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Monday, 28 February 2011

Hever Hike (52 Mile training ride),

Yesterday was our second training ride and we went out to the lovely Hever down in Kent. Five of us met at Brian's in Brixton in the morning who talked us through the route and then we set off for a 52 mile round trip.

As we rode out of London the scenery was really quite something and I was surprised by the number of other cyclist we saw. Everyone seemed so friendly and there was a real sense of community.

On the way out, we suffered a couple of technical issues. Brian's handlebars all but fell off which was an easy fix; and Warren's front derailleur stopped working which we tried and failed to fix. Neither of these caused us too much trouble and soon we had passed an iconic "Welcome to Kent" sign and passed under the M25.

After a couple of hours of very hilly riding, we were approaching our destination and rode past Hever castle, which looks just like a castle should look like! Just a few meters from the pub we were aiming for my chain popped off and jammed itself inbetween the front gearset and the frame. In an act of solidarity, the whole group pushed our bikes the last few meters to the pub.

The pub was great with an open fire and a fantastic sunday roast selection which we happily ate. It was a great place for a well-deserved rest. The ride back didn't start so well as it had begun to rain and we had to wait for 20 mins getting wet while I disassembled and reassembled the front gearset to get the chain out. Soon we were back on the way and after some monstrous hills, the rain stopped.

We got back to Brian's at around 6 feeling a little worse for wear but overall happy we had accomplished this ride. Ready to get back on the bike for the next one....

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side

This is the track that, whilst we tried a busking version of it, inspired me to get a melodica for the do-do-do-do-do-do bits

You can now sponsor us!

Hi there. Just a quick post to say that you can now sponsor us through by following this link here.

I'm sadly going to miss out on the training ride tomorrow as I'm up visiting my folks (in the wierdly flat Lincolnshire.) Good luck for tomorrow and I hope the weather holds out for those that can make it...

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Hi from me

I didn't even own a bike before January and now I'm getting ready to cycle the length of the UK. I must be crazy! I've actually started to enjoy cycling since I started out on this, I'm riding every week and enjoying it, even though it rains every time I go out. It's also been a great excuse to buy a new guitar :-)
I wanted a new physical challange for the year and I don't doubt I can do this ride. It won't be comfortable but its the challange I'm looking for.
Most importantly I'll have the opportunity to tour the country playing music with cool people to raise money for charity - what more could I want?

You're doing what? Why?

Whilst the charity element is important (if you are doing something ridiculous make sure people give money to charity for it) it would be unfair to say that’s the sole reason why I’m doing this trip. I would have wanted to do it anyway. As my thirties get closer to ending I find that I am fascinated by feats of endurance or derring-do. I imagine that this is what is known as a mid-life crisis. With a group whose ages are between eighteen and fifty-two this cannot be why everyone else is doing this though.

Last year I intended to run the Brighton marathon, but two periods of snow bookmarked by illnesses meant that my training fell behind. With six weeks to go I decided to pull out. I was gutted, but it was the right thing to do. I would never have finished. Except by ambulance.

I am already a fair weather cycle commuter with a daily round trip of between seventeen and twenty-two miles (depending on whether I get a train at London Bridge in the morning). I know what it feels to cycle fifty miles, so with planned distances of forty-five to seventy-odd I can visualise each day. The interesting bit is going to be getting up day after day after day to do this.

In case this wasn’t hard enough, the added element of playing gigs as we go should test tired arms and legs even further. I recently took up the ukulele and hope to take this and the melodica on this journey.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

New year new goal

This is the blog for a group of intrepid cyclists and musicians (that's both by the way, cyclists and musicians) who have decided that they will ride from Land's end to John O'Groats... LEJOG for short. We didn't know each other before January, and in fact many of us didn't own bicycles.

I am a keen cyclist (keen not proficient), and am also on a couple of mailing lists for musical events in London. One such list is organised by Lorraine Bow of Ukulele Wednesdays. Around Christmas I got a message part of which read...

"JULY 2011:"Thought I'd let you know about a musical adventure I'm planning for next July (over about 15 days), raising money for Busking Cancer (part of Cancer Research UK). I'm putting together a travelling band to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats, stopping to play gigs along the way. Musical prowess isn't absolutely necessary (who can't ding a triangle or bash a bongo?), but enthusiasm for what could be an amazing experience is... Beautiful countryside, adoring fans (!) and doubtless one or two amazing country pubs along the way...Planning is just starting to pick up speed and a healthy number are already signed up - but I'd love to hear from anyone else who may be interested. My contact details are on this Facebook page:

It'd be be great to hear from you,Warren Howard"

So I dashed off an email as this is exactly the sort of thing I'd been hoping to do this year. I had toyed with riding to a friend's house in Holland, or maybe a cycle tour with my brother.

Anyway, we hope to post the preperation, music and photos of the trip right here so that those of you that can't join us, can follow us.