way to donate is via the Charity Giving web site, Click on the
picture to the left to take you straight to their donations
Giving is a charity donations web site that ensures any monies
you donate all go to their respective recipients. Indeed, if
you are a UK tax payer, make sure you check the Gift Aid box
on donating and Charity Giving will add the tax relief to the
donation, so a donation of just £10 is worth £12.42
to Keeping Abreast.
and Latest News
as to keep everyone informed and up to date of the current
situation, check back here at [very] regular intervals
to keep up to date with all the latest news from Fat Bloke
On A Moped central. All news is in reverse order so the
latest will be at the top (apart from the actual trip
itself which for some inexplicable reason, I done it the
other way round. Just don't ask.)
here for the blog and full story on the Round Norfolk
Trip, September 2010.
Keep up to
date with the Project
November 2012: At last! The machine has been installed
and Claire, at 11.30am underwent her cosmetic surgery to
finally finish off her reconstruction. Under instruction
and supervision from Ruth, Elaine started with the procedure
and after a careful 75mins later, all was done. Yes, yes,
yes, I know you want to see the results. Stay tuned and
let me speak with Claire first as it's her chest.
November 2012: KLFM requested our presence for an interview
ahead of tomorrows proceedings so with Claire taking a half
day from work, we dutifully arrived at KLFM central in King's
Lynn at 1.30pm. It was a brief interview but good enough
for the news bulletins for tomorrow.
November 2012: Keeping Abreast News - After over 7 years
of Chair of the King's Lynn Group, Susan Henry has stepped
down to make time for other activities and other charity
work. We wish her all the best in her new ventures. Elected
to the position of Chair is my very own Claire. (Warning:
I feel another mad moped ride could be just around the corner!!!
October 2012: We jetted off to Tenerife today for two
weeks for our first holiday since before Claire was diagnosed.
Claire thought her surgery had been that good and her scars
had subsided sufficiently that she was brave and confident
enough to go topless. Before, when she had big boobs and
went topless, people used to stare but now they were staring
because they couldn't quite work out why something didn't
look quite right. Roll on the pigmentation of the nipples.
October 2012: For these two days I find myself at a
loose end in Norwich during the daytime, while Claire is
busy rehearsing for the 'Keeping Abreast - More Than Just
A Fashion Show.'
September 2012: Finally received the phone call from
Elaine that Claire has been waiting for, the date for her
tattooing. Set for 10am on 20th November.
2012: Despite not a lot seeming to happen or report
over the last few months, there are two pieces of good news
to report. Firstly is the tattoo machine paperwork has been
given the go ahead and the hospital will be purchasing the
machine over the coming months. Part of the cost is also
the training and Elaine will be trained in its use.
Secondly, Claire has had her nipples recreated under a local
anaesthetic in a 1 hour operation at the outpatients of
the Queen Elizabeth IInd Hospital by Mr Haywood. Apart from
the obvious scarring and stitches, they look amazing. Mr
Haywood did mention the skin would settle down by about
70% (which is a real shame because at the moment they look
like bullets!! :-)
2011: Breast care nurses Elaine and Tina are currently
working on the necessary hospital paperwork for the tattoo
machine. As we've now raised the funding, hopefully things
should go smoothly however I have been informed these things
can take some time. Ho hum.
25th July: I've a radio interview tomorrow in Norwich
Radio. You can go to their web site and listen
online. I should be on at 10.15am on the Community Chest
show with Alison Turner and Phil Armes.
23rd July: Had a good day at the Southery playing field
with the stall of flip the coin to get around Britain (completely
forgot to take a pic!) and the raffle. I had Swish duties
to perform as well but I thought we done really well and
raised another £108.10
20th July: Plugging my iPhone into my Mac at long
last I synchronised with my fave pod cast, the Sony award
winning Answer Me This, that kept me company all the way
round the trip, mainly at night to cover up Rogers snoring
and to pass the time while I was awake from the pain in
my shoulder. I was delighted to hear they had answered
my question in episode #183. I was talking to Claire at
the time over FaceTime and she asked me how far I'd got
left to go. I'm not sure I said, but I think that may
make for an interesting question. (And in answer to the
questions they posed back, the answer is Vordermann ;-)
Click the link to download the episode and have a listen,
and 'm sure the pieces of the jigsaw will fall into place.
19th July: Gradually getting back to normal. Went to
see my GP today regarding the pain in my left shoulder and
he said to just carry on as it'll work it's way out. He
was happy with the X-Ray's the Hospital took, so not really
a lot more he could do. Although I felt no pain while riding
the other 20 days of the trip, it was the evening and sleeping
which proved to be problematic.
The bike looks all lonely parked up outside, I've not been
on it since I got back on Saturday, which I think is helping
my shoulder. When I get some funds together, I'll look at
buying it a companion.
how I'm going to report this blog while I'm away,
but I'll do my best. To keep you on your toes, I'm
doing it top to bottom rather than bottom to top.
Click on the pics for little galleries of the days
events (apologies for not having my usual gallery
creator but I forgot to upload it onto my lappy
before I left.)
would like to see where we are, go to Google
Latitude and create a free account
(there is also a free iPhone app, so you can get
that from the app store.) Then request to add firstname.lastname@example.org
Once I've approved it my end (bear in mind I'm on
the bike during the day) you'll be able to see where
I am on the map of Britain.
- 25th June
set off on time at 2pm with a lovelly send off commitee.
Someone at Boston Council needs to check their road
signs though as we followed the sign for Skegness
albeit the A52 went in the opposite direction. Wasn't
too much of a problem though and we got back on
track fairly quickly. Peter from the pub had escorted
us this far and we parted company here.
Our route card seemed to work ok until we got to
Grimsby where the lack of sign posts at the critical
moment let us down. We pulled over and broke out
the sat nav which we cable tied to Kevin's bike.
Following that was just a formality to Keith and
The intcomms worked brilliantly but I had trouble
hearing above 40mph. Battery lasted all the way
for 4 hours although we were getting low battery
warning beeps for the last 40mins.
- 26th June
can just about see the damage to the bikes in the
last few pics.
had such a great day... until later. We were up
and out by 9.05 on a gloriously sunny day. We'd
not gone too far before Kev had a bee in his bonnet
- literally! He couldn't pull over and get his helmet
off quick enough.
Made our way over to Spurn Head but they were asking
£3 a vehicle to ride to the end of the peninsula
so we were happy to take a pic.
Worked our way up the coast doing all the tourist
stop over points, we were even a bit cheeky and
rode to the bottom of Robin Hoods Bay, we just done
our best to look official.
Great roads, great scenery and great riding, you
just have to love these Yorkshire coast roads.
Well the worst thing that could happen happened
and it was all my fault. We were just getting
onto the Middlesborough ring road and working
out where we needed to go. Kevin had the lead
as we came up to some traffic lights on a roundabout,
the lights just changed to amber as we reached
them and I thought we were going over them so
I checked over my shoulder to see if it was
clear (but rather than a quick look that I should
have done, I took too long) to move across into
the same lane as Kev, looked back forward and
he stopped but I didn't. Kevin had his brakes
applied and was as good as stopped when I hit
him so impact velocity was a full 25mph .My
front left fork caught his exhaust pipe and
somersaulted my bike. Me and my bike rolled
with the bike ending up on me. Kev was knocked
over and I had the wind completely knocked out
Overhead a police helicopter was out trying
to catch some scrotes and obviously reported
the RTA. Middlesborough's finiest were with
us within 2 mins and had a paramedic on the
way. I had really bad chest pains and awful
pain in my left shoulder when the ambulance
arrived. Kevin was sorting out the bikes with
the police and getting hold of Roger and consequently
wasn't attended to for the whole 45mins while
at the scene.
The police weren't keen for us to leave the
bikes on the middle of the roundabout so we
said we'd make our own way to the A&E dept.
By the time we made it to A&E Kevin was
in agony with his back. The fabulous medics
at the University Hospital Middlesborough saw
to us almost immediately. I was X-Rayed and
dealt with pretty quickly with the result of
no broken bones but pulled muscles and bruising.
Kevin was a lot more of a concern for them because
he could hardly move with his back pain by now.
They got him on a bed with a neck brace, taped
him down and done a few tests. They spent quite
a while with the X-Ray department and there
was a delay with one of them that they weren't
happy with so had to go in again for another.
All this took a lot of time before we were finally
discharged at 11.45pm.
During the wait in A&E I rang my insurance company
and my bike was recovered from outside of A&E.
It was unrideable. As the recovery truck drove away
with it on the back into the dark, I had a sense of
thinking I was never going to see it again.
- 27th June
to do today.
