Thursday, 22 November 2007


Having recovered fully from my trip I am now planning my next adventure. I shall rephrase that OUR next adventure. I am planning a sponsored cycle ride from Cardiff to Holyhead. This time it will not be a solo effort it will be open to anyone who can raise sufficient sponsorship. It will be open to fat and thin young and old so get training. Details to follow in the next 2 weeks.
Happy cycling

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Set off

in the mist and rain. It was a really painful start and I felt really deflated and sorry for myself. 50 miles to go and really struggling.

I left the back up crew of Aled, Robin and Al Bryn Gwyn to the mercy of the morning midges. Nothin worse than a midge in your pants first thing in the morning!!

The mist lifted at times and I struggled on mile after mile hill after hill and hill after hill after hill. The stops were frequent and long but I kept going.

Thurso came and Thurso went and the last 10 miles was flat and misty.I had quite mixed emotions when I got to John O Groats. It was a dump. Kiss me quick hats and nothing else really.

My emotions were very very mixed. The champagne didnt help. A welsh dragon flag had been sent up specially from Bala and I shall treasure this .

I must admit I did shed a little tear .


RIDE TIME 73 Hours 14 Mins



This BLOG is far from over. I have a few more pictures to add and I will divulge my plans for 2008 in the next week or so. SO WATCH THIS SPACE

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

并且末端现在是近 as sang Sinatra


Today was a suck it and see day. I had planned in the planning to finish without planning exactly when I planned to finish.!!!!!!!!!! If your still with me then read on. Last night my back up crew went on the town, well on the village and they woke up the campsite on the way home ( apart from me) I never heard a thing and slept soundly all night in my campervan.

Left them to strike camp and after kissing Gareth Alun goodbye( he was going home ) I set off through the village of Drumnadrochty heading North up the A833. I was very sore and found it quite difficult to get going. The A 833 was like cycling up the Aswan Dam and I was glad to stop halfway up to do a radio interview with Dafydd Du ( Black Dafydd)Nothing racial here he's white and from Llanberis!!!!!!!!

I continued North through Dingwall and on to the A9 where Aled caught me up with the camper van and we had a cup of tea and a cake. Robin and Alwyn were somewhere north of Inverness having got hoplessley lost!!!

Due to the traffic on the A9 a decision was made to go North on the B9176 towards Bonar Bridge.

This was a quiet country road without a soul to be seen. Good cycling, Big hills beautiful views and a sore ass. Well it was a donkey actually but what the hell.


Here we stopped for a spot of lunch!! We were passed by an LE Jones lorry and we waved and waved but he must have been a Polish driver !!!
From the village we could see two men cutting grass on the river banks opposite. One was flat out strimming for all he was worth. 100 yards downstream hi mate was literaly flat out.. lying on the bank sunbathing and having a fag(This has no sexual inuenndo i.e fag as in cigarette)

Following a very tasty ham roll and listening in on a woman ( mobile phone) who was giving her husband his household chores list for the next 20 years. I think she must have been reserve fog horn on Ramsay Island Lighthouse in a previous career. 2 more decibels and eardefenders would have been a health and safety requirement.

I still wake up at night in a cold sweat thinking of her poor husband.

Robin Penlan and Alwyn had turned up by now each accusing the other of navigational errors.

As is the motto of the Bala backside scratchers club it was now " Onwards and Upwards" along the A836.

This was a single track road and the traffic was light to say the least

This was real Bonnie Prince Charlie country but I couldnt imagine being very bonny with all the midges and flies around. Now were talking midges the size of golf balls and they seem to like damp dark places!!! no comments please!!

We were now talking" dont get stuck here on your own in the dark" country. The remoteness of the place was breathtaking. Or it could be the steep hills!! The only dwelling I saw for miles and miles was Crask Inn and I didnt even stop for a packet of nuts! 1 house 1 pub I made a PLEDGE TO RETURN HERE SOON !!20,000,000,000,000,000 midges per square inch.From here it was fairly downhill all the way to my next decision making spot Altnaharra.500 yards as the crow flies ( yes even the crows have flies here) from the Altnaharra hotel I had my first puncture. Rear wheel... Aaaagh.

