Hello again,

It’s spring at last and the days are getting slowly longer and warmer. I thought it was time to tell you what has been going on recently as I approach my first cycle tour since some time in the 1980’s!!

The Teepee I’m waiting for has been delayed in production and the cycle I will ride is also late in delivery. This is quite normal and why I decided to ask for these early on. It guarentees I have them for the second ride in August. So, based on this, I’ve delayed the first ride for a few weeks.

I’ve been busy tracking down and buying the kit I need. Everything from stoves to waterproof socks. as well as the Teepee I chose for extra space, I’ve decided to take a Gelert Pod sleeping bag, despite the extra weight. I don’t know about you, but I hate the restriction of mummy type bags for more than a couple of nights. So, a big comfy ‘Pod’ is the answer with a silk liner for cold nights.

My health has been up and down, due to the powers that be trying to halve my income!! I’m fighting this the best I can with support from the Doctor and the Therapist I use. It means I have cut down the hard training so I can manage it, and the stress this is causing.

Despite all this going on, I managed a fifty miler this week in the cold and wind, and felt physically well enough to get on the bike the day after. I didn’t, but it’s good to know that I’m getting fitter. This ride was really tough, big, big hills and a strong cold wind on my nose for 30 of the fifty miles. A big patch of partly melted ice saw me doing something akin to a salsa dance on the bike with no idea how it stayed upright!! I was doing around 25mph at the time and it would have really hurt, lol.

Ebay has been a great source of kit and a great way to reduce my bank balance. Most of the stuff I really need was sourced from this great shopping mall. It’s really hard deciding what to use. If I was twenty something I would simply pick the lightest and be done with it. At fifty, it a different ball game. Broken back, ankles, two shoulder operations, removing bits of clavicle, and a double arthroscopy to remove cartelidge from my left knee have taken their toll over the years. I always joke that when I die, ny arms will fall off, my back will be in pieces and it will look like a ritualised murder!!

So, I’m, allowing for more comfort as that is the only way I will manage several months in a tent. Several waterproofs have been rejected in favour of a poncho type cycle top. It works well and protects my legs too. Waterproof socks are essential, and I found some really well made cycle tops for a song and a sweet little folding stool for comfort.

I bought some maps to cover the ride, 1:250,000 with great coverage per sheet. Shame I can hardly read them, even with my glasses on, lol. Back to the drawing board there. The iphone now has an App avaivlable that will let me download maps and the Sustrans Cycle Network. How cool is that? I will be able to use the built in GPS and charge it from the bikes dynamo.

Food still worries me. Moreover, shopping and cooking after a hard day on the bike, but I reckoning on a good old fashioned routine to get by this one, emulating what I do at home on riding days. The fear factor of what I am trying to do is looming. This is good, as it means I’m seeing it for what it really is, a long hard slog in a predominently wet country. Still, I have lots of time to have fun on the way, so that’s great.

Finally, it’s nearly time to launch the appeal for donations, so if you have any spare cash, spare a thought for this really worthy cause. I have the flyers and sponsor forms ready now and will start spreading the word on my first tour. See you in Cornwall and South Devon if your around. I’m the one on the funny folding bike pulling a trailer, with a ‘hippie’ style tent.