We all knew we had to make a decision on how we carry
on. It was obvious that Kevin's bad back was going
to prevent him to do any riding, so for him to carry
on and share the riding in stints wasn't an option.
He decided he had to go home and we agreed that a
fast train would be the bst option via Darlington.
With a sore shoulder I set off on the bike I hit yesterday.
I swapped the insurance over to cover me and set off
into the hot sun. It was a lonely ride and mainly
dual carriageways and busy A roads. I'd agreed with
Roger it was best to press on to the Burntisland B&B
and rest up, rather than call off at the stop off
points I'd planned.
The weather got colder and colder and I went over
to full wet and cold kit as I reached the Scotish
border and met up with Roger from dropping Kevin off
at the station. By the time we went over the Forth
bridge (Wow! What an amazing structure the Forth Rail
Bridge is!) it was really chucking it down. Arrived
at 69 Cromwell Rd B&B to a warm reception.
I was a bit concerned witht he bike making a funny
noise as the speed increased so Eddie pointed me toward
a local garage who were ever so helpful. The heat
shield to the exhaust was all the noise was, so they
removed it for me.
We had a fantastic evening meal and retired early
to bed, aching and wanting sleep.
Spoke with Kevin on the phone this evening and he
got back safe and sound to blistering heat.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
- 28th June
to start doing some pics
a breakfast! Last night, our hosts Anne and Eddie
not only cooked us a fantastic meal last night (Eddie
used to be a chef) but he asked us what we'd like
for breakfast. I decided to go for a mini-full Scottish.
Well, come morning, the smell of breakfast came
wafting up the stairs and when my breakfast was
laid before me, it was just as well I had the mini!
Needless to say we weren't going to be needing lunch.
The weather looked nice and shiny and bright but
I went for the full wet kit anyway. Turned out to
be the right decision as although sunny it was quite
Despite my shoulder still killing me, the bruise
on the palm of my right hand giving me gip, abraision
and bruising on both knees and thighs, the ride
went very well today. Biggest pain was my botty
on the unfamilar seat of the bike. The AirHawk seat
seems to help but it's not negating the numbness.
We made good time though. Roger and I have decided
it better to change strategy and for him to keep
with me for the trip. It makes the navigation through
the difficult areas easier for me as I can follow
Rog with the twat nav. On the open road though he
can follow me at my pace. The mixture of the good
weather and clear roads meant we wafted in to New
Pitsligo arms at 3pm.
Colin and Norman gave us a very warm welcome and
were very interested in the project. The food was
fantastic, Roger now wants to try to replicate the
black pudding and ceasar salad combo he had when
he gets home.
Our thanks to Colin, Norman and thier customers
for their donations.
- 29th June
and I are in the two rooms right at the top with
the little windows
and I discussed last night how we want to do things
for the next few weeks. He's an early riser and
aiming for an 8am breakfast with a view for a 9am
departure seems like a good idea. Due to the time
of year, it's very light in the morning so I'm rising
about 7am anyway at the moment. An early night the
night before is wise too.
This morning we said ourfarwells to Colin &
Norman and headed off at just past 9. We knew it
was a shorter days journey today, but saw no point
in hanging about. As per every day so far, it started
off sunny and bright, moved toward overcast and
cloud, had the odd downpour and now, as I type,
it's clear calm and a wonderful summer evening.
The bike is a different experience for me. Knowing
I cloutd it on Sunday with 300Kg of steel, plastic
and blubber, I'm listening out for all sorts of
odd noises. As it's unfamiliar to me, it's difficult
to ascertain what's right and what's not. One thing
is clear, it's far quicker with Kevin on it than
me. As he weighs 10 and a half stones lighter than
me it's hardly surprising, but even so, it's still
a worry for me. That said, I've done just over 500miles
on it since Hartlepool and not had a problem [yet.]
I've settled down to a more sedate 50 to 55mph,
which sort of suits the Scotish roads and suits
Roger following up behind.
The Eagle Hotel in Dornoch was easy to find and
after 140 miles, we arrived rather early, just after
2.30pm. (It might not seem like a lot of miles,
but my botty really can feel every one of those
miles.) The staff here are wonderful, our rooms
are on the top floor as we have the annex with a
kitchen. If you look at the picture, we have the
rooms attached to those two little windows in the
Great food and a great spa bath to sooth my aching
shoulder. Just about to gargle some paracetamol
for this throat of mine that feels like tree bark.
Our thanks to Gawain for putting us up and making
us feel so welcome.
- 30th June
outside Tongue (that'll be 'Lips' then)
again at 6pm and had to take the horse drops again.
The discomfort in my left shoulder was unbearable.
Managed to drop off again until 7am though - a positive
Cuillien FM rang at 8.15am for a live radio interview.
Between going to sleep last night and waking up
this morning though I appeared to have mislaid my
voice. It was very gravelly but I seemed to muscle
through the 3 minute interview ok (with a bit of
blubbing on my behalf ;-)
Yet again the weather was good when we set off.
Yet again it lozzed it down during the ride but
had cleared again when we got to John O'Groats.
Done the obligatory tourist pics to placate the
masses and despite the bright and warm sun, I resorted
to donning a jumper as I was concerned the chills
I was getting and my throat of gravel was actualy
the flu bursting to break through.
The ride across the top of Scotland was fantastic.
It's pretty much one road, so it's not like you
can get lost, but despite being an 'A' road, it
was mainly single track with passing places.
Look out in the pics gallery [on the left] for a
panoramic of John O'Groats, Upper Dounreay decommissioned
nuclear power plant, a telephone box in the middle
of nowhere, a house where my mum would absolutely
love to live in (and coincidentally where I wished
my dad currently lived ;-) and the last few pics
of the bay just around the corner of our hosts for
the night in Durness.
Our B&B for the evening was easy to find and
Tony & Jill not only provided a warm welcome
but also home cooked spagbol, wine, apple tart and
ice cream. :-) We have a fine view of the
surrounding mountainside, the sun is out, the wind
is calm. Apparently it currently doesn't get dark
here until around gone midnight.
- 1st July
up out again at the crack of 9.15am after a fabulous
The roads started off and continued to be the single
gauge 'A' roads with passing places as we ended
up with yesterday.
The scenery today was spectacular. I had to follow
the coast road which meant I took the A869 to Lochinver
loop road and then the A896 to Shieldaig. After
today's ride, I can see why the Scots have so passionately
defended their territories throughout history and
I think I'll be petitioning the governement to reinvade
at some point in the future. If I stopped everytime
I saw a breathtaking view in order to take a picture,
I'd still be on the road. Even so, today was still
our longest ride/drive at 234.6 indicated on the
I thought there was a very peculiar breed of white
furry pig indigineous to the area as thery were
everywhere. Roger pointed out they were sheep. It's
an easy mistake to make.
Jim provided a fantastic warm welcome to the Donan
Guest House and it has an absolute iconic view to
the front in the form of Eilean Donan castle. See
the pics to the left.
- 2nd July
views, seagulls in Oban & two dozen of the delightful
off this morning a bit concerned about the bike. I
wasn't able to do more than 50mph - downhill! After
I while I pulled over to check the oil but it was
ok. Also, I think it just doesn't like being left
outside overnight and is a bit slow to get itself
going. After a while I was managing a cruise of 55mph
on the level with more throttle to go. Roger pointed
out we were still in the Highlands and slight inclines
and declines are difficult to deduce with such dramatic
At about midmorning, Donald rang from Springside B&B
in Tarbert wondering on our ETA as they were going
out and would be unlikely to be home before 5pm. It
set our schedule for the day and as we were making
good time, we decided to pull over in Oban on the
sea front to decide what we could do. As we stood
there, we found that passerby's were stopping and
reading the posters that Roger had stuck to the side
of the van, so we got the bucket out and put it beside
the van. Not sure how much we got in the bucket, but
it was nice to get support from well wishers and lots
of people took a card.
With the Highlands behind us we arrived in Tarbert
to the end of a festival of sorts. Appraently there
was a Fish Festival today in the harbour and there
was a carnival atmosphere. It was a surprise to me
as when I Google Earth'd Tarbert, I could have sworn
it was a lot smaller. Pleasant surprise really.
Alison greeted us and showed us around the delightful
cottage that is Springside B&B. Situaated just
on the outskirts of the town toward the little ferry
terminal, it has a delightful view over the harbour.
My mum would love it.
Spoke with Claire in the evening. She had a good few
hours bucket rattling at Ely BP petrol station helped
by Rose, Sam and Emily. The good customers managed
- 3rd July
had to make sure I was on the 9am ferry from Tarbert
this morning as the next one wasn't until 10.15am.
