Taking bike theft to a whole new level!

Just a dead quick one as I only have a few mins at home while I get changed from the bike ride this morning before I head out again to try to get posters printed for the gig on Friday night. I will try to get you a proper blog post done later… I think it may well be time for Dan to do one after all.

But anyhoo as for my quick post, I saw this today while out cycling and had to post it…..

I know they say watch your bike in Preston as there is a high crime rate, but I didn’t think the thieves would go as far as to steal the wheel off this bike….

Taking wheel stealing to a whole new level!

Taking wheel stealing to a whole new level!

Hope that amused you all as much as it did me!

Speak to you all later, and thank you once again for everyone’s continuing support, if you too wish to donate please go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge thank you!

Nikki x

Its voting time!!!

English: Bikes lined up as part of the Barclay...

Image via Wikipedia

Good morning all…. a little early for me to be doing an entry I know, lets hope I am more awake than I currently feel and this doesn’t just end up being a jumble of words that don’t make sense!

Thought I would give you all a quick update on what has been going on with the world of R2R! As you may have seen from Dans last blog he has a new bike, finally death came to Cleatus. Am I allowed to say now how much I did not like that bike?!? As for this new bike, despite Dan having got it a week and a half a go I have yet to see it… why I hear you all ask?  Well I have been in Sunny London. Ok so the weather might not have been exactly ‘sunny’ but compare it to what we have up here its been practically tropical!

I bet you are all thinking I was down in the south for something glamorous like a TV interview… I wish! No I was there simply visiting family, but I have done some networking, telling the whole world it would seem about my bike ride and handing out so many cards! So fingers crossed something will come of it soon! Can you believe it is just slightly over a month away, time seems to be going so darn fast.

While in London though I did however hire one of the Barclay’s bikes to get around. Such a wonderful idea and so easy and cheap to us. The London roads however, now they are one scary thing! I thought I was about to loose my life so many times, you really have to have all your wits about you if you are going to cycle on the roads. I think the moment I got a little more freaked out was when I saw the sign calling for witnesses as a fatality had happened on Friday lunch time due to an accident between a cyclist and a coach, now I wonder which one ended up the dead one…. me thinks it wasn’t the coach driver!! Have to say all these people who commute to work everyday by bike in rush hour in the center of London, you have my full respect… in fact I think I would rather be doing my 70 miles a day for nine days than do that!

In other news, we have now been in the Nelson leader as well…. big thank you to Lauren (who I believe Dan went to college with) for doing such a wonderful article, that for once focuses more on Dan than me!

Our Nelson Leader Article!

We also have an article coming out today in the Sandbach Chronicles all about us passing through there, hopefully they are going to send me a couple of the newspapers, so no doubt you will be seeing scans of that one soon too! It really feels like things are starting to come along well! We still have a couple of nights accommodation to find but alas they are in France so I am going to get my awesome translator, also known as my little brother, to translate the letter for me so I can get that sent out to French hotels and B&B etc. We are also starting to get mildly concerned about lack of food…. yeap that’s me for you, always thinking with my stomach! We have written and telephoned loads of the big chain restaurants and supermarkets in the hope of getting some vouchers, so I am keeping my fingers and toes all crossed that something comes from all that, will keep you updated on how that goes!

Route planning is going well, though that is a boring job 😦 For every village and town that we pass through we are also contacting the local newspapers and magazines and sending out posters for people to put out in their shops, so hopefully everyone is going to know who we are as we pass through! Hopefully!

I am at work at the moment, yes I do occasionally work, hence how you are finally getting a blog entry, but Dan is coming round when I finish work so we can go on a ride so I can tell you all about his new bike in more detail tomorrow. Don’t forget that the poll is still open for what Dan’s new bike should be called.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to vote (Can you guess which are the suggestions I put forward?), and please check out our sponsorship page at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge don’t forget that all money goes to the NSPCC.

Thank you

Nikki xx

R.I.P. “Cleatus”

Hi all!

It feels like AGES since I made an entry!

There has been a development with my bike, that being that I no longer own it!

Nikki and Dan by the canal with their bikes

From left to right and above to below: Nikki, Dan, Betty, and Cleatus

At this point I think I should point something out. Nikki, as sad as she is (joking) has named her bike Betty, and thinks that my bike needs a name. Seeing as my shoes have cleats to clip onto the pedals, and also because the bike handles like something a hillbilly would drive, it got named Cleatus. As you all know, my bike, an Apollo Target, has had nothing but problems since day 1 (literally!), and so I was close to the end of my tether with the thing. Sunday pushed me over the edge!

