On Monday 23rd August 2010 I joined a conference bike for the Guildford to Southampton leg of it’s journey from John O’Groats to Lands End to raise money for Cancer Research UK (Details at http://www.cobiuk.com/).
I wasn’t sure about joining them as I’m not a cyclist but checking their website a few days before the event it seemed they still needed people for the Guildford to Southampton leg which was the closest to me. While I don’t cycle, I do have good legs from skating so I was hoping this would do me well and I didn’t like the idea of them having to do that leg with only two people so I signed up.
Details were exchanged and I found myself at Guildford station at 8am on a Monday morning. I didn’t need to worry about having enough people as it seemed we had 10 cyclists there with one more joining us on the way down. To spread things out more one of the pedals had broken which meant we were down to 6 riders on the half a tonne machine!
The first stretch out of Guildford was great fun. I met up with my parents on the Hogs Back and the lovely James Firth came and took some pictures as we came into Farnham where we stopped for a while to do media interviews and headed off again. As expected the pedalling was hard work, not because of the energy required but because of the cadence that you had to pedal, your legs had to fly around and I definitely wasn’t used to sitting while exerting myself which was very strange.
As we had so many people (and my bum was already sore) we swapped over people and I put on my skates. I did check first and everyone seemed fine with it (although I think I scared them a little by racing the bike down a hill on a dual carriageway). It was great fun skating along beside the bike, until the rain came, and did it rain! If I couldn’t ride the bike all the way I kinda liked the idea of at least going the entire way under my own power but on a very long hill somewhere along the A31 I had to give up and get in the van. The road was horribly slippery and I didn’t want to over do it and not be able to ride the bike later.
There is no need to give you a blow by blow account of the journey down, it was much as you expect, lots of pedalling but the conversation was good. We did a bucket shake in Winchester and got held up by a closed road only to be let through by a lovely old man who told the road workers we were coming to tea 🙂
In Southampton we had a lovely tour around the Cancer Research UK centre who had all stayed late and bought us pizza. I learned a lot from the tour and realised there was a lot more to Cancer than just a horrible word beginning with C.
In all it was a brilliant day and I learned a lot, not just about Cancer but about what is involved on doing such a huge journey. A HUGE thank you to everyone for a great day and an even bigger Well Done to the CoBiUK crew who have now completed their mammoth John O’Groats to Lands End trip.
Some pics and video I took on the day