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Saturday, 9 June 2012

The kindness of strangers - Day 1

If this blog post makes no sense then blame 73 miles of cycling and an unscheduled steep climb into Lanark that added 10 miles and an hour onto our journey. The fiddle factor of getting out of Glasgow was a fiddle and did entail stopping, map checking, asking for local knowledge so the cycle speed was slow.

Click here to see 66 miles of the 73 before the phone ran out of battery.

The crowds were out in force along the route - sadly not for us but for a couple of Town Galas.  Having consulted with 2 people from Carluke, who donated £4, we set of towards the haven of Carstairs Junction where we were to join a cycle route.

Having come down a long hill on the B7056 we discovered we had, in fact, gone the wrong way along the B7056.  There ensued a 'domestic' with Nic point-blank refusing to return up this very long, long hill and Philip reluctant to continue the descent.  First points to Nic as the team headed into Crossford on the river Clyde and stopped at another T-junction to consult the map - again.

Ben came to our rescue and pointed us in the direction of Lanark, warning us of an 'uber' hill into Lanark.  Instead of the team tipping Ben, Ben donated £10 - Top Man!

Mark and Alan came to our rescue as we contemplated the 'uber' hill from the safety of the bridge over the Clyde.  Offering to see us back onto our intended route there was suddenly no escaping the climb.  Jake was awesome up he chugged, aged 12 with 2 panniers on his bike accompanying 2 adults on their unencumbered road bikes!

They stayed with us until 4 miles before Biggar and were complete stars, reuniting us with the intended route and helping us to pick up the pace as Jake and Philip bowled along through beautiful countryside chatting away and Nic huffed and puffed with any leg strength completely dissipated by Lanark, not enough training and probably not enough water.

9:00 Departure from Hampden

Alan and Mark - Are you sure you wouldn't like
to do another 1200 miles?
Stunning countryside and a great cycle route (once found).

At Winkston Farm in Peebles  - they understand cyclists (what a great shower) and very yummy biscuits in the room too.

Chuffed but tired & Nic sunburnt (stupid) but another interesting day beckons so Goodnight.

Friday, 8 June 2012

All thoughts of rest on our last day in Glasgow evaporated but we had a fantastic time and met some great people.

The day started with a photo shoot, arranged by Sarah from Holiday Inn and Mary-Jo. Lewis seemed to quickly appreciate that, when dealing with non-photogenic subjects, the answer is to take as many pictures as possible and hope that one comes up trumps.  Craig, from The Daily Record also seemed to work on a similar principle.  Let them talk for long enough and maybe there would be a sentence that makes sense.  All the fuss prompted £1 donation from a hotel guest. The proof will be in the reading, i;e do we make The Daily Record, given all the excitement of The Olympic Torch Relay coming to town.

As the excitement of being interviewed was ebbing away, Philip decided to get things going again by spectacularly falling in the foyer of the hotel.

Next excitement was the meeting of a giant Corgi 'Destination London 2012 Taxi' in Buchannan Galleries..

There was an instant bonding between Jake's Road Cycling mascot and it's big blue brother Track Cycling.  How amazing to be in the same place at the same time as the only full livery Destination London 2012 Taxi Cab outside London!

The day didn't stop there - on to the famous Renee Mackintosh Willow Tea Room for a slice of gingerbread and a cup of tea to be engaged in conversation with a fellow charity fundraiser from Ohio.  The charities were recipients of £15 from a chance meeting in a tea room - wow!

Then on to the Torch Relay City Celebration in George Square.  Photo opportunity with a torch...

and large Olympic Rings

Before the highlight of Jake's day, the lighting of the big cauldron on stage followed by - Eliza Doolittle on stage - swoon!

The day has ended with the first QR code reader - a Business Studies student from the University donating £1. 

Memorable day on many fronts - too tired to cycle tomorrow?!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Prologue 1 - Hampden Park, Bannerman High School

Thank you Glasgow, we've had an amazing day!

We commend Glasgow Holiday Inn Theatreland breakfasts! After an unscheduled gathering of pyjama-clad hotel guests on the pavement outside the hotel this morning (the fire alarms work and so does the evacuation of the building).  This was followed by Jake having a nosebleed.  So, pleased to report that the status quo was returned by toast, bacon and mushrooms!

We headed off to Hampden Park early enough, over the Clyde on a very splendid pedestrian suspension bridge and then somewhat higgledy piggeldy to Hampden Park.  Note to Glasgow City Council (need more signage for Hampden Park - not everyone has Sat Nav.)

