Tag Archives: Manchester to Blackpool

Inspired by Hoogerland and Greipel…

… I’m going to ride a pushbike 60 miles to Blackpool on Sunday.


Stick with me on this one.

At this time of year, I watch the Tour de France like a lot of you. Usually just the highlights because I have a job to do, but in our house we never miss a day’s viewing. What inspires me more than anything else is how hard these men are. No, Finabarr Saunders, I don’t mean like that: I mean that these guys are the fittest, most resilient, most inspiring athletes on the planet. In my opinion.

Except the drug-takers. They’re idiots. But let’s forget them for a moment.

Last year I watched this happen to Johnny Hoogerland:

Then only yesterday, I watched Tyler Farrar fall of his bike at speed when the guy he was leaning on moved. Andre Greipel, battering along like the bull of a man that he is, seemed to bunny-hop Farrar’s head to avoid him, then also managed to miraculously avoid Peter Sagan who was fired across his path by the snowballing crash.  Greipel had both feet out of the pedals as he swerved through the growing carnage. Impressive, no?

No.  What was most impressive was that Andre Greipel then clipped back into his bike, caught up his team-mates, accelerated  to about 40mph up a hill and won that day’s stage.  This is after riding around 130 miles.

Greipel is just one of 200 riders who plan to ride those 130 miles every day for 20 days, racing their hearts out with only 2 days off for a rest.

It’s easy for us to think about our favourtie riders but I thought I’d mention a couple who, for the UK fans at least, aren’t so much in the spotlight of adoration. Every one of those 200 guys is amazing (except the cheats).

What Does This Mean To Me?

I’ve booked to ride 60 miles from Manchester to Blackpool on Sunday, to raise much-needed funds for Springhill Hospice, where my Mum spent her last few days just before Christmas in 2009.

Around 3 weeks ago, I sprained my ankle playing football on a Wednesday evening after work.  I wasn’t best pleased.  Then this Wednesday, playing football again, I over-stretched my hip and pulled it somewhat.  Walking down stairs is a fair bit hurty right now.

But on Sunday I’m riding to Blackpool anyway.  I’m no athlete: I’ll take a couple of Ibuprofen and join a leisurely mass cycle with thousands of other people, into the forecast headwind and rain.

I’ll do it because a number of friends and colleagues, plus some wonderful strangers, have given money to the Hospice where my Mum ended her days and where countless others before and after her have been – and will be – given the dignity and care they deserve during a most important time.

I’ll just MTFU and get on with, because it’s the right thing to do.  I’m not Johnny Hoogerland, I’m not Andre Greipel, I’m just a slightly paunchy little man riding a pushbike to Blackpool and helping a Hospice to do fantastic things.

Can You Help?

There’s a little blue widget up on the right of this blog which links to my JustGiving page.  If you want to, you can offer a little support.  I’ve already pushed the limit upwards twice, which has been fantastic.

If you can’t, that’s absolutely fine.  Just get out on your bike, ignore the little hassles and the weather if you can, and enjoy it – then do something nice for someone else too.  Then you will have made the world a better place.


Reason To Ride

Why Ride? One Reason Of Many.

I haven’t posted anything about the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride until now. It was a great day out and, thanks to the generosity of lots of wonderful people, I’ve raised £370 to date for Springhill Hospice.

As the two weeks between then and now have passed, though, a few things have reminded me about one of the reasons I do the ride, and why I’ll try to raise the £500 each year while I can.

Around me, ordinary people are living ordinary lives, coping with extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary to them, but ordinary in the grand scheme of things. Cancer is an all-too common cause of death.

Most of us will live our lives without being seriously troubled by infection, contagious disease, accident or any of the things that killed the generations that came before us. Conditions which killed people in years gone by are now managed by drugs, without serious complications if you take the drugs and the advice correctly – my diabetes is an excellent example of a condition which is managed now, but which 100 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to write about 20 years after my diagnosis.

For the people whose lives are shortened, I’m raising the money to help make their twighlight weeks more bearable. Not just the people who are leaving us, but the people who love them, too.

It’s this reason that sometimes gets me out on the bike; that gets me forgetting my shyness and asking you for money. I’m not precious about it: money’s tight and I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t contribute. I know that most people contribute elsewhere: I’m not special. But it’s heartening to think that something I do on a lovely day out on the bike is helping people at their most extraordinary time.

