Friday, 4 March 2011

Last push for funding

We are nearly there... People are collecting their sponsorship from paper forms and the total is creeping up on our Justgiving page. Please, if you haven't sponsored us yet do give whatever you can afford - even a couple of pounds helps.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Our Actual Progress

Well, we almost did what we thought we would. Distance wise we were well above the normal route. Our progress can be seen in Google Earth by following the little bikes here! We have uploaded our location data a little later than anticipated.

The main route is in red and alternatives in blue.

If you don't use Google Earth, can I recommend it! It is free and from this download spot. It allows a vast amount of useful geographical analysis (and fun!).

If you have Google Earth, you can download* the map (in KML) to see our route and play about with it (showing 3D mapping images, terrain data, elevation charts, etc) or simply download* our Flyover to fly over our route in 5 minutes, something that took us 2.5 days of cycling!

Monday, 28 February 2011

Listen to the radio

Here's the interview Sue did for Isle of Wight Radio before we did the ride.  click here for downloadable mp3 version

And here's Tom's shoutout on BBC 6 Music, on the Friday evening after the ride. Which also explains why Jason Mraz was on the soundtrack to our video of Rad's snapshots from Day 3 (Wednesday)...
click here for downloadable mp3 version

Friday, 25 February 2011

NEW video posts !!

Vita, Kat, Katie & Frank at the end of Day Three
NEW: a couple more videos from the rides on Tuesday and Wednesday:
- Day 2: Hills, Cars and Lunchtime
- Snapshots from Day 3 (Wednesday)
And you can now click here to read all the posts right from our departure on Monday: just scroll down to the bottom of the page then read upwards. Or you can read the whole blog from the very first post here.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Map of the whole route

Click on map above to see the whole route our group took around the Island... (just click the back button in your browser to return to this page)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wednesday evening: the last supper...

After a shower, a change of clothes and some nifty cooking by Frank and Amanda with a bit of help by Sue, everyone gathers in the Youth Hostel kitchen to celebrate the successful conclusion of our mission.

Snapshots from Day 3 (Wednesday)

Some snapshots by Rad taken in the course of Wednesday's ride, including the famous "Floating Bridge" across Cowes harbour - for the route on Day 3 see map above. The footage posted below of The end of the journey looks as if it took place in deep fog - but that was just condensation on the lens of Rad's camera. By the time the riders completed their circuit of the Island at the Yarmouth Harbour car park, the weather had actually brightened up a lot as you can see here. Unfortunately Tom was late with the minibus. Frank and Rad didn't bother waiting but headed back on their bikes to our base a few miles further on, at the YHA in Totland. Impressively hardcore !

The end of the journey...

Day 3: arriving back at the Yarmouth Harbour car park just before 5pm on Weds 23 February having achieved our goal of a complete 70 mile circuit of the Island by bike.

Setting out on Wednesday morning...