I needn't have worried about not getting on as there
was myself, a car and one passenger. At the other
side the road wasn't quite as the map had led me to
believe, so I asked a policewoman who was helping
out at a triathlon in Kames if the road classifications
were different than I had on the map. She was ever
so kind and informed me to get a ticket from the postoffice
when I pulled in to Hunters Quay as it was half the
price than buying it on the boat. Useful bit of knowledge
as the first ticket had cost me £12!
I knew I didn't have a huge distance to ride today
but the ferry timings could make for a longer day.
As luck would have it, I got to the 2nd ferry just
as it had landed so didn't have to wait long.
As the cost of the ferry was rather expensive for
the van, it was cheaper for Roger to drive round the
long way as it's on LPG. Distance to where we met
up, just before Ayr, was 60 miles for me, 120 for
Roger and we arrived within 5 mins of each other.
Great weather today, hot in fact, and being a Sunday
there were absolutely loads of bikers on the road.
I must have looked like a nodding dog in Rogers rear
Easily found the Baylett B&B and Pat greeted us
with beer. Mmmmmmm. :-)
added some sunset pics which I took after I updatd
the site, hence two hot links today for my pics.
- 4th July
cabin we stopped in last night was entirely self sufficient.
Great if you're a couple with up to 3 children.
Although it was a relatively short distance almost
exactly due East to our destination today, true to
my brief, I carried on while hugging the coast. This
has added to my mileage more than I had anticipated
but it's still doable in a day. Besides, the weather
was hot and the wind was calm and without the searing
pain through my left shoulder every time I went over
a bump, it was another cracking ride.
Roger didn't follow at first, instead he went direct
to Newton Stewart to fill up with LPG as the van was
on vapour and I met him there after mornings 50 mile
ride. He then followed me for the next leg but by
the time we'd got to Dumfries we pulled over and decided
it was a bit daft wasting fuel in 3rd gear trailing
me (in other words, he couldn't keep up :-) so easier
for him to travel direct to the next rendevous point,
which this time happened to be Gretna Green.
Rather than just make for the border, we thought it
might be wiser to blend in with the natives and look
all romantic at the commercial debacle that is Gretna
Green. There were quite a few people milling around
but I couldn't really see what there was to look at.
The famous wedding room and anvil was chargable to
view and lets face it, there can be much more to see
than that. Each to their own I suppose.
Found Gilsland and the Bush Nook B&B easy enough.
It's a full house tonight and as coincidence would
have it, all the other guests are American. They're
having a 4th July celebration BBQ.
- 5th July
7 pics today
weather today was supposed to be lousy. We set off
on time to over cast skies but the rain seemed to
hold off until well past Carlisle. Roger went direct
to Maryport, I went via the coast road, as per usual.
60 miles marked off and although we didn't know it,
we wouldn't see each other again for 6 hours and 140
The coast road was twisty, up hill and down dale.
The bike coped fine, Roger got stuck behind a furniture
removal van for 90mins (he even pulled over to speak
to Lou on the phone and then caught the van up again!)
I had a phone call from Vic, who'd seen what I was
up to via the Stox Car forum and had decided to come
along to show his support by wanting to meet up at
Blackpool. I was still some way away from there though
so decided to get a shift on. The heavens opened up
though and that didn't help my navigation as I went
a bit wayward in Lancaster. For some reason, all the
signs in Lancaster just kept pointing me back toward
Morcambe and not Blackpool. Reluctantly, Lancaster
admitted there were other places to visit and I finally
found the A588 toward Blackpool. My original guesstimate
of 3.30pm for Blackpool was a bit out but managed
to drift on to the seafront by 4.20pm. I spotted Vic
straight away. Roger had parked up around the corner.
Arrived at my cousins place just after 6.15pm. It
had been a long day and at 240 miles, my longest days
- 6th July
is the new 54
was our shortest mileage yet but as so many of the
roads we travelled on were 30mph limits, it was just
as tiring on the botty. My left shoulder is getting
better but still interupting me sleeping over night.
I hadn't even got on the bike this morning when I
had a phone call from my insurance company regarding
my bike. As I had guessed, they have written it off.
A real shame as it was going so well and I was so
happy on the FES. As Roger said though, it's just
a lump of plastic and metal. I'll get some money from
the insurers, but it's never enough once the excess
has been deducted. Looks like I'll have to get used
to riding and using Claire's bike for the mean time
but I was so wanting her to join me for some ride
outs when I get back. Have to deliver her bike back
Llandudno seems like a lovely place. While parked
up on the sea front I was observing the populace which
consisted mainly of OAP's in heavy coats, smiling
and enjoying 'how they used to have holidays.' Who
knows, maybe one day.
Hats off to Owen, Rachael & Danny at Enoch's Fish
& Chip shop in Llandudno Junction for providing
us with a slap up feed. Great food folks!
- 7th July
prizes for spotting the first non tourist pic. Old
habits and all that... ;-)
from the Stoneleigh Guest House very kindly provided
Roger and myself with a packed lunch! So far on this
project, both Roger and myself have been completely
amazed at the generosity of the people we've met.
In this day an age, it's very refreshing and restores
your faith in human kindness.
I'd only done 2 miles before I came to a grinding
halt with a strange sign at the entrance to the A55.
It was almost as if it was claiming to be an M road
as it said "No 'L' plates, no mopeds, no 50cc
bikes, no bicycles, etc. Needless to say, being a
law abiding citizen, I followed the letter of the
Finally saw and rode over the Menai and Britannia
bridges. Utterly iconic. It's one of my little life
boxes ticked. Although it was raining when I arrived
to take take the pics, the clouds parted and the sun
came out for me. Someone, somewhere was smiling on
me at last.
The rain stayed off for the rest of my ride to Aberyswyth.
Fantastic scenery and great for the scooter that was
singing away under my increasingly sore botty. The
further I go on this trip, the shorter I can stay
in the saddle before I need a break.
I met up with Medwyn from MAG Aberyswyth who accompanied
me to the sea front to a group of MAG members who
had turned out to greet me, where upon the heavens
opened and the rain was torrential. Glad I was riding
in that! We had a good chat and discussed the project,
Medwyn had even gone to the trouble of getting sponsorship
for the project too. Absolutely fantastic!
Left Aberyswyth at 3pm with quite a mileage still
to cover. The A487 was plagued with 30 and 40 speed
limits through the villages and towns and I'd picked
up a real strong head wind which made the bike feel
It was nice to breeze into St. David's and see the
Cathederal but it was coming up to 6pm and I couldn't
hang about so made my way to Walkers Lodge Accomodation
where Karen had been preparing our evening curry and
rice. A nice end to my longest days ride to date (by
- 8th July
Note weather at Tenby on the 5th
from the local paper (she did tell me which one it
was but I wasn't able to write it down and I've forgotten
what it was called) met us in the lounge at Walkers
Lodge just after 9am. We had a bit of a chat and done
the obligatory photo and we were on our way by 9.30am.
Both Roger and I loved the down to earth nature of
Karen & Chris and Walkers Lodge. If you want a
break on a buget with a young family, we can't recommend
I wasn't looking forward to today's ride. When I set
off I knew the weather was going to be against me
too. We'd had torrential rain overnight so the roads
were wet to start with and with a strong sun between
the clouds and heavy rain showers, visibility wasn't
Ticked another life box by visiting Pendine sands
(see the pic with the wind and the flags) although
I'd have loved to have stopped at Pembroke castle
but I knew time may have been against me and I was
being followed by a police car at the time, but luckily
further down the road I came across another castle
by the side of the road. Fancy just leaving it lying
about like that!
Pressing on I found the A484 easy enough but it ran
out of steam when I reached Swansea where I should
have picked up the A48 however due to a lack of sign
posts I ended up heading in to the middle of town,
where upon I hit a load of road works. I queued for
a while then realised I was on a scoot and started
After about an hour I finally found the A48, but after
2 miles at the next junction, no A48. Followed my
nose and avoided turning on to the M4 (for abut the
5th time) and followed a road parallel to the M4 which
eventually led back to the A48. I agreed to meet Roger
at the first service station after Cowbridge that
sold LPG. Turned out there were no garages full stop,
so I finally met with Roger at the B&B!
Barbara & David were on hand to greet us at Radford
House. They invited us out to the Roman Amphitheatre
in the village [of Caerleon] for the evning as it's
the start of the villages festival and they're screening
The Life Of Brian. (Altogether now - 'He's not coming
out to play, he's been a very naughty boy!')
- 9th July
to the nice lady I spoke to in Lynmouth for taking
and I wimped out a bit last night. It was cold in
the Amphitheatre and we were both tired. As it was
still pretty light, the film didn't start until
an hour later than planned, so we saw enough to
realise what the Romans had done for us and went
back to the room. We were both out like a light
in no time.
