Tour de Bases – a charity bike ride

Having told everyone, I guess I should announce my charity ride on my website too!

From Sunday 12 August, a friend (Dan) and I will be cycling 1000km over 7 days, in memory of my dad, and Dan’s mum who were lost to cancer. We will be starting in Newquay, Cornwall and criss-crossing the country until we reach Lincoln, Lincolnshire on Saturday 19 August.

We chose this route because it goes through all the English military bases my dad was stationed when he was in the RAF (the wife said a trip to Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean was out of the budget), and where Dan was stationed whilst serving in the British Army.

We are raising money for three important charities:

  1. Cancer Research UK – to help fund research so patients and their families don’t have to go through the pain of terminal cancer diagnosis.
  2. SSAFA – who support service personnel and their families (Dan’s choice)
  3. RAF Benevolent Fund – who do the same for RAF families (Marcus’ choice)

If you want to know more, you can check out our charity ride route, see more about the charities and possibly donate, view and interact with our social media updates, and follow us on a live tracker.

If you can spare a couple of quid, any donations would be gratefully received. We are funding the trip, so all money goes to charity. It helps us to keep turning the pedals knowing we’ve raised loads of money. Thanks.

Team Alpecin 2020

This is a bit late, but I think we’ve all got an excuse… so big announcement – I’ve been accepted as part of Team Alpecin for 2020.

I will endeavour to blog about my experiences over the course of the year. In this post I will introduce the team, the project and some of the effects of coronavirus.

What is Team Alpecin

If you follow cycling, you might have come across Katusha-Alpecin, a former World Tour cycling team, or Alpecin-Fenix, a new Pro-Continental team containing cycling biggest star (Mathieu van der Poel), or the adverts for Alpecin shampoo – “German Engineering for your hair”. Alpecin are a brand that have been deeply intertwined with cycling for a number of years.

One of the most interesting projects is their ‘Jedermann’ team of amateurs. The basic idea is provide normal people with professional standard kit, training and support, and see what the effect is over the course of a year.

What does that mean for the year?

The plan for 2020’s cohort was an initial team meeting in Bielefeld (Alpecin’s HQ in Germany) in March to meet our team-mates, undertake a range of fitness tests and bike equipment fittings, and workshops.

A few weeks later, we were meant to head to northern Italy for a week long training camp in the Italian Alps. Professional coaches would guide us through on- and off-bike exercises, nutrition, recovery and team bonding.

We would then be given an individual training plans to prepare ourselves for a range of events, culminating in L’Etape de Tour, this year from Nice.

Other events include the Frankfurt Radmarathon and Otztaler Cycle Marathon.

How does COVID-19 affect the year?

As with all best-laid plans, circumstances can take over. That meant no team meeting in Germany, no training camp in Italy, and lots of ambiguity about the events that might actually run.

I’ve booked lots of flights, and then cancelled a lot of flights… not helped by Flybe going into administration. There’s been a lot of watching for news, waiting for government announcements and trawling websites for information.

However, the guys who run the Team have been amazing. The whole year has been adapted to training and team-building online. When lockdown was at its most strict, we had group Zwift rides. We have also received regular ‘care packages’ of some amazing kit.

More recently, we’ve been having weekly team meetings on Microsoft Teams (stupid name, btw) with sponsors, coaches or just to have a chat.

We also have an active WhatsApp group where the whole team chat, share amusing stuff, ask questions and generally bond.

There is no point getting upset about a lost opportunity though, especially in the face of a virus that is devastating our society. Thousands of people have died, with many more severely affected. The world as we know it has changed, and cycling is not the most important thing right now, but it can also be an opportunity to change the world we are living in. Cycling might be one way…

What to expect

Over the next few months, I will be blogging about my training, the equipment I have been given/loaned, and my thoughts and feelings about the whole experience.

Hopefully, depending on what decisions are made about lockdown, there may be some event reports too.

Keeping Safe On The Roads

I saw this tweet.

Yep, I’ll just let you absorb that for a second.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Minister – the man who has overall responsibility for ‘getting people and stuff around the country’, has decided that one form of transport does not ‘count’.
Continue reading “Keeping Safe On The Roads”

My first Castle to Coast to Castle charity ride

I got my first road bike in November 2015, but niggly injuries meant I couldn’t really ride it until the Christmas break. Since then I have clocked up around 2000 kilometres in the saddle, and upped my distance from an initially excruciating 20km to well over 100km. Hills that initially destroyed me have been conquered, and ones I never thought I could climb, have been surmounted. Continue reading “My first Castle to Coast to Castle charity ride”