Start of Day 3: Wed 23 February

FRANK NICHOLLS: I think it's been okay apart from Rad lying about "hills". But apart from that, yeah, it's been really good. The trouble is that we had to come really far in the minibus yesterday to get back to the Youth Hostel, so we have to go really far in the minibus again again to where we start. That's why we've had to get up so early. Yes terday was tiring, really tiring - especially when Rad couldn't tell if it was uphill or downhill. For the people who've sponsored us - thanks, you've helped a lot of sick and premature babies. And if anyone else out there wants to sponsor‚ well, do go ahead !
RAD WAGON: We've done really really well on our tour so far. We've just got our last day today to come back across the flatter north side of the Island - having done the hilly part yesterday. Day one was really misty and we went very high up on a quite treacherous track, slipping and sliding all over the place - including into gorse bushes. But we did really well, despite it being rather slow and cold‚ and quite a few punctures. Day two we covered a massive distance, but luckily we had the whole day to do it and managed to get off and get going, and had a lot of fun cycling all the way up and down quite a few small climbs. And whatever some of the others might tell you about that, I'm not a liar - there've just been one or two differences of interpretation :-)
KAT ROBINSON: Day one was alright weather but then we went up this chalk cliff thing and that was really nasty. We had to cycle for miles and miles and miles up a really steep hill and all the chalk went everywhere and you couldn't really control your bike. But it was fun as well. We cycled 30 miles yesterday which was OK apart from Rad's downhil promise: he said "oh yeah, from here it's all downhill". Then we had, like fifty hills and we were like dying on our bikes and he was like "these are nothing!!" and we were like "yes they are!" Last night was really fun because everyone was sleeping in my room because we've got bunk beds and stuff. So - a bit tired today, but it should be good: we've only got to do twenty miles, apart from the fact that the weather today is not very nice. But we'll be finishing the ride, which is always a plus.
KATIE BRODERICK: It was cold and tiring but it was really fun. Sue made a really nice lunch, well actually we all made a really nice lunch, so yeah, it was fun. Day two was a lot more tiring but it was definitely worth it - I mean like nobody gave up or said they didn't want to do it anymore or anything. We did have a bit of a problem where half of us went the wrong way but we found each other again by the other road, so that was okay. Day three is going to be wet, I'm guessing. Apart from that I'm not really sure. I know the ride isn't as long as yesterday but I think it's going to be a little bit more cold! To the people who sponsored me - thanks!
VITA LERCHE: Day one was quite good, we got quite cold and wet going up, but it was a great way to start off and compared to day two it was nice and easy... Day two was really long, but I think the hills, because they were really long and not SO steep, I found them better than really steep hills which would have been harder. Today they say the wind's against us - that means it's going to be tiring for us to cycle, and I'm just hoping we can get through and do it, cos we're all pretty tired today :-(
AMANDA RANDALL: Day one was interesting and short - it was really misty and we had lots of steep climbs to do with lots of clay and bumps - Sue had an interesting encounter with a gorse bush, which was quite entertaining! Day two was long - and hills always seem to go up and never down. But it was fun, really good. Day three is looking damp but with enough chocolate bars it should be do-able!
SUE BREARLEY: Day one we did all the hard offroad stuff, so it was good to get that out of the way. Yesterday was a REALLY good day. Everybody rode really well - we did 33 miles, which is quite a lot of kilometers. The kids were all really cheerful - they all cycled really hard - everyone had a good time. Today's going to be a bt wet, so I think it might be physically a bit harder. But we've done the worst of the journey: there's only about 20 miles to go - and hopefully it's going to be reasonably flat today...
TOM ROBINSON: We've borrowed a big red Mercedes minibus from Wandsworth Community Transport, which holds all seven riders plus their bikes and packs. We've also brought our ten year old VW Caddy van as an emergency auxiliary vehicle. We're staying at the YHA at Totland Bay near Freshwater on the western tip of the Island. So I've been collecting everyone at the end of each day's ride, and driving them back to the Youth Hostel each evening, then out again next morning to resume their ride from the same point.

The four principal riders are Kat, Katie, Frank and Vita - all in their early teens - with three auxilliary adults to help navigate the route and keep them safe on their journey. I can't believe the cheerful energy of the teenagers. They sing at the tops of their voices all the way to and from every dropoff point, and last night treated us all after supper to a song and dance karaoke session followed by an energetic game of Empires (don't ask). Anyway I take my hat off to all seven riders - the cushy job falls to me: manipulating the minibus around the Island's twisty byways. Oh and spending the rest of the time editing pix and videos, then searching for an internet connection so as to be able to upload them to this blog. This usually ends up having to go via my mobile phone at glacial speed with only a couple of bars of signal. But blogwise at least we're hopefully getting there.

Thanks to everyone who's supported us so far. Do check out the link to First Touch - it's an amazing charity for an amazing unit at an amazing hospital. Despite all the meddling of successive governments the NHS is still an absolute treasure. All donations, however small, will be warmly welcome via our JustGiving page.

9am On A Rainy Wednesday Morning

9am at the Youth Hostel - about to set off on a rainy Wednesday morning: clockwise from top left: Frank, Kat, Katie, Tom, Rad, Amanda, Sue and Vita...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Lunchtime on Tuesday 12:47 pm

Day 2: Hills, Cars and Lunchtime

In which we learn that Frank likes sugar in his tea, that main roads and inclines are an unpleasant combination, that hills can go down as well as up, and what cyclist like for their lunch.

Tuesday: our first break at 11:30

Setting out on Tuesday morning

Day One started nice and easy along the old railway line (see The first five miles below) but then turned into a slippery, misty, uphill chalk scramble (see The next few misty miles...). It also brought several punctures. Tom drove out in the minibus and collected bikes and riders from the tiny hamlet of Mottistone, having covered 10 miles in their first day. Rest and recreation followed at the Youth Hostel. Next morning, after breakfast and bikewashing we all drove back out to the church at Mottistone. The departure takes 48 seconds in this video. In realtime it took a little bit longer than that...

The next few misty miles...