Speaking to our host in the morning, it didn't finish
until 1.15am, so just as wel we wimped out.
First order of the day today was to get the oil
changed on the bike. The oil change warning light
popped up the day before yesterday just before I
got to Fishguard, which was a timely reminder. I'd
booked in at Cromwell Rode Motorcycles a few weeks
ago but the lads there didn't seem to know anything
about it. Arse and elbow syndrome I guess. They
changed and disposed of the oil pretty quick though
so we were on our way by 9.45am.
Last time I crossed the Severn bridge must have
been 15 years ago and before tht I was about 7 or
8 when I went with mum to visit relatives in [funnily
enough] Newport. The bridge is still an awsome sight
though, and trundling over it on the cycle pathway
at 10mph was still an inspiring vision.
The route I found today to be pretty straight forward.
I didn't need to refer to the map at all, and in
fact I can still remember it nowwhile typing this
- A48, M4, A403, A4, A38, A39. Easy.
Had some fun on Porlock Hill. Was following a little
silver car in a queue of traffic and nobody seemed
to spare a thought for the twat on the scooter who
had to lean forward while going up the 1 in 4 hill.
I knew if I stopped it would be curtains, such is
the gradient of the hill, but some Muppet in a blue
Disco (registration number YD05 DTZ - just in case
you want to look it up) decided the 'Low Gear' signs
didn't apply and promptly stalled on the steepest
bit just after a hairpin. Silver car in front of
me stopped - I didn't. Learning lessons from last
Sunday week, I played a joker, used the force and
threw a double six, wound up the throttle to full,
swerved and sped past at a heady 24mph. 'Hmmph!'
I thought, 'That taught him a lesson - Ped Power!'
Roger who was following behind me thought I'd hit
the silver car, but it was only a Daewoo Matiz and
frankly I'd prefer my chances on the scoot.
Arriving in Lynmouth some 20mins later, Roger went
on ahead to see some old friends but I hovered to
do some pics. I got chatting to a really nice lady
who lived in Lynton that sort of made my day. She
very kindly gave me a donation for the pot too.
Thank you anonymous lady.
I reached the Hotel Penarvor in Bude before Roger
as he was still galavanting about the countryside.
Kim was ever so welcoming.
Bude I remember from about 10 years ago when I brought
my mum to Cornwall when I was separating from my
first wife and was hoping to make in roads with
this new bit of totty that ended up being my wife.
Claire never did call me from Italy though while
I was away in Cornwall :-( She doesn't know how
close she came to not...........
- 10th July
Earth Station, largest in the World [apparently]
didn't check the weather this morning when I set out.
I saw it was overcast so automatically put the jumper
on under my jacket. Shall we just say that by the
time I'd got to the B&B in Falmouth at 5pm, I
was smelling a little 'funky.'
I wasn't looking forward to today's ride due to the
navigational problems it presented. There were a lots
of little bits I wanted to visit while maintaining
the coastal route, but as anyone who has been to Cornwall
can testify, there are lots of little roads with high
sided hedges which makes navigating just that little
bit more difficult. Thankfully though the Cornish
County Council had all the signs up to date and my
navigational fears were unfounded.
First stop was Tintagel but I couldn't get close enough
on the bike so the first pic is roughly where the
castle is (in other words, it's a picture of a hill
and some rocks) but it was great to visit the set
of Doc Martin and see Port Isaac. We got there not
long past 10am, so it was pretty quiet.
The milestone today though was reaching Lands End.
The guy at the kiosk waved the £1 admittance
fee as I was doing a charity run, which was nice.
I checked my mileage and can report that, John O'Groats
to Lands End via the coast route took 1,865.3 miles.
The accepted distance via a more direct route is 874[ish]
miles, so going by the coast road adds roughly 1,000
miles to the distance.
Both Roger and I really feel like we've turned a corner
in this project now that Lands End is behind us and
every mile now is a mile closer to home.
- 11th July
a mother of a blow out we had for breakfast at the
Trelawney Guest House. Mushrooms cooked in olive oil
and whole grain mustard was superb!
Another day that I wasn't looking forward to. I'd
had this image of lots of traffic on little roads
that can only just cope and my fears this time, proved
to be correct. I spent 20 miles behind a snake of
cars of 7 holiday makers through 20 and 30 mph limits.
I finally got past them just before the ferry at Dartmouth
(see pics of the bike parked in front of a gold coloured
twonk.) Strutted about and took a few pics while waiting
for the ferry, twonks sat in their cars with their
engines running. (?) When the green light allowed
us to board the ferry, I was waved in to a side area
while all the cars were queued up in front of me.
Not a happy bunny.
Progress was real slow today, the traffic was horrendous.
The vibration noise from somewhere at the front of
the bike seems to be getting worse. I think I've pinpointed
one of the noises though - Kevin's shades in the glove
box were definitely rattling like a good un.
Had a nice surprise this evening. Jason, my best man
came to visit me and Roger at our B&B at West
Bay (next to Bridport.) He was supposed to have been
on this trip with me on another scoot, but he has
such a bad back that surgery has been talked about
and he's walking with a stick. Thanks for visiting
J - makes the pain in my shoulder seem like nothing.
- 12th July
today's 'choice' pics
was expecting more of the same today and I was disappointed.
It was worse. Spent nearly the whole day at 30mph.
The A259 from Havant all the way to the B&B was
especially frustrating as the mix of traffic and lack
of speed, combined with the coming rain made for a
really depressing ride. On the plus point it was great
to arrive at the B&B and have a nice hot bath.
Both Roger and myself are completely shattered.It's
only 8.30pm as I type this and I can't see me staying
awake too much longer.
I think I've found another source of vibration noise
on the bike. The tax disc mount was a little loose
so I gave it a twist this morning to tighten it up
and there was definitely far less noise today while
riding from the front of the bike.
While I remember, after I had successfully nagotiated
the Southampton one way system and was out the other
side heading toward the A27, I had a severe crustation
up my right nostril I just had to take care off. Sorry
to impart that with you if you were eating, but with
the helmet and gloves, the luxury of picking your
nose while driving is just one of the many things
you take for granted while driving. (Hoping the traffic
light will turn red is another one, so you can stand
up and adjust yourself! <AHEM!>)
- 13th July
forecast was rain but it started off very bright and
warm. Thankfully the A259 wasn't too bad at all and
it turned into quite a nice ride heading along the
last part of the South coast. It was however quite
windy but it didn't hamper the ride.
I've finally stopped taking the pain killers for the
shoulder although I'm still waking up at 5am and just
not able to get my shoulder comfortable. Riding seems
to be fine though, providing I can avoid the worst
of the man hole covers.
Roger worked the route out today on the Sat Nav and
direct it measured 86 miles but go via the coast road
and I clocked up 190.8 today. I also experienced the
single most scariest ride of my [short] biking career
so far, that of the 5 lanes of the A2 on the approach
to the M25 Dartford crossing. I was wringing the neck
of the poor little scoot and it done me proud by keeping
to a screaming 60. Giving it a decent thrashing on
the A299 for 25miles seemed to help! :-)
It was a weird sensation arriving in Southend-On-Sea.
I used to live 20 miles down the road so came here
a few times. The roads were familiar but only in a
sense that I'd seen them on [say] Google Earth as
opposed to having been here a few times in the past.
I get to see my wife tomorrow evening for the first
time in over 460 hours and 3,500 miles. Hope I recognise
- 14th July
point East, completing my 4 points of the compass
of the mainland
Essex coastline is not an easy one to navigate. If
you look at a map you'll see it has lots of inlets
and you have to travel quite a way inland just to
get round the body of water. At one point approaching
Colchester, I looked to my right and all I could see
was land for miles with no sight of the sea. No one
would believe I was riding a coastal route if they
could have seen me then.
Leaving Essex behind me, it's aparent that all the
speedo's of the cars there are calibrated differently
to the rest of the country. In Scotland for instance,
I'd be travelling at 40 in a 40 limit and I'd neither
catch the car up in front or be caught up by the vehicle
behind. In Essex though, I thought I'd found an unknown
reverse gear on the bike. They do all seem to have
some ritual 'slowing down' ceremony though when they
approach little tellow boxes beside the road. Bizzare.
The ride was tough due to the constant drizzle that
plagued the day. I'm still not that confident in the
wet, especially as the rear tyre is near it's tread
depth indicators. I've been keeping an eye on it as
the tyre has worn quite a bit over the last 3 weeks.
In fact, it's taken on more of a car tyre shape, i.e.:
flat across the width, rather than the more customery
'curved' of a bike tyre.
