The Iconic Marble Arch in London’s West End. Completed in the 1830s and a little reduced in size (and cost!) from the original design, this monument once stood at the entrance to the then, newly built Buckingham Palace. When Queen Victoria sat in the ‘big chair’, she soon realised that Buck House wasn’t going to be big enough and had the whole place extended (more than just a conservatory and a bigger kitchen methinks!). As a result of the this, the Arch was dismantled and relocated to the top of Park Lane at the end of Oxford Street.
It’s from here on Monday 29th April, I’ll be wheeling off once again in a bid to cycle to Montpellier in the South of France. All being well, I’ll be dipping my toes in the Mediterranean on 10th May after 11 days and 820 or so miles of pedalling. The route will initially take me out of London and southeast through Kent to Folkestone for an overnight stop (70ish miles). The following day will be a quick 10 mile sprint to Dover to catch the Ferry to Dunkerque. After a breakfast of pastries and coffee ‘à bord le bateau’, I’ll then have a refreshingly flat 65+ miles to a little town southeast of Lille. More details on a daily breakdown of the route can be found by clicking here
Some of you that followed the blog last September would’ve read that I came to a reluctant halt and had to abandon the ride due to a knee injury after 260 miles. So here I am again getting prepared to do battle once more. Anyone that didn’t read it, I think if you scroll down on the blog page, you can enlighten yourself there. It wasn’t all bad and there were some laughs!
The knee took a while to get 100% right but I’m glad (and relieved) to say that it is now 100% and stronger than ever. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and looking back now, I was ill-prepared and hadn’t done anywhere near enough training. The injury happened a week before I’d even left London and together with 70+ miles on a loaded bike and strong headwinds, it was bound to go wrong somewhere (that somewhere was a bus shelter in a village in Eastern France!).
Also, the bike, was only a few months old and I hadn’t covered anywhere enough miles on it. It performed OK and it couldn’t be faulted. The problem was really the bloke perched on top of it! However, since then I’ve invested time and money in getting a ‘bike-fit’. The bike is now correctly set up and after a couple of hundred miles, I’ve settled into the new riding position and for the first time, there’s no aches, pains or pins and needles. And, as a bonus, there’s much more available power going through the pedals now (handy for the hills!).
Its all for Charity! The UK’s Brain Tumour Charity will be sole beneficiary of any funds raised and so far. So far, via the JustGiving site and cash donations, there’s already over £1250 in the pot so many thanks to all those who have donated so far.
So, between now and the end of April, there’s plenty of miles to get in locally to get my ageing legs into a state to pedal 70+ miles a day, everyday across France. It’ll be easy in places I’m sure and tougher in others. I’m under no illusions on that front but after reading the accounts of some people who are or have suffered from Brain Tumours, the discomfort of propelling two wheels and a bit of luggage across France really isn’t anything worth remarking on. The courage shown by these people on a daily basis is extraordinary even when, in some cases the prognosis is nothing but bad.
So, 29th it is! 11 days, 800+ miles, One Bloke, 2 legs, One Bike and a fistful of Euros for them french bakeries!
Thanks for reading folks and if you want to throw a few pennies in the pot, you can by clicking here
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