(In the words of Bum on Bike, Charles)
Reality has finally struck; the adventure starts after weeks of chatter. The only question in our minds is: have we done enough, can we ride the 1,000 miles in 12 days and will my body stand up to the pressure? We contemplate whether we will be ok on the hills climbing 55,000ft (which is the equivalent of trekking up Everest not just once but twice). A thought no doubt will have crossed each of our minds what happens if we let our co riders down and in particular all those people who have generously sponsored us. In reality, only time will tell and worry about it is not going to help us complete the task ahead.
6 months ago it was ago it was all too easy to enthuse about the concept over a rather good glass or two of red in a small but delightful restaurant near Oxford Street called Mac & Wild, one of London’s little culinary gems (more of culinary chat later). Training has been a challenge particularly with the long and heavy winter, which has been exacerbated by not being one for an indoor trainer. Not even ‘Designated Survivor’ or ‘Love Island’ can distract me from the monotony of NOT moving.
Journey to Land’s End
Never one to make life easy for myself, I decide to take the bike on train from Stowmarket in Suffolk to Land’s End plus part of my luggage which proved a heavy than expected backpack. I started off with a short 3 miler from home to the station, loading the Moda into the guards van. From Liverpool Street station cycling across town to Paddington but had not banked on Trooping of the Colour and gridlock around the surrounding areas. However, the joys of being on two wheels allows you to weave (carefully) through the stationary traffic but always keeping a beady eye out for a wayward tourist wondering at will looking in the wrong direction.
Finally after 5 hours on the train meandering through wonderful fresh English countryside to Penzance to mount my trustee steed for Cape Cornwall Golf and Liesure centre, a 8.5 miles predominately uphill. A great way to stretch ones legs after a long long journey and perhaps test whether the training has paid off.
What luxury to have such an amazing team organizing every aspect of the ride, the route the accommodation and support vehicles. We even have Steve the mechanic on hand to check and fix the bikes as we go and David and Tom riding with us to make sure we stay on route and on the straight and narrow. This really makes the journey very civilised although it does not take away the hard yards we will have to travel over the next 12 days.
Will we survive the first day, 93 miles through Cornwall climbing nearly 8,000 feet)? How will we drive as a group. What will the weather be like and will my bike measure up to the task. One can only be philosophical – what will be will be. My thoughts turn to a dear friend Chris , 2012 where we both discovered long distance road cycling but for Chris is was very personal as he was battling with Bowel cancer. His determination to beat the big C was encapsulated by “I’m not dying of cancer, I’m living with it”.
Using our ‘Culinary Credits’
Our resident culinary Bum on Bike – Charles, is known for his powerful hill climbs and his diverse palette. As part of this trip, he will be documenting the various restaurants each night giving the overall rating for each place.
1: Sore bum
2: Raw bum
4: Rosy bum
5: Peachy bum
If you are looking for honest pub grub look no further. Good food, warm welcome and friendly atmosphere. The menu is straightforward and is not trying to be something that it isn’t. The signature dish for me was the steak and ale pie, beautifully seasoned and a joy. I would also commend the whitebait. As a group of twelve cyclists (Bums on Bikes embarking on LEJOG to raise money for Bowel & Cancer Research), we tested most of the dishes and the motley crew was only full of praise. Thank you for a delightful evening.