Arrived at Chimes B&B in Gt. Yarmouth and met
up with Roger. Today had been the biggest discrepancy
in our two milages by 60miles. My bum aches.
It was only 20 mins later that Claire turned up. An
emotional reunion ensued. Naturally ;-)
- 15th July
a day's bucket rattling on Gt. Yarmouth sea front
today, as was the plan, so not a lot to report on.
The day was very pleasant and bright although the
forcast tomorrow is grim. Hopefully it won't affect
the number of riders tomorrow too much.
- 16th July
deference to yesterday's weather, true to form,
it was raining. It started off quite light and seemed
like it would be manageable but as the morning progressed
it got quite heavy.
Over the course of the morning, bedraggled riders
turned up and, not surprisingly, because of the
weather, not all 31 riders showed. I still thought
that 9 was pretty good though.
At 12.30 we headed off into the rain, with me leading
the group. The rain didn't let up until we finally
reached Sunny Hunstanton, where upon the sun came
out and shone to help dry us.
The ride from Hunny back to home couldn't have gone
quick enough for me, I had the bike flat out all
the way and at some points topped out at 58mph!
I was welcomed home (i.e.: the pub) to a very large
welcoming crowd that had gathered of well-wishers,
family and friends.
I may have shed a little tear.
24th June: PM: Roger and Lou arrived after a
bit of delay. The van is superb! Gallons of room. Kevin
dropped his gear off in the evening, just laptops and electrical
stuff yet to pack.
24th June: AM: I'm all at 7's and 6's. Nipped
over to JD Signs who had done the last of the sponsorship
stickers. Washed the bike and applied them. Printed off
our legal documents - licence, insurance, MOT, etc. Just
copied the web site over to my MacBook so I can update this
on the move, Wi-Fi permitting.
23rd June: Finally cleared all my work for the next
3 weeks. That's a big weight off my shoulders. Leaves me
the whole of tomorrow to sort out final details.
22nd June: Kevin and I finally finished off the route
cards. We've also booked the bikes in to have thier oil
changed in Newport as that should be round the 2,500 mile
mark. Turns out the owner won't be there as he's riding
a Honda C90 to Spain and back....... Sounds familiar!
21st June: Tested the helmet communication system on
loan to us today with a trip into King's Lynn for some clothes
for the trip. Works absolutely superbly!
20th June: Continued routes today. Five days to go.
19th June: Many thanks to Skoda who instigated and organised
today's pool competition at the Old White Bell in Southery.
We had a total of 16 player take part from the Live &
Let Live in Downham Market, The Bell in Denver and of course
the local's from the Old White Bell including yours truly.
Luck proved to be as much a part of the game as skill as
I managed to beat Kevin in the first round but was easily
thapped when my luck ran out in the 2nd round. Eventual
winner was Graham, who walked away with the first prize
of £40. Many thanks to all who donated to and who
took part in the raffle, especially Pete & Nic. Total
raised was £139.
We've left a pink collection bucket behind the bar for the
next 4 weeks, so if you pay a visit to the Old White Bell,
be sure to give generously.
18th June: One week to go. I'm still finalising the
exact route and route cards. I'm up to day 10 now.
Best news today though is that our loan equipment of the
helmet communication system turned up today. Seems to be
fairly straight forward to opperate and my set is already
installed into my helmet. As I've a bit of a fat face though,
the microphone is a bit of a squeeze in front of my chin.
Tickles a bit!
17th June: Both Kevin and I had a trip over to Lings
Honda in Harleston for our final services of the bikes.
I'd brought my major 15,000 mile service forward by 2,700
miles as I knew I'd be hitting it somewhere around Devon
and didn't really want it playing on my mind. Biggest component
to change was the drive belt and on the ride home it felt
smoother with a better pickup. Kevin reported the same on
his too, so it could have been the change of the gear oil
that both bikes had. Also done on both bikes was brake fluid
and coolant. It may seem like routine stuff, but it's peace
of mind before we set off next week.
Lovely write up in the Lynn News today, catch us on page
16th June: We were on the cover on Full House magazine
as well as a nice article on page 16. It was written as
a Mills & Boon type narrative which seems odd but the
facts are nearly all correct. I've just got to break it
to Kevin's parents, Barry and Rose that [apparently] Peter
the landlord of the Old White Bell is in fact Kevin's father.
Oh dear. :-)
Spent most of today route finalising. It's taking me about
an hour per day to do becuase I'm writing it in a book along
with contact details, typing up a route card for subsequent
lamination which will then be Bulldog clipped to my screen
and then updating the site itinerary as the route displayed
is a little out of date. I know where I want to go and which
roads I want to go on, so by using Google Earth I can see
what road sign I need to look out for and then add it to
my route card. I'm also using a highlighter pen on the road
map for the preferred route but marking alternate's should
the need arise. The road map also has a list of the places
I'd like to visit after watching numerous episodes of Coast.
15th June: Ten days to go.
14th June: A big thanks to Sean at Russ Williams Garage
in Downham Market for donating a brand new spare front tyre
that can fit either bike as well as a can of tyre foam and
a few puncture repair kits. Kevin had a new front tyre fitted
today at Russ Williams in order to try to eliminate some
front wheel vibration. Seems to have done the trick. While
chatting to Sean, he generously made the gesture.
13th June: The AirHawk
seats turned up today from BykeBitz.
Hopefully they will solve my numb botty issues on a long
ride. I'll be able to put it to the test over the next week
as we've got our services at Honda at the end of the week.
11th June: We've had a cracking few hours bucket waving
at the King's Lynn Speedway circuit this evening. It was
a major header for the Stock Car championship and the crowds
were out in force. We were allowed to move amongst the crowd
with the buckets and raised a frankly staggering £714.31
We were also in the EDP today too. Click
here to see the web link on the EDP.
9th June: Cracking news today, spoke with Graham at
who is very graciously letting Kevin and I borrow an AirHawk
seat each for our trip. Good news for my coccyx!
Just had an absolutely fantastic online donation! Many thanks
to all at Orange
Aero Ltd and of course everyone else who has
8th June: Managed to organise a press call with the
and the Lynn
News for Friday at 10.30am at Marshall
Toyota King's Lynn.
6th June: i have a big
thank you to say to http://www.anglia-training.co.uk/
for giving me my new CBT for free. Please check him out
as he is a very good tutor and the track is the best way
to get to grips with a bike rather than in an old car park.
5th June: It was a lovely day at Norwich Cathederal
for the celebrity cricket match and the crowd poured in.
We thought the wind may be an issue for the gazebo but the
weights clamped to the corners were well worth the £20
we paid for them. As it was a Breast Cancer event, it wasn't
appropriate to waive buckets so we pushed on direct sponsorship.
I thought we done really well as at the close of play we'd
managed to raise £90 toward our total.
The nice news about the extra £90 is that I'm proud
to announce that the entire Fat Bloke On A Moped projects
has now raised just over £5,000. Thanks to everyone
4th June: Spent most of the day at JD Signs as Adam
was re-jigging our signage on the bikes to make room for
our Marshall Toyota King's Lynn sponsorship. I think it
looks really cracking now. I'll get some pics done tomorrow
at the celebrity cricket match in Norwich as I've some other
bits to do today in time for tomorrows event.
Had an email from a friend of mine who lives up north, he's
got a helmet communication system we can borrow for the
duration. Thanks Adrian, I'll promise I'll look after it.
31st May: Kevin and I visited Phil Saunders at Marshall
Toyota King's Lynn today and he is very kindly
sponsoring the project to the tune of the fuel for the bikes!
This is a huge weight off our minds with just over 3 weeks
before we depart. Needless to say, if you want to buy a
car, go and buy one from Marshall
Toyota King's Lynn.
30th May: An overcast but dry start to the day looked
hopeful for the Downham Show. We were in the parade and
had Rhonda Evens and Rosemary Rooney escorting us on the
crawl from the bottom of Downham Market to the Howdale playing
field. The streets were lined with loads of people and both
the girls done really well with the collection. By the time
we arrived at the playing field the heavens had opened and
as the rain persisted the crowds dispersed. We couldn't
complain though, we made a grand total of £110.93
(£5 of which was sponsorship.)
28th May: JD
Signs affixed our latest sponsorship stickers
to the bikes and our banner in time for Monday's parade
at the Downham Market Festival.
26th May: Spoke today with Phil Saunders of Marshalls
Toyota King's Lynn who is keen to help us out.
He's invited us along to a meeting with him on Tuesday.
25th May: One Month to go.
23rd May: Roger rang me today to let me know that our
support vehicle had blown it's engine. Oh dear. Another
engine is being sourced and should be fitted by the weekend
however the Transit Connect has an LPG conversion and this
[apparently] will make things more difficult.
