    Several hundred extras being allowed to cross Romney Road for a the next of the Pirates of Caribbean films, On  Stranger Tides (due for release in 2011) part of which is being shot near Greenwich Park and the National Maritime Museum (thanks for the help on this one - see comments and this link). The characters looks very believable to me!
    I took route 18 to Woolwich which was a safe and easy ride at this time of day
    Looking upstream back towards Canary Wharf and O2 Dome with Thames Barrier in the foreground. Route 1 joins the path alongside the River Thames for the next 10 miles (apart from a short break at Erith) when it turns inland to follow the River Darent and Crayford Creeks into Dartford.
    According to its Wikipedia entry the Thames Barrier started construction in 1974 and although largely finished in 1982 was not officially opened until 1984. The concept of the rotating gates was devised by Charles Draper. The barrier was designed by Rendel, Palmer and Tritton for the Greater London Council and tested at HR Wallingford Ltd. The site at Woolwich was chosen because of the relative straightness of the banks, and because the underlying river chalk was strong enough to support the barrier. It is the world's second largest movable flood barrier (after the Oosterscheldekering in the Netherlands)
    Some of the Grade I and II listed buildings in the Royal Arsenal Development. Over 3,000 people now live on the coverted Royal Ordnance Factory site (closed in 1967). Plans have now been submitted for a new masterplan encompassing further land along the river. The new plans incorporate a further 1,200 new homes, along with 270,000 sq ft (25,000 m2) of commercial, retail, leisure space and a 120-bedroom hotel. Also included in the plans is the new Woolwich Crossrail station, which has been part-funded by Berkeley Homes.
    The cycle route continues past the Riverside Resource Recovery (RRR), energy from waste facility. According to the company's website, the Riverside Energy from Waste facility at Belvedere in the London Borough of Bexley, is Cory Environmental's single most significant development project. With an average annual capacity of 585,000 tonnes, it will be an important strategic river-served waste management facility for London, helping the capital to manage its own waste, keeping over 100,000 HGVs off the capital's congested roads each year and making a real contribution to London's ability to meet its landfill diversion targets. Looks a little like an incinerator to me.
    Dartford Salt Marshes with the Dartford River Crossing (QEII bridge, 1991) just visible in the gloom!
    Once in Dartford the route is easy and follows a dedicated path in the corridor of the A2, but away from it, after Bluewater.
    Further along the same stretch the route utilises the old A2 surface for several mile. The path meanders pleasantly with new landscaping on either side.
    Familiar local journeys suddenly didn't seem that far nor the gradients very steep at all as I rapidly found myself pedalling back over the bridge I'd started on a few weeks ago.

    Looking the other way from the way I left 20 days ago, across the bascule bridge taking me across onto St Mary's Island, Peel Port's Chatham Dockyard can be seen beyond the first basin.