MY back up crew were now split up. 2 having gone on ahead to find a campsite, the motorhome at Altnaharra and me round the corner with a puncture. (No wonder the English defeated us at the battle of Cwm gwaun y badger in 1606).

Puncture repaired and onwards.

I was now tired sore and hungry otherwise everything was A1. The message came from the scouting crew that the A836 to Tongue was all uphill and that I should turn right at Altnaharra up the B873. Or turn Left on to the moors and get lost!!!

So off I went along the banks of the bonny Loch Naver............................. The milage for the day was now approaching 100+ and it was getting dark

Now comes the ""Fun"" part. The back up management crew had decided that we could not stop on the B871 in the middle of nowhere so they were going to "persuade me to continue for another 20 miles or so to the nearest campsite. In order to keep me going Robin Penlan was persuaded to join me on the spare bike for the last push. He did look quite athletic in my spare cycling shorts and pink jersey. I didnt mention it to him that I had worn that particular pair of shorts for a week!!!!!
We cycled off into the gloom towards the Scottish North Coast.
Robin is obviously a natural cyclist and he pushed the pace up to around 18 mph ( downhill)
The midges and flies were awesome and I must have swallowed thousands of them. I kept thinking there must be a way to compress midges to form midge swizzlers or burgers or even midge sausages.
We cycled on through the dark and It was only the company of Robin that kept me going( Its a man bravado thing they say !!!!)He was like a demon on two wheels.We kept going on and on untill we got to Bettyhill. The hill into the town was extremly steep and this served to prompt a near coronary for my travelling companion. I had visions of changing the name of the village to Robinshill in memorium. We camped that night with the sound of the crashing waves of the North Sea and the zzzzzz of midges in our ears. During the night it blew a gale and we almost lost the tent and two of the back up crew into the sea. I spent most of the night awake thinking of tommorrow and the last 50 miles. I didnt really want this to end although I was very sore and aching all over.The back up crew spent the night imitating paragluiders trying to hold down the tent in the gales!! I lay in bed sniggering

Monday, 24 September 2007

DAY 9 Obesa cantavit

Ardlui to Loch Ness

Omnibus edition

Having spent the night alone in the camper van I awoke fully refreshed. Aled and Gareth Alun my two new back up crew had volunteered to spend the night in a tent in the company of 2,000 midges,2 frogs and a rabid dog and woke up in the morning covered in a fierce looking rash.They had faces like 2 slices of Brawn. I left them to strike camp and faced the usual first 10 miles of agony before settling down to a steady pace. My intention over the next couple of days was to cycle as long as I felt like it and didnt have any definite stopovers planned or indeed when I was actually going to get to John O Groats. Thursday lunchtime was my deadline.

First part of today was to be the A82 up to Fort William.I was very wary of Glen Coe and the Ben Nevis mountain range that lay ahead.Names like Black Mountain gave me visions of cycling up the side of a house. It was a beautiful day and apart from the physical discomfort( I was now wearing 2 pairs of cycling shorts and enough cream to supply the maternity wing of a general hospital)The road climbed steadily and was not proving too streneous and I was very pleased with the bike as it seemed to cope brilliantly( Even the falling off pedal was now staying put)On reaching Tyndrum I realised what this area was like during the winter as there was a gate there that could be used to close the main road if there was too much snow. There were also 8ft high poles along the side of the road to help the snowploughs keep to the tarmac.The climbing was now more than steady but I was amazed at my progress. First stop of the day was the Bridge of Orchy. And that is all it was , a small stone bridge and nothing else.