You can see the route on my DailyMile page if you click this link.

It was a bloody great day out on the bike though.  Let’s not forget that!

Manchester to Blackpool : Track My Ride

Tomorrow, I’m riding from the Theatre Of Dreams to Blackpool, as one of thousands of cyclists taking part in the Bike Events Manchester to Blackpool bike ride.

I’m riding in memory of my Mum and donating all sponsorship raised to Springhill Hospice in Rochdale, a fantastic place that provides respite and end of life care to terminally ill people.  The help they gave to my family cannot be put into words, and they rely on donations to continue their wonderful work.

If you’d like to support me, and more importantly them, please visit my JustGiving page. Thank you.

How Do You Know I’m not Cheating?

Using the magic of Google Latitude, I’m making my whereabouts public for one day only.  By visiting this very blog page, you’ll be able to see (I hope), where I’m up to.  If I seem to be in Bamber Bridge for a long time, it’s because I promised my cousin I’d pop in for a brew. You’ve got to take your chances for free brews, haven’t you?

It’s not a race, but I’ll be happy to put 60 miles onto the #Jul100 sheet and raise some much-needed money for the hospice.  I’ve got my energy bars and my lift home, so I’m thoroughly looking forward to it… 🙂


Things Achieved

I’ve not been very happy with myself this month. Focusing on the rides, I’m going to be very lucky if I hit 50 miles in the November 100 challenge, which doesn’t make me proud.

However, a quick look at the goals I set way back in January has made me feel much better.

  • With your help, I’ve raised over £500 for Springhill Hospice, a wonderful and necessary place where they looked after my Mum until she left them, and us, in December last year.
  • I completed the Manchester to Blackpool ride, the first time for me in 9 years and a major step in becoming the fitter bloke I want to be.
  • I’ve ridden over 600 miles this year, something which I absolutely know I would never have done without this blog and the support that so many people have given me.

So, now I feel better.

The community which I’ve joined whilst writing this blog has been a massive source of motivation for me.  Cajoling, mickey-taking and gentle but firm pokes in the (virtual) ribs have been extremely necessary.  I’m not self-motivated enough to get the shed door open on these cold nights and without you lot it simply wouldn’t happen.

So I just wanted to say thanks.  You’ve helped me a lot.  Give yourselves a pat on the back. 🙂

My Final 2010 Goal

I’ve not put this into the little box on the right, so I’m putting it here.  I reckon I can force myself to clock up a total of 700 miles in 2010, so I’m publishing that to force myself to try.

God, I hope I do it now.

So… who’s going our for a ride in the next few days?

Begging Letter

I’ve pasted this from a begging email I sent to my colleagues yesterday. I’m pleased to say that it worked a little, and my donations to Springhill Hospice have chugged upwards a little. I know you all suffer from compassion fatigue, and you’re all good people so you already support your own causes. For what follows I apologise if I’m getting on your nerves. I apologise, but I’m not actually sorry….




My Goal on Reaching the South Prom.

My Goal on Reaching the South Prom.


Hello everyone,

Some of you will already know that I’m taking part in the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride in a little over 2 weeks. It’s a 63 mile cycle from Old Trafford to the South Prom in Blackpool, which I’m doing to raise funds for Springhill Hospice and The Christie.

We all know what a fantastic job The Christie does, fighting and treating cancer. It’s one of Europe’s leading cancer centres, treating over 40,000 patients a year and an international leader in research, with world first breakthroughs for over 100 years. Ambitious plans are underway to transform treatment and care for cancer patients, including a new £35 million patient treatment centre and a network of £17 million Christie radiotherapy centres in other parts of the area to deliver treatment closer to people’s homes. Yes, I cut & pasted some of that information.

Springhill Hospice, only 2 ½ miles from Utility Masters (where I work) and less than that from my home, provides end of life care for local people with terminal illnesses. The wonderful staff amazed me with their dedication, sympathy and help when my Mum stayed there for a short while in December last year.

If you can see your way to making a donation, please help by visiting my sponsorship page and dropping a couple of quid into the virtual bucket. Don’t forget to use Gift Aid, so the charity will receive even more money for your generosity.

With many thanks,

The bike ride is going to be a personal triumph, regardless of the charitable efforts.  Putting a little money into the coffers of the place where my Mum saw out her days will make it all the sweeter.

Rest In Peace Mum. God Bless.
14th July 1941 – 17th December 2009.

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