21st May: The regular Friday night bingo players allowed
us to run the bingo last night to raise funds. It was a
light hearted affair with Youth Club leader Spike standing
in for the regular caller, Claire in her pink top and pink
cowboy hat she bought at Truck Fest, Rose (Kevin's mum)
helping at the front door, Kevin and myself doing the dolly
dealing and chaecking the cards and Sam Satchwell, Emma
Paul and Charlene Nicholson helping in the kitchen providing
the half time teas. Total raised for the eveing, after the
deduction of hall hire, bingo cards, prizes and prize money,
came to an amazing £278.32. If you consider the bulk
of the 75 attendee's were drawing a pension, I really do
think that is a fantastic amount of money to raise from
a small village. My thanks to you all.
14th May: We've had a spectacular day today bucket rattling
at the Vancouver Quarter in King's Lynn shopping centre
and have managed to collect an astonishing £412.89.
Our thanks to all the generous shoppers at King's Lynn today
and and to Abbie for allowing us to set up there today.
13th May: I found myself riding past Wayland Radio
on Wednesday and the good folk there sorted out a copy
of my interview from the beginning of April, so if you
missed the interview you can download and listen to the
17mins of broadcasting gold dust by clicking the image
below. NB: It's a .MOV file so if you're on a PC you may
need to download and install QuickTime from www.apple.com/quicktime
if you haven't already. If like me you're a smug Mac user
then it'll just work. Naturally.
6th May: Had a water meter installed today at the house.
Only thought I'd mention it as the foreman in attendance
donated a fiver to the cause.
Kevin had the PS125i stickered up at JD
Signs today. Will get a picture of the 'Fleet'
over the weekend and get it posted.
Attended Bingo at my village hall this evening as I'm involved
with raising funds for our village's 2012 jubilee carnival
(I have many strings to my bow ;-) and this event was in
aid of funds for that project. Spoke with a few of the ladies
who are happy to do a Bingo night in aid of this project.
Next available slot is in 2 weeks time! Yoikes! We've got
ourselves a Bingo night to organise now!
3rd May: Had a phone call this evening from PC Gray
of Gt. Yarmouth police, informing me he's been assigned
to my event on the sea front on the 15th and 16th July.
I thought the proactive nature of the call was a rather
nice touch, hence the mention here.
1st & 2nd May: Claire, Kevin and myself attended
TruckFest along with two volunteers from the Keeping
Abreast King's Lynn branch of Michelle on the Sunday
and Rhonda on the Bank Holiday Monday. Claire and
I had gone along to set
the pitch up of the gazeebo on a quite windy Saturday
and I guess we were a little surprised to see it still
standing when we arrived for the show bright and early
at Peterborough Show Ground on the Sunday. We set
the rest of the stand up and despite it being a lovelly
sunny day it was still pretty darned windy. So much
so that come the end of the day when we were all packed
away ready to leave, Kevin and Claire had just left
when the gazeebo blew down. Thanks to Martin from
and his good lady wife at the stall beside ours, they
prevented it from becoming a kite and held on to it
while I arrived. (In fact, our thanks to Martin, his
wife and daughter for a good deal many things while
we were there including the gift, donation and cups
of coffee! :-) We ended Sunday on a downer then with
a wrecked pitch and a lacklustre day with the bucket
Monday was a fresh start and thanks to Pete and Nic
from the Old White Bell (my local pub) for the loan
of a table for the pitch, along with a plank of wood
and a few laminated signs we'd created over night
we were ready for the new day. We tried a new approach
with the buckets and despite the sun being out and
a lovelly looking day, it was pretty darn cold, it
didn't deter us from putting in the effort. Grand
Total raised of monies in the bucket: £256.53
In the final few hours of the Monday, Kevin got
the bit between his teeth to approach the trade stalls
for some goodies. He was really proud with his haul
(click pic above) which consisted of - H2o Free wash
bottle and cloths, [pricey] car wax, remote controlled
car, Tommy Tropical Sun perfume, Love Actually perfume,
Aquafleur perfume, Bling perfume, digital caliper
gauge, Cool Blue perfume, Carrie Pour Femme Collection
perfume, 10AWG Amplifier Wiring Kit, Whistling Kettle,
2 x Eco Friendly Flying Lanterns, 4 x Ice Road Truckers
Series 1 DVD's, 4 x Ice Road Truckers Series 4 DVD's,
Infinite Shower Gel Set, remote controlled motorcycle,
Volo model truck, Ice Road Truckers Series 1 to 3
DVD Boxed Set including book, Iggy T-shirt, 3 pairs
of sunnies, water and wind proof DAF jacket, 3 x Ice
Road Truckers T-Shirts Medium, 3 x Ice Road Truckers
T-Shirts Large, 2 x giant footballs, an Inflatable
Willy fancy dress outfit and a cuddly toy (Scooby
Doo, no less.) Looks like we've got ourselves a raffle!
(When I tie in with Kevin, I'll endeavour to link
web sites to all the donators.)
So was TruckFest worth doing? Difficult to say really.
It was a good experience but one of the reasons we
attended was a promise of being able to ride around
the arena and talk to the crowd via the compare as
to what we were doing. Every time I called the organiser
[now with the wisdom of hindsight] I was fobbed off
phone call after phone call and it never transpired.
As a result, I feel our bucket takings were not as
high as they could have been so naturally I feel disappointed.
28th April: JD
Signs have came up trumps with our fantastic
banner to be used primarily on our gazeebo stand at the
forthcoming shows and just in time for TruckFest which we'll
be at this Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. They also added
stickers to my bike for my latest sponsors, namely Shining
& A Superbikes and Fletch
Photography (Ok, so the last one is me, but I
think I'm putting some effort into this project and
therefore allowed however, you won't find too much on my
web link because despite being a self employed photographer
for the best part of 8 years, I've still never actually
got round to doing my own web site! That said, I think there
are some pics I took in an unofficial capacity at my brothers
wedding three years ago, so if you like that sort of thing
and you're not reading this in the year 2015 by which time
I should have got round to doing it, then by all means knock
yourself out on them)
26th April: Kevin and I took a ride over toLing's
Honda in Harleston today to have a screen fitted to the
PS125. It does make it look like it's from the set of
Heartbeat! Kevin will evaluate it's suitability for his
riding style for Britain as it looks easy enough to remove
if we need to.
We carried on to Gt Yarmouth as we visited Samantha at
the Prince Regent pub in Regent Rd. She is very kindly
putting on a pool competition for the night of 15th July
at her pub in aid of our cause and a regular is volunteering
to have his back waxed for sponsorship too! I took some
pics of the freshly painted exterior for Sam to use on
her up and coming Facebook page, so when that's done I'll
bung the link up here.
We carried on riding to put some mileage on the bikes
and ended up with a total days mileage of around 180miles.
The relevance of this task was to see how knackered we'd
be. The conclusions we drew were;
both had sore botty's
- I'll look in to some form of cushion's for us. Someone
I know has thoroughly recommended one called AirHawk
however they're £80 a pop for the cheap ones!
And we need two!!
economy was better than expected
- We ran both bikes out until they coughed. I was amaxed
to get a range of 208.8miles out of mine and with its
9.4 litre tank meant I returned an astonishing 100.87mpg!
Kevins PS125 managed 155.5 miles from his tank, however
we're getting conflicting information as to the capacity
of the tank with web searches saying anything from 7.2
litres all the way up to 9.4. Honda's web site says
8 litres though, so based on that it returned 88.36mpg.
I'm sure once Kevin gets used to cruising at 60mph rather
than trying to draft Thrust SSC on every trip, that
figure could be improved. One thing to bear in mind
though is these figures were achieved on the relatively
flat Norfolk highways. No doubt that the nature of our
'up hill and down dale' route around the coast could
mean lower figures.
between bikes could still be an issue
- Slowing down, riding side by side and shouting to
one another above the engine and road noise to communicate
with one another is less than ideal. This will make
navigational calls at roundabouts and junctions more
of a challenge. Hand signals are all very well on roads
we know but we'll be unfamiliar with 90% of the route.
Can anyone recommend a decent cost effective system
or can we borrow yours? :-)
both really looking forward to the challenge
- So stop reading this and click on the donate button
to make it worth our while.
19th April: Kevin's not been having a lot of luck with
his Piaggio B125. First the exhaust fell off, then the gearbox
went then the water pump gave up the ghost. Twice. It was
fair to say the bike wasn't fit for purpose but the good
news is we've secured a new[er] bike, a Honda PS125i with
less than 3000 miles on the clock. It's interesting to think
that the bikes previous owner took 3 years to complete that
mileage yet we'll be doing that (and more) in 3 weeks!
