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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

QR code for this site

If you get a QR Scanner on your phone, and point the camera at this little design below... It'll take you straight to our website. Gonna try and get flyers/business cards done with it and the bob logo.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Day two

Yesterday I took the boys on a tour of north London low lights. Not the original plan but we got to see such sights as the Turkish football association, empty housing estates(2)and more grim town centres than you would have thought possible.

Today is warren's turn. We are starting in the wood green of the south east, then the plan is to head out in to the final frontier.

Our two dayer is to get us ready for day after day of mental cycling. Well here goes!

Friday, 27 May 2011

We have a van!

So after a bit of wrangling, and thanks to Sean O'Grady at The Independent, here's the beast we've got lined up for the trip: completely free of charge (whoop!)... Big enough, I think for an upright bass and a clutch of bikes...

Well done Warren for sorting this out!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


If you are sponsoring us in our efforts this summer, then please remember to giftaid.

Effectively if you say "Yes" to giftaid then the charity can claim the tax that you have already paid on that money. Just giving does this on behalf of the charity using an HMRC compliant, auditable system. People who pay tax via self assessment can also get this back, allowing you to give more for less.

Saying yes adds 25% to your donation.


£25refund from HMRC
Total to charity =£125

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Drumming up support

In an attempt to get our message out there to as many people as possible, I appear to have got Duke the cat on board. He pledged 320.....................................................................Until we moved him off the keyboard. Thanks Duke every paw based typo helps:)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Battle of the Buns

Getting back to the issue of monikers for the trip - Jonny, you might remember, has already bagged 'Maverick' for his lusty, fearless way with hills and oncoming tractors - it seems as though Dan has staked his claim to something more homely. After wowing the group with Jelly Babies on a ride out to Hever Castle, he pitched up at Brian's for rehearsal with a tupperware box (it wouldn't have been the same without the tupperware) of delicious - ooh, they were delicious - little buns. Firm on the outside with a spongy interior and a little hit of raspberry jam at their centre, they quite easily saw off competition from a little pile of cafe-bought chocolate brownies.

So what do we think? 'Confectionary King'? 'Apron Boy'? 'Mum'? Best try and make it a little more manly. Buns of this quality should never be discouraged.

Our first full-afternoon rehearsal - albeit without Dave (stuck on the Isle of Wight) and Dom (prostituting himself for the weekend with another musical combo) - and a very promising run through a pile of the songs we've been trying out over the past couple of months. The idea was to give them a little bit of texture; rather than everyone hooning in on the first bar, we've decided to make them rather more delicate beasts - holding off the guitars for a verse, for example, giving more prominence to Jonny's plaintive clarinet melody lines and Dan's uke.

There was some very lovely playing indeed. Neil impressed with his prowess on a Spanish guitar break on 'Come Up and See Me...'; Brian, as ever, added some gorgeously bouncing bass lines; Dan lifted 'Valerie' (ooh-er) with some sweet, sweet melodica and leant weight with some excellent vocal harmonies; and Jonny riffed marvellously on the clarinet and guitar, even taking a turn behind Brian's double bass for an impromptu rendition of 'Stand By Me'.

I tried my best.

Friday, 6 May 2011

New Website

After a few weeks of development, I've finally updated the website. Check it out at


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Biggin Hill... It's a big 'un

...Or it would be if it was actually called Biggin Hill. Which it isn't.

It's called Westerham Hill and it's about two miles south of the town of Biggin Hill. Which is itself almost as flat as a pancake. And quite possibly not even a town at all. But where would all this leave my clever pun at the head of the blog? I can't think of anything for Westerham. Never ever - not even in your darkest moments - look things up on Google Maps.

After a fantastic but very much gluttonous (pasties, scones, ice cream, Otter beer) long weekend in Devon for Andrea's 30th birthday, I decided on a bank holiday ride out to Westerham in Kent - an area much travelled on previous group rides, but approached from a different angle: an initial flurry south-east from glorious Lewisham to Chiselhurst, then west through Bickley and Bromley Common, before heading south through Leaves Hill (a lovely little village) and Biggin Hill (a terrible, innately deceptive place) to Westerham.

It's a very nice route, all told, if a little 'urban' - there's plenty of ups and downs to test the legs and a few fairly slight but long climbs. And an airport to look at, too, at blummin' Biggin Hill, which by the looks of things is not only an RAF base, but also a proper landing-place for regular flights and travellers. Which made me wonder if anyone, from Italy, say, or Spain, had ever chosen it, on a whim, for their holiday destination. 'You want a taste of semi-rural England, glorious Kent, with its pubs and duck ponds? Then come to Biggin Hill!'

'What? Where's the hill? Never mind about that, Giuseppe.'

Westerham Hill itself (on the return journey) is a proper toughie, but I'm pleased to say that I made it up after a very brief 'vanity stop' about halfway up. It is amazing what a little breather will do for the legs.

A couple of things. The wind: Jonny has already mentioned this, so it must have been the weekend for it, but, gah, it was tough going at times - very strong gusts which always seemed to be blowing into my face no matter what direction I was cycling in. And dangerous, too - on the descent of Westerham Hill, I had to squeeze hard on the brakes after almost being blown off at full speed by a side wind.

Also, I need some biking glasses. All manner of things had collected in my poor peepers by the time I got home - although it was quite satisfying pulling out chunks of gunk.

So about 35-40 miles all told - a very satisfying - if geographically disappointing - livener.

Monday, 2 May 2011

The only way is Essex (and Bedfordshire)

Hi All,
Here is my latest on my personal training rides. We haven't done much as a group because of all the holidays but it hasn't stopped me from getting on my bike.

To celebrate the Royal wedding (well actually, to take advantage of the long holiday), my fiance and I along with 3 other couples went to stay at a caravan park on the coast in Essex. We had a great time but that is a whole other story. I took my bike on the back of the car and went for a nice 30 mile ride. The landscape is flat but the wind made up for the lack of hills. It was a great ride, the weather was glorious and the roads nice and quiet. Some of the villages I went through were really picturesque.

When we got back home, I thought I should have a long ride so took the train up to Bedford and rode the 55 miles home. The first part of the ride was great, good weather again and nice roads, once again quiet because of the bank holiday. The landscape this time was more rolling with a few tough hills, and some great views. The wind was really really strong and it certainly made the going a lot tougher. Also there was a stretch of the road which was so badly surfaced it shook my bike literally to pieces, a screw holding the rear mudgaurd came off so I rattled the rest of the way home.

The last few miles, from Watford to home (Camden) were not so pleasant as it was mostly along busy main roads. I did the ride in under 5 hours so I know I am fit enough to do the kind of distances required. The problem I'm yet to overcome is that I am very sore at the end of it, particularly my neck and back, and am happy to not have to get on the bike tomorrow. Something to work on before the big ride. Any tips?

Sunday, 1 May 2011

I'm Back

Hi all, I'm now back from sunny Wales (yes we had sun) and after a mix of essay writing and horrible welsh hills, I have decided to seriously consider a change of bike! Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated!