As it’s September and the start of my cycle ride is less than a week away I thought you might like an update.
Firstly, THANK YOU VERY MUCH once again for all your donations and messages of support. You have been so generous that the amount you have raised at the time of writing this note is over the £5,000 target!
Training has gone pretty well and I’m sore in all the places you would expect. I have only fallen off my bike 3 times, and had two punctures.
I have finalised my route and the majority will be on National Cycle Route 4 which follows the Kennet and Avon canal. While it is slower than cycling on roads, and the surface is of varying quality, there are some absolutely beautiful spots along the way.
My schedule is:
Wednesday 14th – Ashtead to Newbury
Thursday 15th – Newbury to Bath
Friday 16th – Bath to Magor
Saturday 17th – Magor to Maerdy
Wednesday is about 60 miles mainly on roads but also takes in a stretch of the Basingstoke canal between Byfleet and Frimley before joining Route 4 at Padworth a few miles east of Aldermaston Wharf. It is then along the Kennet and Avon canal to Newbury.
Thursday is again about 60 miles and is half road and half canal towpath as Route 4 leaves the canal just west of Newbury before joining it again at Devizes. I actually managed to cycle this stretch a couple of weekends ago and it took me 9 hours with a few breaks and a stop for lunch.
Friday is about 45 miles and uses the canal towpath before going along the disused railway line into Bristol. It’s then roads from Bristol out to the old severn bridge crossing to Chepstow. I just hope it’s not too windy as the cycle path along the side of the bridge didn’t look particularly wide when I drove across!
Saturday is about 45 miles again and is mainly roads but also cycle tracks via Newport and Caerphilly until getting to Pontypridd where I leave Route 4 and go north west up the Rhondda Valley.
If you have managed to read this far then thank you once more. I hope I can do Karen proud.
My wife Karen died from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis on 22nd December 2015. She was 61. We were together for 36 years, and in that time we welcomed three daughters and a grandson into the world. Karen fought her debilitating and life-limiting illness for the last 2 years of her life and sadly she passed away just as we were about to embark on our retirement together. My family and I feel a huge and indescribable loss for such an amazing wife, mother and grandmother.
It is not known what caused Karen’s Pulmonary Fibrosis, and many others are in the same situation. There is no known cure. Please help by donating what you can.
In Karen’s memory and in aid of helping the sufferers of Pulmonary Fibrosis I want to mark what would have been our 33rd wedding anniversary with a cycle ride from our home in Ashtead, Surrey to where we we married in Ferndale, Rhondda Valley, and then on to Karen’s hometown of Maerdy.
My friends kindly bought me a very nice Boardman hybrid bike for my recent 60th birthday and I have started training with the aim to complete around 200 miles of cycling in 4 days mainly along cycle paths by canals, rivers, and through the countryside that Karen loved so much.
Karen was a true fighter and never gave up. I hope I can emulate her spirit and honour her memory.