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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

BOB Christmas charity gig

When we first floated the idea of doing a Christmas gig, we'd just arrived back from our Land's end to John O'groats adventure. The sun was still shining and it seemed such a long way off.

 Now it's just two weeks away and I'm almost bursting with excitement!!

Thanks to Jonny we now have an online ticketing service here

Friday, 11 November 2011

Save The Date - Christmas Gig

Save the date, our Christmas gig will be on December 1st at The Albany pub, Great Portland Street, London. Live music, xmas songs, support acts, seasonal treats, a great night...all raising money for Cancer Research UK. Help us hit our target of £10,000!

Monday, 26 September 2011

how the kit held up...

I mean't to do this just after we got back, but hindsight has softened my views on the failings that any of the kit had... I just think it's useful for anyone else undergoing a trip of this size to know what worked for someone else. These are personal experiences and not neccessarily BOB endorsements. The only kit we didn't pay for ourselves ended up being the Shutt VR Jerseys

 Kona Honky Tonk 2009 model

As an overall package this is fantastic all round bike. It held up without any real problems through rough road, high speed riding, light off road riding, hill climbing and riding in torrential rain on flooded roads. The gearing is a little high, and I found myself envious of Dan’s Charge Juicer with 3 front rings and mudguards, on a number of occasions. As complaints go that’s not really much is it. The bar tape and seat feel cheap, but do you know what, they work and are comfortable and hardwearing. I only needed to change the pedals and mount extras (pump, cages, saddlebag) to turn this into a proper lightweight tourer.

Shutt VR – Merino Cycling Jersey

I ended up wearing this for about 12 of the 17 days we were out. In the rain it kept me warm, in the sun it kept me cool. I had a backpack’s worth of stuff in the pockets, yet it still kept it’s shape. Mine was a gift from Shutt (we asked for kit and they kindly gave us a selection of samples as they were between seasons) and would have cost the same as my other shirts put together...however... In the end I could have managed with just this and a long sleeved top.

Bontrager Hard Case All Weather tyres 700x28

I pulled six shards of glass out of these the day before we left, numerous stones and thorns on the trip and not one puncture. Quite a hard ride but I had as much grip as I could ever expect in all conditions, on and off road. 1400 miles without a puncture. Enough said

Bontrager Classic Caps

A black technical one to wick the sweat from my head and keep the sun out of my eyes. A white merino one to keep my head warm in the rain. Both worked a treat. My trip would have been less comfortable by far without these.

Shimano – Sora Drive train, Pedals, Shoes

The only components I had problems with were all Shimano. The rear derailleur bent and the cleats in my right shoe broke when the pedal release mechanism seized. All fixable, nothing permanently broken. I was very unhappy at the time, but this is all entry level kit asked to do a 1,000 mile tour. Things break

B-twin bib shorts

£29.99 and the reason I still have a working bottom. A head and shoulders above the other shorts at this price, and the cheapest bibs I found.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Cancer Research

Last Thursday several of the BOB guys went along to the Angel building, in er... Angel to take part in a volunteers evening.

There was an inspiring talk by Tony Selman and a presentation on recent developments by the research team.

We got up and told our story, before playing a couple of songs. Thanks to @kaz_staff for the pic, and the support she brought whilst we were on the road. Good to finally meet you.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Watch this space

It's been a couple of long weeks since we returned from John O'Groats now. We have had a night out to reaquaint ourselves and discuss recovery and complain about being back at our desks.

Warren's article has now been published in the independent sister paper the "I", and is available as a text only story here

I'll try and scan it in so you can see it in all it's technicolour glory.

We are off to meet the guys at cancer research on thursday to talk to potential volunteers and fundraisers. Let's hope we inspire some more stupid pub ideas to become a reality.

Saturday, 13 August 2011


I'm afraid that due to the mobile reception and general feeling of weather fatigue we haven't managed to keep the blog up to date... Or in the right order.

3 days before the end of our adventure we pulled into invershin. Far and away the easiest gig to organise. The youth hostel had a roof based incident that didn't allow for our stay, so we rang the inversion hotel. Warren asked Cheryl if there was anywhere she could suggest locally to play. There was. The hotel itself.

From the warm welcome, the music playing in the bar, the suprising number of extremely talented musicians who turned up to play, this turned out to be a very special night for us all.

This is also the pub Shaun should have picked to escape the oncoming zombie hordes. (rifles, bear traps and superior food, drinks and snacks... Plus clear views from the top of the hill.)

Highlights for me me included...

A stonking version of fishermens blues (and copperhead road)

Beautiful violin playing

Teenage kicks...And psychokiller... Folk style

Snacks at midnight...

Sitting in the bar after the customers had gone home and singing a king of the road/I kissed a girl mash-up.

Being persuaded to stay up until 02:30am when most night we were in bed by 22:00

Thank you for a lovely eve Cheryl and Angus of the invershin hotel.

