Earlier this year I approached Mick May asking whether Blue Sky could help out with a charity bike ride from Lands End to John O’Groats. Without batting an eyelid he said it was the right thing to do because charities in a position to support other 3rd sector organisations should do so if possible.
In May Blue Sky donated my time (5 Days), a Blue Sky crew-cab tipper and fuel to help Robbie Lynch, Tom O`Riordan and Brian McKeown in their bid to reach John O Groats from Lands End on their bicycles. Their chosen charities are O.S.C.A.R, Medecins Sans Frontiers and Autism NI and this is my blog detailing the beginning of their journey.
Day 1 Slough – St Just
I am going to be the support driver carrying the lads’ gear from A to B… no cycling for me! We get to the village of St. Just for our first night and get chatting to the locals in the pub about the adventure. A hat was promptly passed around and £22 was raised in an instant. Not bad for our first night.
Early to bed and then I was woken up at 1am by Robbie’s impression of The Hogwarts Express. By 1.30am I found myself in the back of the Blue Sky van in my sleeping bag… much quieter!
Day 2 Lands End – Fowey
After a hearty breakfast we drove the 5 miles to Lands End and with the rain lashing down and the 70mph wind behind them they set off. I stocked up on tea, pasta and crisps to offer the lads when they got half way through the stage. I couldn’t believe how wet it was but the boys eventually arrived at the hostel soaked to the bones.
This time I bagged a single room – no steam train ruining my sleep tonight!
Day 3 Fowey – Mortonhampstead
A much better day weather wise – dry with a light breeze. My first port of call was the fairy shop in Polperro to write a letter to the fairies on behalf of my daughter Lauren – mission accomplished.
I met the boys in the picturesque fishing port of Looe. After a cuppa the lads headed off to the halfway mark of Stage 2 at Torpoint and then to Mortonhampstead.
I’ll be honest, my thoughts were on the Europa League cup final in Amsterdam where my team Chelsea were playing Benfica. I dumped the bags and went across the road to the Union Pub where I met John (an Arsenal fan) and Tom (a Spurs fan). CHELSEA WON and there was a group hug between us 3 Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea fans (never to be repeated).
Day 4 Mortonhampstead – Glastonbury
Last night Brian managed to sleep through the Hogwarts Express… apparently his wife is terrible snorer and he’s used to it!
It was a beautiful sunny day today. I managed to get a bit of training in for my 10k charity run I had coming up and even got in a cheeky snooze in the van. I then drove through Taunton which was a rather scary descent but with some wonderful views. The lads did so well on their bikes and weren’t dripping wet for once when they stopped for the night.
Day 5 Back home (for me anyway)
We all shook hands and I wished the fellas the best of luck as this was my last day with the gang. On the way home I stopped off to fill the van with diesel but I didn’t notice a large sign saying STOP LOW CANOPY until it was too late and… CRUNCH. All sorted now and the owner said it happens a few times a year!
This was a remarkable adventure and I was very proud to be part of it at the beginning. What they are doing is remarkable. But, as I sit at my desk writing this they are still sat on their bicycle seats in the wind and rain – I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing them good luck. If you would like to donate to their worthy causes then please use the links below.
Steve, Teams Director