I was overtaken by a couple on a bike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A friend of mine lives about 3 miles down the road from Afon Orchy so I called him up to "suprise" him and his family... he wasnt home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The road from the bridge of Orchy on was a steady climb, very bleak and desolate but with fantastic mountain views. Passing Loch Tulla up a very steep climb I was met at the top by a herd of wild deer with a giant stag in charge with awesome antlers. They were quite happy accepting snacks from passers by.
A large cross eyed doe gave me a wink but I cycled on knowing she was only after my chip choc cookie.(They are all the same)

Pit Stop at Glen Coe

The route down from Glen Coe was extremly fast and I didnt really have time to appreciate the scenery( another time!!)It was the a gentle cycle along the banks of Loch Linnhe to Fort William.I had previously sailed up this Loch during the 3 peaks Yacht race and it was good to see it from a different angle. The Corran narrows looked really narrow and many an hour had been spent trying to sail through this narrow bottleneck.

Fort William brought me and my trusty back up together and we had a long pit stop to discuss tactics and drink tea. Gareth Alun took some time out to do his shopping!!!

Milage so far today was 60 miles and since I was feeling well and the backup were keen to push on and see the sights I decided to carry on and take the day hour by hour.Little did I know that it was the World MTB Cycling Championships and that soon I would end up in the middle of thousands of professional cyclists!!!!!Well tummy in and look the part.The squeaky pedal was a bit of a giveaway!!!

The rest of the afternoon was spent more or less running( well cycling) in a NEly direction along the A82. It was very scenic with mountains and Lochs and mor mountains and Lochs.

The climbing was very steady from Fort William and this was the furthest North I had been ( apart from in a sailing boat). At Spean Bridge I stopped at the Commando Memorial. It was a very quite and serene place and I sat there for a while thinking about the men that had trained and survived in this wildernes . It really seemed to me that I should be ashamed of myself for moaning about a bit of saddle sore bum syndrome and a dodgy hip.We owe these men a lot and in fact I seemed to get some new stamina from somewhere after spending a few minutes at this spot and putting what I was doing in context with the effort of others.I was still thinking about the Commandos when I was rudely awakend at Fort Agusta by the greeting" Where you going you fat bar steward" It was the back up crew having a spot of tea at a roadside cafe. !!!I reminded them that I worked for the Event Commission and not as a Bar Steward!!

NO CYCLING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was now early evening and we decided to look for a campsite as I was getting rather tired and a bit wobbly. I found this to be the case over the last few days as I seemed to lose concentration on the cycling and would wander all over the place. Not the thing to do when in the company of Hgv's Buses and mad postmen in camper vans.It was getting dark as I got to the campsite on the banks of Loch Ness at Drumnadrochty. Tired, sore but worried. There were more back up crew on the way... Robin Penlan Roberts and Alwyn M Eisteddfod Roberts.. Gulp Look out Scotland

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

DAY 8 ABINGTON to ARDLUI ( Loch lomond)

" And here is the shipping forecast for............. wet and windy!! And didn't I know it.. had rained and blown all night( rain outside wind inside the camper van ( Hugh Charles was suffering from a little flatuence I believe!!)

It was a miserable morning and again I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. Following my usuall cereal and bannana off I went with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp.It was the usuall morning struggle for the first 10 miles untill the cream, poultrice,tablets, potions, pills and ointments started working. The road was again the brilliant B7078 traffic free and fairly flat.The "back up crew of 1 had a lie in this morning and gave me a 2 hour start hoping to meet up in Larkhall just south of Hamilton to plot how we were going to tackle Glasgow !!!

The morning weather improved dramatically and the world seemed a brighter place and the cycling was really getting into a mean rythm.

Rolled into Larkhall and aftera cuppa and some cake and a lenghthy route planning trip we decided to go our seperate ways and meet up 25 miles later north of Glasgow.

I thought this was a good idea.... Stupid boy Pike.

A word of warning to budding navigators... It is not easy to navigate through the streets of Hamilton and Glasgow with two pages ripped out of a £1.99 AA 2001 Road Atlas.I got lost on numerous occassions and the "stop go pull out the map put on the glasses" routine was getting as stale as Dilwyn Pierce's jokes. The people of Hamilton probably think its a lovely place.....

I followed the A 724 as best I could but it was a real nightmare, names like Cambuslang, Rutherglen will haunt me forever. In fact I went through Rutherglen three times. Once from the West once from the South and once from 2 points abaft the beam. ( This is a nautical term as is shiver me timbers, pieces of eight, splice the mainbrace and is all that your ownBosun!!)