Friday, 12 August 2011

LEJOG Ride Completed!

Wow! We are done!!
17 days later, the 7 wet and cold bikers rode victoriously into John O Groats to be met by the fantastic support team who had a banner, baloons, lots of cheers and hot soup.

It has been such an amazing trip for all of us and now we start the process of gradually returning to normal life. As the buskers make their way back home, watch this space for photos, more posts and maybe some detail of a homecoming gig in London.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The journey to Loch Ness

Today we busked by a canal and cycled in torrential rain before arriving at the shores of Loch Ness.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Drouthy neebors gig

A fantastic night at the Drouthy neebors. Terry came along and gave professional help to Jonny who was suffering badly with his knees. Thank you Stirling.

Photos from facebook

These are on the facebook page, but they give a really nice overall picture of how the trip is going so far. These were all taken by Warren's parents on the first week of the trip.

From radio Cornwall, Exeter, Clun and Chester.

We're all tired but loving every minute.

New Lanark to Stirling

No gig last night, but a long 80 mile straight run up the side of an A road from Carlisle to New Lanark.

We stayed in a lovely B&B. All the snoring bikers in one room, with me and Jonny sharing a double bed in the Morecombe and Wise fashion.

Today Neil joined us for the 40 mile hoon over the 'hill' into Stirling. My legs refused to go up any gradient steeper than 10%. Tricky on a climbing stage of 2-3 miles but I managed without a search party being deployed. Just.

Sophie has joined us now so I'll have to stop complaining about the hills over lunch. Good to have her here, for obvious reasons, and we had moved in together about 2 days before I left for land's end!

Gig tonight. Tight schedule too. Eat, walk and play.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Carlisle Gig

Wow, we just finished playing at the Cranemakers in Carlisle and it was one of my favourite gigs yet. The pub at first looked a little rough around the edges, with it's biker group and pool tournament, but I quickly discovered it was full of some of the friendliest people we have met yet. Sam, the manager, had done a great job at promoting us including getting us on local radio, in the newspaper and putting up our posters. There was a good turnout for a wednesday night. Sam had put on some raffle prizes and the tickets sold well and he turned on the stage lights for us. How very rock and roll!

As we played through our set the atmosphere really warmed up and the crowd responded well to Warren's banter. There were some great sing-a-longs and people were very generous with their spare change (including the bar tips). A particular highlight was seeing a couple waltzing to "king of the road" and an impromptu rendition of "Postman Pat". At the end of the set we were joined on stage by Craig who did a couple of songs accompanied by the Buskers. His dad was so impressed he bought us all drinks. We were also joined by Tom who met us through twitter. He is cycling LEJOG the other way round and detoured into Carlisle to visit us. It was also lovely to be joined by Jenny and Jack, Brian's wife and son.

It was a really fun night at a lovely pub. Thanks for having us!

Journey to Carlisle and an early finish for once!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The ship inn, windemere

Latest adventures...

One of the great joys of doing what we're doing - apart, of course, from the nightly chorus of snoring, the neglected pants littering the back of the van and intimate conversations about cream for our sore undercarriages - is meeting a fantastic bunch of people along the way.

In Exeter, at the wonderful Bike Shed Theatre (or at least the very lovely bar underneath it), Dave, a local folk musician and songwriter who's just passed one of his songs on to Jackie Oates came along and played a blinding little set, with the kind of sparkling between-song banter that made me think of another folk great, Vin Garbutt. Not only did Dave treat us to a couple of his repertoire - he had also written a song especially for us. Fantastic stuff - we're hoping to get back in touch and get that little beauty committed to tape.

A stunning evening, too, in Chester, where we played at the Cross Keys pub. A whole team of local musicians pitched up to join us for a really special evening, the kind of night that was really what I was imagining for this trip - a whole load of folk knocking out some great tunes and knocking back a few ales (though, impressively I think, the Buskers on Bikes have been fairly sensible so far - anything over the 2-pint mark, and the wear begins to show the next morning... A huge thanks to Pam at the Cross Keys who organised a raffle that sent £100 rattling into the BoB buckets - and to the landlord, Kevin, like so many people on this trip so far, impeccably generous with his pub and with his donations...

Sandwiched between Exeter and Chester (albeit with a couple of non-gig days in between) was a rip roaring evening at The Sun in Clun. We've been massively lucky with the amount of people we've had showing up; almost every night has been packed to the rafters, and the mass singalongs are getting better and better. 'My Girl' and 'King of the Road' are taking on a life of their own, and the lads in general are starting to sound very sweet indeed.

There was so much that could have gone completely pear-shaped with this trip; thre was no way of knowing how we'd all react at having to get off our bikes after a long day in the saddle, jump in the shower, hoover up some dinner and then go and attempt to entertain our adoring fans - but somehow or other, it's worked out. In fact, the thought of a gig in the evening provides that little burst of adrenaline needed to help us through the (very!) long days. It's safe to say the whole thing is turning into a bit of a blinder...

