This is the third one of these i’ve done. At the end of each of the previous two I’ve sworn i’ll never do it again, and yet just over a year later I find myself already planning the next. Each of the previous rides has been relatively small in comparison, less than half the distance of #1000milesforhumphrey and a fraction of the days. So why on Earth are we doing another one? And why this? Well, in short, it’s all Tim’s fault.
Tim forms approximately 90% of my social life. Two kids, and a wife working nursing shifts, doesn’t leave a lot of free time or flexibility. But somehow I manage to get down the pub once in a while with Tim, and that’s where the trouble starts. A couple of months ago (and a few beers in) we were deconstructing the last two rides, and the seed was planted to do something next year. The stars seemed aligned: Harry would be discharged from care, that would be with one ride every two years, and it would seem a nice way to say goodbye to the hospital that had done so much for me and my family.
But we realised it needed to be properly crazy. Once people realise you can ride back from Paris, Lands End doesn’t seem like such a challenge. If you can ride 400 miles then 500 just doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that make people want to dig deep for the charity (my cynical theory is that people are paying to see me suffer, kinder souls might suggest that sponsorship tends to match the effort they think you’re putting into it). We also wanted to make this more inclusive. We’ve had the same team of three riders on the past two challenges, with varying supporters who could help (Craig, Marc, Chris, Rob and Roxi, you’re still all amazing), and expanding it would make the logistics more difficult, so it needs to be big enough to justify that commitment from the people doing it and helping. With all that in mind, “1000 Miles” was born, three or four pints in to an evening in The Old Plough. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.
We quickly went through major cities or landmarks in our heads that might be the right distance. It seems important that people realise how far we’re be riding (or how stupid we are) and settled on Barcelona after a couple more beers and maybe a whisky. Spain and France have a decent chance of reasonable weather, we know people in the areas we’ll be going through, and riding through France last time was gorgeous!
Since that slightly boozy night, we’ve ended up with a team of 12 individuals riding or supporting crossing 1000 miles and three countries to raise the Children’s Hospital Charity some funds, as a final goodbye and thank you for all the care they’ve given us. Two of the new riders have literally bought bikes so they can come along, people have already booked 3 weeks off work and my wife is becoming accustomed to the hum of a turbo trainer drowning out the telly on an evening. Next week we’ll be doing the Manchester to Blackpool ride as a training group, which should give some of the guys a good idea of what a day next year might feel like. Here’s hoping we still have a full team this time next week!