A lot of navigation was now by instinct and I followed a bus for a while with City Centre written on the back of it. It took me straight to Glasgow Bus depot where I noticed it had " Out of Commission written on the front!!!!!!!!!!!! Och
Following heavy traffic I suddenly found myself at traffic lights with no traffic at all.!!!! Nothing. It was like a Burnley National Milk Bar during Ramadam..... and then as if in a Benny Hill show I was engulfed by thousands of women wearing pink brassiers and trainers.. all taking part in the Glasgow Charity half marathon. Entering into the spirit of things and not wishing to seem a party pooper I cycled on regardless much to the amusement and bewilderment of the course marshalls. I crossed the finishing line 5th in the Double D Cup.

Finally exhausted after my encounter with the brassiered women I found the Glasgow to Loch Lomond cycle path . This was abeautiful well planned cycleway running along the banks of the Clyde with exellent views of the city. All was going well and I even had time to ponder as to the whereabouts of Hugh Charles and the Camper van. I prayed that he had not come across the ladies in their pink bras otherwise I might never see him again.

I then hit Clydebank.. Ouch. The old Glasgow dock area was being re built and the cycleway dissapeared amongst the rubble. This area brought back memories of when I was last here in 1973 loading Whisky aboard a cargo ship bound for the Persian Gulf. I was 17 at the time and was the dedicated Security Officer for the loading. I still have a vauge memory of the Glaswegian terms I picked up... " Can yor mama sow? well get ere to stitch that!!! " Do yer knw the way to the nearest infirmary?? and "You can't catch a Kangaroo with a wooden leg! ( or was that Sydney?).

I followed the Clyde as best I could and finally made contact with the support. When I mentioned the racing ladies Hugh Charles told me that he was on his way back to find them!! We made arrangements to meet up in Dumbarton for a spot of tiffin!! It was very nice to pass under the Erskin Bridge and I felt at last I was in Scotland .I even felt I had a tilt in my kilt.

The little Chef at Dumbarton was very emotional. ( his dog was ill!!)
No I mean it was very emotional for Hugh Charles and me at the Little Chef Car park. It was changeover time amongst the backup squad. It was a change of shift at Nasa Mission control. Hugh headed off into the dusk in a black Bmw which Aled and Gareth Alun had driven up in ( Thanks to Hugh at Moduron Llanuwchllyn ). His garage motto is "ceir da rhad a ceir da rhad" Translated roughly as "Æþùð ÐÇœŒŽ‡ƒ &œ‡¥¥3 rhad"
I let Hugh to pass on the legacy of Nia and do a bit of staff training with Aled and Gareth Alun. The back up was increasing now as we had a camper and Alun had his own car for scouting purposes.
The rest of the afternnon I cycled up the A82 along the banks of Loch Lomond, through some beautiful countryside. The road surface was poor and the road narrow and traffic heavy but what the hell!!! WE stayed the night at a tiny village called Ardlui ( we actually found it was only a pub and a campsite nothing else) I had a good nights sleep right on the banks of Loch Lomond ( Gareth Alun and Aled slept in a tent amongst the midges)
It had been a good day and I was in Scotland
RIDE TIME 7 hrs 15 mins ( stop go stop go all day)
PROBLEMS ..., sore body, getting lost, navigation, women in bras, weak bladder syndrome( a worry in built up areas)


Tuesday, 18 September 2007

DAY 7" And on the seventh day............."


A6 to Carlisle runs side by side with the M6. A fantastic road for cyclist although the long long straight bits can be daunting.( Flat but daunting)

Some quite little villages like Low Hesket, High Hesket, Little Hesket, Big Hesket and Fair to middling Hesket.

Carlisle was done with in a flash and then it was cock up time. Junction 44 M6 i.e the End of the M6 I turned off one exit too early and ended up on the A74 which really is a motorway in disguise.With the on going roadworks there was no hard shoulder so I had a narrow 2ft wide strip to concentrate on.