9th April: Kevin and myself set up the Gazebo for the
first time today at C
& A Superbikes, one of our sponsors. I guess
our bike on the stand was never going to stick out when
it was surrounded by bikes sat in a motorbike park outside
of a motorbike shop, however we did take donations in the
buckets totalling £58.83 but more importantly we managed
to generate a lot of interest for participents to ride the
final leg of trip on the 16th July from Gt Yarmouth sea
front back to Southery.
We did take a few pics of the classic Vespa's there too,
click the image on the right to see all the pics taken on
6th & 7th April: Claire went in to the Queen Elizabeth
II Hospital King's Lynn on Wednesday 6th April for her 2nd
operation. Her expansion implants were swapped over for
the more permenant silicone variety. So far everything has
gone well and I collected Claire yesterday from the hospital
around 1pm. Despite being a little bit sore around the edges,
Claire is very pleased with the results.
1st April: I'm very pleased to announce the very lovelly
Veronica & Richard have very kindly offered to put us
up for both of the 14th & 15th July of our nights stay
in Gt. Yarmouth at The
Chimes Hotel. Our warmest thanks to them both
for putting up with us over our last two nights.
31st March: I'm going on the radio tomorrow. Wayland
Radio is a local radio station based just outside Swaffham
and they've invited me along to talk about the project.
You can tune in online by clicking on thier icon to the
left and then click the green 'Listen' tab near the top.
I should be on sometime from about 5.30pm onwards and being
interviewed by Roger Woods.
25th March: Had authorisation from Gt. Yarmouth Borough
Council for street collecting on Gt. Yarmouth sea front
on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th July.
Nipped over to Ling's Honda of Harleston today to have my
bike's 10,000mile service. I was a little disappointed as
when I'd booked the bike in I requested they order a top
head bearing as it had been said by Sean at Russ Williams
in Downham Market when he'd replaced my tyre that it was
shot to pieces, but low an behold it was looked at, told
I needed it replaced and it would be ordered for me. Just
means I've got to go back again and now make a special trip.
16th March: Colin and Norman of The
Pits Ligo Arms have very kindly donated a nights
accommodation for us on the 28th June. Our heart felt
thanks to them both for their kind offer.
marvelous Sue has offered us accommodation at the Beachcroft
B&B on the evening of the 11th July. Many
thanks from all the crew for this fabulous offer.
Louise has been pretty busy yesterday it seems as the
ab fab Jim at Donan
House is fully booked on the night of 1st July,
but he's letting us pitch our tent in the garden and use
the loo. If it's really lozzing it down, he's even letting
us set up a bed in the garage! Top man Jim, many thanks
for the kind offer.
14th March: Had an unexpected phone call today from
a gentleman called Danny. Turns out he's heard about our
trip around Britain and he's very kindly offering us a Fish
& Chip supper at his restaurant in Llandudno when we
pass through on the evening of 6th July. Absolutely fantastic!
That's one meal less we'll have to worry about. Cheers Danny!
We all look forward to seeing you on the 6th!
11th March: Another fantastic offer of accommodation
for the night of 6th July. Anna has very kindly donated
the nights accommodation at the Soneleigh
Guest House. Our heart felt thanks to Anna
for this very kind offer.
7th March: The really great Louise & Norman are
kind enough to donate a nights accommodation for us at
Guest House in Seaford on the night of 12th
July. Our thanks to them both for this kind and generous
4th March: The really generous Anne & Eddie have
been very kind at squeezing us in at the 69
Cromwell Road B & B on the night of 27th
June despite the Edinburgh Fringe festival being on during
our vist. Our heart felt thanks to them both for their
3rd March: The thermostat, thermostat housing and exhaust
arrived for Kevin's bike today from C
& A Superbikes which I fitted in the afternoon,
despite me suffering from a bad back. Exhaust is lovely
and quiet now (unless you're a teenager in which case it's
horrible and quiet) but the bike is still over heating
when ridden. I poked my fingers into an air vent near the
front and one side of the radiator is hot the other side
cold, so I'm wondering if the radiator is blocked or the
water pump isn't pumping. Top man Craig at C
& A Superbikes will come and collect it Tuesday
and sort it out for us.
28th Feb: The fabulous Eagle
Hotel, Dornoch have donated the evening's accommodation
and hospitality for the night of 29th June. A big thanks
to Gawain for his generous offer. Also (Louise has been
really hospitable Barbara and David have donated the evening's
accommodation at the Radford
House Bed & Breakfast in Newport for the
night of the 8th July. Our warmest thanks to them both
for their generosity.
Had to take my tyre back today as it feels like it has
the shape of a 50 pence piece. The replacement is due
27th Feb: Kevin, his mate Phil and myself went out
for a ride in the afternoon, mainly to test his bike,
but also because kevin had an interview. Bike seemed to
go well so I headed home.
Spoke too soon though, Kev rang me in the evening to say
when he got back to the village he was accompanied by
a cloud of steam. Adding water to the cooling system a
few hours later just saw it run through and come out the
bottom somewhere. We'll investigate on Tuesday as Kevin's
got the day off college.
26th Feb: Had the bit between my teeth this morning.
My local garage welded in a temp exhaust pipe on Kevin's
bike to connect the silencer to the downpipe, and for
the rest of the day I took it upon myself to sort out
the rest of the blowing exhaust with gungum and a bandage,
the blown headlight bulb and a dashboard light. Least
of all it doesn't sound like an old VW Beatle now!
25th Feb: I must check with Louise to see if she is
having a break for more mundane things like sleep and
work as she has struck gold again. The very kind Kim has
been wonderful and donated our nights accommodation on
the 9th July at the The
Hotel Penarvor. Our thanks from all the team.
24th Feb: Tessa & Sean have very kindly offered
their hospitality on the 10th July at the Trelawney
Guest House in Falmouth. Our heart felt thanks
to them both for such an excellent offer.
23rd Feb: Ok, so this is
the first blog I've written but it didn't feel right writing
until I had a bike and now I have one thanks to C
& A Superbikes Tottenhill, although on the
first friday I had a bit of bad luck but all is sorted now
with a new exhaust on order. I'm really looking forward
to this trip it's going to be a great adventure for both
David and myself. I'm also going to again thank in advance
the kindness of all of the places that have already offered
us use of their facilities for a night. Cheers!
22nd Feb: The very generous Donald & Alison are
providing our accommodation for the night of 2nd July
B&B, over looking the lovely Tarbert Harbour.
Many thanks to you both and our best wishes from all the
team are with Alison for a speedy recovery.
22nd Feb: The Very Wonderful Malcolm is able to put
us up for the evening of 4th July at the Bush
Nook Guest House in Gilsland, which is just
outside Carlisle. Our heart felt thanks for this cracking
We've now 6 guest houses that are making room for us and
importantly we know that no matter how wet we get or how
windy it is, we're assured of a dry roof over our heads
for a third of our trip so far. I'm amazed and stunned
at the generosity of everyone's kind offers and it gives
me a very warm feeling inside.
19th Feb: Another superb offer of a donated room for
the evening of 7th July at Walkers
Lodge Accommodation in Haverfordwest. Our sincerest
thanks to Karen & Chris for donating the room for
Part of Kevins exhaust fell off yesterday evening. Makes
one hell of a racket now. Turns out it's quite a common
failing, so hopefully we can get that fixed PDQ.
18th Feb: Another fabulous offer of accommodation
for the night of 13th July donated from the Pier
View Guest House in Southend. Our thanks go
to Ed, Barbera & The Team for their kindness.
Had to have a new tyre fitted today on the front of my
bike as my old one had developed a bulge. I thought £42
fitted was quite reasonable.
Nice little feature in the EDP
today which is also available
online, albeit the important links to this
web site and the donations page are not working. I've
emailed them to let them know so hopefully by the time
you check it they'll be fixed.
17th Feb: Woke up this morning to find an email from
Louise (Rogers wife) who has secured another nights accommodation
for the team on the 3rd July at Balyett
B&B and Guesthouse in Stranraer. Our thanks
from all the team go to Pat for her kind and generous offer.
It's now evening time and we've had another offer of accommodation
for the night of 30th June from Tony & Jill at Hillside
B&B in Durness. Once again, our thanks from
the team for your kind and generous offer.
16th Feb: At last Kevin now has a bike. He's got a 2005
Piaggio B125 which we picked up today. He'll be making sure
the bike is fit for the task and be putting it through its
paces over the next few weeks, looking for anything that
may cause problems while navigating Britain.