That said, there's plenty more left to do. A gig in Windermere tonight (got to get going, actually), one in Carlisle tomorrow night, and some huge riding days coming up. Yesterday, in particular, was a killer, from Chester to Slaidburn in north Lancashire. A difficult route, and almost 100 miles on the clock.

But we're getting there, getting a little more tired, but getting a load of money and having a great crack...

More photos, more news, more silliness and stories to tell very soon...

Friday, 29 July 2011

Welsh Bicknor

Time seems to be flying by quicker than I had imagined it could. So far we have worked our way up all the way from lands end to welsh bicknor.

We've raced a girl on a horse, fixed several punctures, been to bike shops more often than I ever thought possible.

Tonight was a particular high point. After a day which became much harder than anticipated, due to bike failure and directions (from CTC) that didn't match the road layout, we arrived back to find another fine spread prepared by Richard. He'd already taken Neil to the bike shop when we had to phone him to drive back and get a breakdown. Before you could blink he'd prepared dinner, entrees and beer.

After a dinner in the courtyard we peeled off to sort out kit. Shortly after in the dying embers of the day we played music together quietly.

A beautiful end to a lovely day.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

What a way to start...

Three days in, some very sore undercarriages (must buy cream), and miles and miles of Cornish and Devonian hills left behind us, but nothing yet here about our first two gigs, a pair of rip-snorting affairs to announce the arrival of Buskers on Bikes and their very stupid tour of Britain...

First up, Sunday, the Star Inn in St Just, and what an incredible way to kick things off... Photos to follow (apologies - these are the vagaries of living life on the road!), but suffice to say that there were moments when the whole BoB crew considered jacking the whole thing in and nestling in the arms of this perfect boozer for the next two and a half weeks. As it was, good sense prevailed, despite the numerous offers of pints of incredibly good ale... We kicked off, a little tentatively at first, with five or six songs and then left it to the St Just locals to show us how it was done. We were even treated to a spot of Cornish dancing; and as the beer started to flow more freely, so did the willingness of the whole pub to bellow along with each song. Special mention must go Giovvana on the violin, part of a trio singing Cornish songs and leading mass singsongs; Graham with his rousing rendition of 'Blackbird'; and Eddie the Snake and his didgeridoo (yes, really). BoB, by this time in their stride, finished things off with a bang and regretfully packed the van up and waved a fond farewell to possibly the greatest pub in Cornwall, and definitely the greatest clientele... A huge, huge thank you to Jonny, Julia and Louise, not only for being so generous in handing over their pub to a complete bunch of strangers, but also for being so generous in running a raffle and giving, along with the rest of the pub, incredible donations to set the BoB buckets on their way with a healthy jangle. What a place.

What could equal that? Well, nowhere we thought, until we pitched up in the Warren House Inn just outside of Postbridge on Dartmoor last night (Tuesday). A very different affair in the sense that we'd just completed an arduous (but immensely beautiful) ride across the last of the Cornish Hills, through Plymouth, and then into the long climbs of Dartmoor. So we arrived just a little jaded; but it was nothing that a pint of Butcoomb ale and an incredible welcome couldn't fix. The Warren House Inn will always be remembered in BoB circles for the roaring fire burning brightly even in the height of British summertime; apparently, it hasn't been allowed to go out for the past 160 years. An absolutely wonderful tradition, but one that the Bobbers took a little while to get used to, particularly as we set up with our backs to the roaring inferno to kick things off. A bit of a shuffle to the set list tonight, but another cracking evening with a packed pub and another bunch of people more than happy to stet involved in a bit of a singalong. In fact, there's been plenty of discussion about building in a few more bellow-slings; 'Come up and See Me', 'Walk of Life' (with a great whistle-along) and, yes, 'Postman Pat' all seemed to go down a treat. A fantastic evening, another fantastic place... Massive thank you to Janet for her support and for staging a particularly fruitful raffle. We want to come back. Please.

Next up, tonight, at the Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter. Bring it on... More news to follow...

Monday, 25 July 2011

Arrival at St Just

'The buffet car is still open despite the attendant falling and cutting his head open.' I might give the sandwiches a miss then. Thankfully I'd come snack prepared.

The trackside signage has been giving me an insight into country life. 'Scats country supplies' for example. 'Mitchell and webber garage' is less helpful.

'But you do drugs mummy' piped the child in the seat behind. 'shhh!'

As we approach the youth hostel we descend into thick fog. A stark contrast to the sunny Penzance I must say. Biscuits, tea and a massive tuna sandwich later and we start to prepare for gig number one.

(A vocal warm-up to johnny cash in the van through the fog to the star inn in st just.)