The first five miles

Monday, 21 February 2011

Arriving on the Island

Monday lunchtime 21 Feb 2011. Finally everyone meets up at the ferry terminal in Lymington, the crossing goes surprisingly quickly, the bikes all get unloaded and everyone sets off - also quite quickly...

Arriving at the ferry terminal

And they're off...

Kat, Vita and Frank have set off from South London with their bikes in the Wandsworth Community Transport minibus, and are due to meet up with Katie and Amanda (and their bikes) by Asda on the A3. Everybody's meeting Rad in Hampshire before we all take the ferry across to The Island. Tom stayed behind to upload video of the departure (sorry about aspect ratio!) and will be dashing off in our auxiliary VW Caddy to catch up with the others...

Sunday, 20 February 2011

First visit to the Island

Here's the video Kat posted in January of her first trip with Sue to check out the Isle of Wight ahead of this week's ride...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Watch Our Progress

Well, it's nearly upon us, we are due to start riding in less than 40 hours!

As with all these good things, we want to give you a good insight into our lives as we attempt the ride. So, photos and geographical info will flow, hopefully in good time!


We intend to send photos from the roadside showing us as we go Round the Island. They will appear here almost as soon as we take them!


Our progress can be seen in Google Earth by following the little bikes here! We hope to upload regularly, but bear with us as we have a number of technological hurdles to jump.

The main route is in red and alternatives in blue.

If you don't use Google Earth, can I recommend it! It is free and from this download spot. It allows a vast amount of useful geographical analysis (and fun!).

If you have Google Earth, you can download* the Google Earth Map (in KML) to see our route and play about with it (showing 3D mapping images, terrain data, elevation charts, etc) or simply download* our Google Earth Flyover to fly over our route in 5 minutes, something that will take us 2 days of cycling!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Last Week Training & Maintenance

Some last minute tips

For the last week before the ride, I'm doing three or four 10 mile training rides (these videos cover some of the route). I've been doing this for a few weeks in the hope that it'll help me get over the main uphill sections and keep me going during the longer days. There are some good general pointers about cycle training with this blog, although it is aimed at longer distance riders.

I'm not riding on Saturday or Sunday to preserve conditioning and return some blood sugar. I'm pretty much eating what I like right now, although not too much and a more protein-based diet. I'm typically with my "winter fat" which is never caused by Christmas (far too active!) but more by January with it's unerring bleakness.

I hope some of our younger riders will find it a bit easier than I do right now. Of course, I do have to shift a considerably bigger weight up those hills! Luckily we should get most of those out of the way in the first 24 hours of the trip.

Winter riding is always just a bit harder than Summer riding. Even Summer riding in the wet is usually nice. It's the ambient temperature that does it for me. Something about my legs feeling warmer that makes them work harder for less effort.

Getting the bike into proper working order is important. Cycling with even slightly flat tyres takes up to 20% more energy. That usually means it's more of a drag and slower to do everything. Ensuring the bike will stand 6 hours of pummelling means that the chain, cables, brakes, gears, wheels, and seat can all do with a check. For those of you who can't remember the camp last year was a good template.

A local bike shop should be able to do this well, but also there are some good self-help video sites now (including BicycleTutor).

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Funding Catch-22

So here's the problem: we need about four hundred pounds to pay for our minibus hire. we're using the bus to get us and our bikes out to the Island and then to transport people backwards and forwards to the beginning and end of each stage. it's just a bit too much money for us to pay ourselves. We've paid for our food and our ferry fares and a local company has generously covered the cost of the youth hostel - after the YHA had chopped a bit off the price to allow for the fact that we were doing a charity ride.

Obviously all the sponsorship money we are raising will go directly to First Touch, but we thought maybe a company with relevant interests might be persuaded to give us something towards the running costs. But all the big companies - Mothercare, Evans, Halfords - only give centrally, not locally. They all have specific charities or events which they support exclusively and they don't respond to individual requests. On the other hand the smaller businesses - our lovely local cycle shops - are sympathetic and supportive but have no money to spare. Catch 22!

Does anyone have any ideas?

First Touch T shirts have arrived!

We've just received a big package of T shirts from First Touch for us to wear on the ride! When it stops raining here we'll take a couple of photos so you can all see how glamorous we will look.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Interview for Isle of Wight Radio

Sue talked to Heather McCallum on Isle of Wight Radio on Monday and recorded a short interview about the ride. It should be broadcast next Tuesday (15th Feb) at around 3pm