My thanks should go here to the driver of a National Holidays Coach who tried his best to give me a free lift!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was the worst 5 miles of cycling I had ever encountered. Warning to all KEEP OFF THE A74. I was very sore and painful but I managed to speed up rather quickly to get off this stretch of hell.

Hugh Charles was left a bit breathless when he overtook me in the fast lane.And a bit concerned !!

Hugh Charles with one leg in Scotland one leg in England and one hand on a Pole!!

Next stop was the famous Gretna Green and I asked Hugh Charles to marry me.!!

Och aye and we got to Bonny Scotland at last and enjoyed a massive scots breakfast ( a bucketful of porridge)

Next came the best kept secret in cycling the B7076. Following the M6 all the way up Crawford/ Abington.This was a fantastic road and we only passed half a dozen cars all afternoon. The cycling was a bit of a problem and the pit stops were very numerous due to the weak bladder syndrome which was becoming a worry. By now I wasnt sure if it was the peddle dropping off or something worse!!

This was a fantastic road and I only wished that I felt well enough to enjoy it. Every mile was quite painful but we kept on rolling on.

The first caravan site chosen for the night was not really very welcoming although we could have had our palms read and had baked hedgehog for supper.!!

We decided to carry on to Abington and found a fantastic camsite highly recommended with brilliant showers/ toilets etc.Probably one of the best sites on the whole trip. Went down into the village for supper but I was not really hungry so I gave it a miss.Did not even finish my beer so things were not rosy in the garden tonight.


Ride Time 6 hrs 15 mins

Punctures 0

Problems Physical and mental fatigue. Should really have taken a day off today.

Monday, 17 September 2007


After an early morning Chat with Brian I left the hospital and set off in early mist( Thick fog actually) and light ( Heavy actually) rain along the A565. Busy road but made good time.The first 10 miles of every day were getting to be painful, but today I stopped in a cemetery to have a conversation with Jonsi on Radio Cymru( Welsh Language radio station) and felt better afterwards. Still not sure if it was the effect of Jonsi or just the realisation that I was in a cemetery and I was the only one there that was able to walk out the gate.

Its funny what goes through yor mind when you spend up to 8 hours cycling.
Passed a small village called Potatoes and it was twinned with Pommes de Terre!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you breathe out of your nose and mouth at the same time?

In the song, "She'll be coming round the mountain" who is she?

Why do dogs walk around in circles before lying down?

How do flies actually land on a celing?

Up the A59 into Preston and looking for the A 6. O yes I found it no problem.. O yes I was going really well. O yes I WAS LOST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Took the A 6 South... and detoured to Clayton le Wood.( 10 mile detour).Back to Preston and this time headed north Aggghhhh.

It was well worth finding, the A6 was very quite and fairly flat and with Hugh Charles( Makes a mean cup of tea) really settling in to his minder role the day went fairly quickly and fairly struggle free. Stopped outside the Rugby Club in Kendal to prepare for the longest climb so far up Shap.If it was training night we would have had a light run out with the boys!!!!!!!!! not

Leaving Kendal the road(A6) just kept on gping up and up and up. A nice cycle through some very isolated countryside.( Pedal fell off again)

The problem with the lack of pre toilet stop warnings were becoming an issue and when in 2 pairs of lycra cycling shorts and 1 being a bib and brace type affair 5 seconds warning was not enough to a) find a suitable quiet lay bye b) Percy to porcelain point.

Last laybye before the main Shap climb Hugh Charles spotted a camper van for sale and was quite interested but couldnt get him in through the door .. So we left it.

This memorial should give you some idea of the bleakness of the place.

The day was not done. Cycled down to Penrith and struggled to find a campsite. It was getting dark by the time we found a place just north of Penrith.Wolfed down a massive plate of spaggetti for dinner and slept like a baby to the musical snoring of my "minder"

MILAGE 102 miles mostly up hill

RIDE TIME 8 hrs 15 mins

Average 12.5 mph


PROBLEMS Pedal kept falling off, Derrier cream was not working( really sore by now but at least it was taking my mind off my hip)

HIGH POINT SHAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!