Also, fabulous news, we've secured accommodation in Hartlepool
for the night of 26th June at the Brafferton
Guest House whereby Alistair and Julie have donated
the rooms for the night. Out heartfelt thanks to them both
for their kind and generous offer.
15th Feb: Had a response back from JD
Wetherspoon who are very kindly granting us the
priviledge of being able to wave a collection bucket at
any of their establishments upon our trip. That's a really
nice gesture from them as one of the problems we have with
bucket waving is that if it's in a public place we need
permission from the local council, highways agencies and
need to inform the police. Not too bad if you know where
you're going to be but as we're at a different location
every day for 3 weeks, you can imagine the logistical nightmare
that could ensue.
11th Feb: Kevin reminded me last night that it was his
18th Birthday Bash at the pub tomorrow evening and 10.30am
on theSunday may be a bit more than he'll be able to cope
with so I changed the interview for 11.00am in Southery
at the Playing Field.
Been running about this week with one thing and another,
all should be revealed tomorrow.
Signs have revamped the A-Board for me to reflect
the new project. I think it looks really cracking. Click
on the thumbnail pic to have a look.
9th Feb: Had an annoymous donation today of a comprehensive
first aid kit. A very useful item indeed, just hope we don't
have to use it!
It was a lovely day too, so I went for a ride to a local
Caravan and Campervan business to drop off my information
and hopefully speak to someone that may be able to help.
Unfortunately the man I needed to speak to wasn't there.
Spoke to the EDP, we have an interview 10.30 Sunday morning
at C & A Superbikes.
3rd Feb: Think I've just about updated all I can think
off to refelect the Project Britain side of things on the
web site. The map isn't as detailed as I'd like it to be
but I guess it gives an over all idea of where we'll be
on each day and the approximate route we'll be travelling.
The equipment required list has grown too. The one thing
that is an absolute necessity is Kevin needs a bike! His
50cc is not only not working again, but also highly unsuitable
for the task. He needs a reliable 125cc and the sooner the
better. As he's a student, price is also an important factor
30th Jan: Had a bit of a set back today, in that our
team of 4 is now a team of 3. Stuart has made the calculations
and he just can't make the trip viable, coupled up with
the difficulty of trying to get the time off work and having
to leave his good lady for 3 weeks to be able to cope with
the babe in arms, he reluctantly informed me this morning
that it's probably best for everyone if he pulled out now
rather than further down the project.
On the bright side, we're now only looking for a 3 [seperate]
birth camper van to borrow! :-)
28th Jan: In our [now] weekly meeting, Kevin and myself
marked out the route for going around Britain, noting the
areas where we're likely to stop every evening. We used
a large map of Britain I bought last week and a piece of
string cut to a guesstimate of the daily distance we expect
to cover. We were both amazed that our rudimentary calculations
had us arriving in Great Yarmouth on day 20, a whole day
earlier than we anticipated, however we both agreed that
it would be sensible to leave it like it is to allow for
a day's contingency.
We updated the Britain page and I now need to adjust the
map to reflect the stop over points. Hopefully we'll have
some volunteers who'll be able to put us up for the night
around about those locations.
18th Jan: Sat down with Kevin today and watched an episode
of Coast (Claire bought me the entire first 4 series for
my birthday last August.) The plan here is to get a feel
for the journey and look for for things we'd definitely
like to see as we go round. We also executed a little excercise
with a piece of string and the map to try to ascertain the
mileage of the trip, with an interesting result. Next step
is to start updating this web site to reflect Project Britain
(by reading this, it means I've [obviously] started) and
then work out where we're roughly expecting to be at the
end of every day.
We also decided that the nicest way for people to donate
would also be to submit a guess of the distance we travel
to win some fabulous prize (TBA) as it proved quite popular
with Project Norfolk and therefore should hopefuly maintain
1st Jan: This is a big year for me, Kevin, Stuart and
Roger. I sit here writing this with the enormity of the
task stretching out in front of me. All four of us have
our reasons for wanting to undertake the challenge and maybe,
by the time 25th June arrives, there may be less of us.
Already Tina has had to pull out due to personal reasons.
It's a real blow as her experience and that of her husband,
Euan, on the Norfolk trip was invaluable. Indeed Euan had
plotted a route around Britain for this year, and so it's
sad to not see them more involved in the Britain trip after
they had put a lot of effort in already.
The biggest problem I percieve at the moment for the circumnavigation
of mainland Britain is accommodation. We have to sort out
a different place to stop every night. Camping is an option
however camp sites have got so darned expensive. Plus we
musn't loose sight of the fact that as young as Roger feels
he is, he's still a pensioner who had a replacement knee
operation last year. Ideally a camper van that sleeps 4
(in seperate berths) would fit the bill as it means we can
pretty much stop anywhere knowing we can at least have a
dry bed for the night. So if anyone knows of anyone...?
12th Dec: I set off from home just after 9am to get
to Peterborough for a 10.30am meet up and 11am departure.
The heated grips proved to be invaluable and I just couldn't
see myself being able to do today's ride without them.
The ride today was with the Peterborough Motorcycle Club
and is the Addenbrookes Toy Run, whereby the ride culminates
at Addenbrookes Hospital delivery toys for children who
have to spend Christmas on the Wards. We eventually set
off from Peterborough at 11.15am and arrived some time
after 1.15pm. Spent a good hour at the hospital and had
a much needed coffee but by 3pm it was time to leave.
Rather than go back to Peterborough it made sense I went
straight up the A11. Getting in just after 4pm I'd covered
a total mileage of 140miles on a cold icy day. It was
good excercise in team riding and the distance possible
on a cold icy day, so all good experience. My hands were
11th Dec: Started installing the heated handle bar grips
in my dressing gown at 9.30am. Decided to get scrubbed up
and do it properly, so rather than find an ignition live
wire from behind the instrument binacle, I ran a new dedicated
fused ignition live cable from the battery from the back
of the bike.
As a fact finding mission of getting to know how my bike
comes apart, it was very useful, but with all Christmas
presents, early or not, you want to get it working as soon
as possible. I didn't rush it at all though and 5 hours
later I was really chuffed they were installed, but more
A quick test ride had me turning the thermostat controller
down as they got soooooo hot. Excellent :-)
Had a bit of a fogging up problem with the anti fog system
on my helmet so called in to C & A Superbikes on my
test ride to have a word with Ed. I bought another inner
screen for the visor which seemed to cure the problem on
the way home.
10th Dec: Over the preceeding weeks, I'd only been out
a few times on the bike, the weather being the main culprit
of its lack of usage. Despite 'warm' gloves for colder days
my hands really suffered even on a relatively short trip
to King's Lynn this week. The glovesmay be wind proof but
they're not cold proof.
After a late one at the pub, moaning about how cold I'm
going to be on this trip on Sunday to the landlord, he couldn't
stand it no longer and went and got my Xmas present that
he wanted me to open now. Heated handle bar grips. Excellent!
13th Nov: The Mayor's Appeal run is an organised ride
run by the mayor of King's Lynn and on this date it wasin
its 16th year. The ride aims to raise food, gifts and
money for the local elderly. I decided it was a great
thing to get involved with and to take a trip along with
all the other bikers so armed with the camera I set off
to C & A Superbikes in Tottenhill to join the throng.
With over 200 bikers in attendance, it was a very successful
day. The ride itself lasted about an hour and was 30 miles
long. The sight of 200 bikers in King's Lynn town centre
was a true spectacle. I was near the front of the queue
and tried my best to get some decent pics. You can judge
for yourself and have a look at the gallery by clicking
on the picture to your right.
I made a few contacts too, vowing to attend another ride
with the Peterborough Motorcycle Club on the 12th December.
They were represented today by the group of bikers in
the closing few pics of the gallery.
Signs 01366 377771
Lynn , 01553 614800
Lode, 01366 386711
Hampshire 01252 870900
Cards, Stationery & Giftware
14 High Street, Downham Mkt, Norfolk, PE38 9DB
Mkt, 01366 382198
Norfolk, PE33 0RL
the pics below to see the sponsorship decals
a big thanks also go to:
(While not able
to sponsor us, the following companies and individuals offered
help in some way)
Breeze: For embracing this project and handling the
national journalistic duties of contacting the press
and radio throughout the country.
Wetherspoon: Head office approval to rattle
buckets for an hour at any/all JD Wetherspoon outlets
while on our ride around Britain.
the B&B's and guest houses who have so kindly offered
us accommodation and breakfast and in some cases evening
meals too! Click
on our map to see all the places donated
Quarter King's Lynn: For allowing us to
bucket wave in the shopping centre at a zero cost.
Training Services for waiving the cost
of Kevin renewing his CBT with them.