Two lovely ladies on reception introduced us to Alex Hall who was our brilliant guide for the morning.
Jake's first glimpse of  Hampden Park
Home to 8 Olympic Football Matches
Most northerly London 2012 venue
What a great place, it was incredibly clean and fresh looking for 13 years of service and Jake loved the museum.  Best of all was standing pitchside - let's hope there's a great turn-out for the Olympic footballers because Alex said it's a really good noise when the crowd get going.

Now there's an interesting kit!
Oh, and we mustn't forget that Jake's mascot, the 'Destination London 2012' taxi cab came along for the ride too.  The Corgi taxi fits in exactly with our ride.  So here it is at Hampden Park, Glasgow ready to depart on stage 1 of it's journey home to London.  Jake's got the Road Cycling taxi but there are lots of different Olympic and Paralympic sports to chose from check them out here: Hornby.

Whilst at Hampden Park we got a telephone call from Rob Ross at Bannerman High School inviting us over to meet some of the current pupils as well as some of next year's intake visiting the school on an induction day.

This was the second appointment of the day where we arrived bang on time!  Let's hope this is a precedent we can live up to - don't hold your breath!

Rob Ross was a great host and Jake really enjoyed meeting the pupils.  We had the opportunity to meet a wide range of future talents in psychology, architecture, games programming, midwifery and tattoo art to name but a few.  Jake also found a bike buddy in Ben.  Ben really enjoys his mountain biking and so it was a  great connection.

Pupils current and future at Bannerman High School

Rob Ross doing our promotional work for us - Thank you!

Jake and Ben the mountain biker.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Glasgow Here We Come

Ready or not here we go.  (We're not ready!)  Still cutting up bits of maps, still trying to understand Jake's Garmin birthday present, still trying to get a school in Newcastle to get on board and still wishing we were fitter..

Bed late, up early, greeted by a policeman at New St. Station.  No, we weren't parked in the wrong place but he had spotted the 3 bicycles (not difficult as they were covered in bright yellow panniers) and was offering us an opportunity we couldn't miss...Secure Code our bikes for free!  (twitter: @safertravel)
Is this your vehicle, sir?
Thanks to the police at Birmingham New St. our bikes
can now be traced if they go missing
It was a rather opportune start to a surreal day.

The concourse at Birmingham New St. station.  Nicky, Network Rail had really put in a lot of effort on our behalf to maximise publicity for bikewithJake ; posters,messages and announcements!

Elaine, Amanda, Katie and others from Action for Children were there to support us and they'd brought along a friend....Craig.

Craig was equipped with a camera, an i-pad and a strange, grey, hairy candyfloss on a stick - he was armed and extremely dangerous - he was about to commit our adventure to videotape.  Craig was from Central News and he worked really hard to get some usable film to put out at 6:00pm.  His dedication knew no bounds as he gingerly volunteered to film Jake & Philip pedalling towards New Street whilst riding Nic's bike. Camera in hand he set off - he managed a few feet before stopping and asking for a lower gear- there weren't many left, he was already in the 'Granny' ring.

Elaine being interrogated by mouldy candyfloss
and its accomplices Craig & Nicky
Our amazing day got more bizarre with Jake taking a seat in the train driver's cab and the passengers being informed of Jake's charity bike ride.

Arrival in Glasgow was a breeze and we were met by Sarah and Alan at Holiday Inn Glasgow Theatreland who couldn't have been more helpful and friendly.  Olympic fever has really arrived here as 3 staff members will be carrying the torch over the weekend.  We met Maureen, running at 7:30am on Saturday, when she and Ann came to sort out a bed for Jake. Maureen is a fundraiser for charities supporting children with Autism and has had local connections with Action for Children.  

Busy, busy day - lots of lovely people, lots of goodwill, what a great start!  

Oh, and thanks to Ellie and Andrew for their £50 donation via the virginmoneygiving site!

Jake's blogging his diary here www.bikewithjake2012.blogspot.com so see what he has to say.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Just a quick thank you to Sean Taylor who became our 150th follower on Twitter.

Many thanks to everyone who is following us by whatever means we are extremely grateful.  Please keep it up through our challenge - we appreciate it very much.

Right, folks time to sign off for the last time before we land in Glasgow and set off on our adventure.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Access Sport through BMX

Access Sport run many projects that encourage children in urban areas to take up BMX cycling.  On Friday, team bikewithJake got the opportunity to see just why this is such a fantastic idea.
Are you ready to have fun?
 It really was this kind of day....