Our original intention was to cycle to Bolton and back on Sunday. We set of and headed for the canal to cut out Whitebirk roundabout, which is one big ass, scary roundabout on the outskirts of Blackburn. All seemed to be going well, Nikki was keeping up, and I was testing out the new cycle glasses with a built in camera. While cycling along the canal Nikki noticed it looked as though it was frozen, so I stopped to throw a twig at it to see if it was. It was! We then set off again, or rather, Nikki set off. I noticed a strange noise emanating from the back of my bike. We spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out what it was, thinking it was the rear mudguard catching, but had no luck in fixing it. While riding, it sounded as though the motor off a hairdryer with wheels… sorry, a moped, had been attached. We decided to head into Blackburn to see if we could get it fixed. First point of call was Blackburn Cycle and Scooter Centre, hopeful as we were that like some other shops in the town centre, it might be open on a Sunday. Alas, no it was not. So we headed to the store the bike originally came from… As Nikki asked, does anybody in Blackburn actually know what customer service is? If at Spar I was to treat people in the way we have be treated repeatedly in Blackburn, I’d have been sacked long ago! The staff were either “arsey” with us and instantly on the defensive as soon as the bike’s problems were mentioned, or the equivalent of a zombie who’d had the urge to eat flesh removed! The woman who was “serving” us was also instantly on the defensive when we said it had been to Blackburn Cycle and Scooter centre. Sorry love but I think they know a bit more about bikes than you! After a while of me having to stay silent while Nikki spoke to them, it transpired that the bike was in worse shape than we thought. The front wheel was buckled, the brakes needed replacing, and the gears were shot at. All we could do was cycle away because no mechanic (and I use that term in the loosest possible manner) could look at it until today. Now, these people are supposed to have some knowledge of how a bike works…. how is it that while cycling back up to the canal we noticed a fault that they had not, and not just a little one, it was a biggie! The back wheel was wobbling about and catching the frame as the bike moved, hence the strange moped like noise! Now neither me nor Nikki are experts about the mechanical workings of a bike, however we both know that is not meant to happen! At this point we had to be picked up by my dad as I could not cycle on the bike, and I could not walk because I would damage the cleats on my shoes.

Fast forward to Monday. I took the bike back to the Burnley store of the shop it came from (where may I add, the staff are A LOT more helpful and friendly!) wanting a refund for “Cleatus”. When I told my parents that I was going to do this the night before, they both said “Take Nikki with you, she’s better at this kind of thing than you”… Thanks! It is true, but still! lol. The manager of the store said that he could either do a refund, or a deal on a better bike. I know that two men who work there are very knowledgeable about bikes and cyclists themselves, and so I returned later that night when they were both working to get their opinions as to which bike I should get for the 650 mile trip. The correct bike for the job was selected, I had to pay a bit more towards it, minus the cost of the Apollo Target and some discount, and I now have a bike suitable for the trip. So, I introduce to you all, the Carrera Crossfire 1…

Carrera Crossfire 1

Like “Cleatus”, the Crossfire is a hybrid, although overall the Crossfire is a much better bike, and the quality of the components is clear just from looking at it. Complete with front suspension, high pressure inner tubes in the tyres, a lightweight aluminium frame, and a 21 speed gear set, I am confident that this bike will get me to France! I have now kitted it out with “Cleatus’s” pannier rack and SPD pedals, however the tyres will not allow the mudguards to be fitted. Now comes the part that clearly has Nikki stamped all over it. The Crossfire needs a name. Personally I say Crossfire, but apparently it has to go to a public vote, so please leave suggestions in the comments below.

Now that I have had a new lease of life, please help support our endeavours to aid the NSPCC by donating whatever you can at www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge. Also, please “like” our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/r2rchallenge.

Thanks

Dan

Bike Mods

Hi all,

So… its been a while! I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year!

During our little break, I have to admit that I haven’t been on the bike as much as I should, mainly because of a promotion at work. As Nikki mentioned way back when we first started this crazy adventure, I have my own video production company, Bluevortex. As this is in its infancy, I also work at a Spar store in Barrowford. Over the Christmas period, I was running the place, and so had little opportunity to get out on the bike training. However, new year, new start; as of today (yesterday and today were included) I will be cycling to and from work each day, and days when I am not working, I’ll be out on the bike. Days when I can’t really be bothered going out (come on, we all have them!), there’s the exercise bike, although I am dubious about the stats from its computer!

Over the festive period, my bike has been outfitted with several modifications; I’m not kidding! My love of gadgets has extended onto the bike! For starters, the crankset (as I’ve said in a previous post) has been replaced with parts from Blackburn Cycle and Scooter Centre, so hopefully the chain taking out its guard will no longer be an issue. Secondly, I got a set of “bicygnals” for Christmas. These are basically bike lights , however, they have indicators! Also, using wireless technology, the front and back lights sync with one another.

Mounted to the front of the handlebars there is a tiny camera to capture action shots for the documentary. Apparently it records in HD 720, but I’ll believe that when I see it! For the £15 it cost from Groupon, I highly doubt it!

Finally, the latest modifications, which I have literally just finished adding, are mudguards and an iPhone holder. You might be saying “hang on, I’ve seen photos of your bike, and you already had those!”, which is true, but they have been upgraded. I recently received as a gift an iBike iPhone holder which encases the phone and also makes it weatherproof. However, due to the mount being the same as that of the bicygnals, both could not be on at the same time. Wrong! Using a bit of creative thinking, and some long screws, I managed to mount both items onto the handlebars, and both work perfectly! As for the mudguards, I cycled to work this morning, only to be hit in the face by all the water from the front wheel all the way there. This afternoon I bought a set of front and back guards and fitted them once I got home. I think I made things difficult for myself by not taking the back wheel off, and so had to remove the bike stand and the pannier rack in order to get to the areas I needed. I also now have a massive blood blister on my thumb where I trapped it in a pair of pliers while attempting to loosen a screw which had threaded. Even now, I can feel my heartbeat in it, although I suppose typing doesn’t help!

The big day is only 3 months away now! 9am on the 31st March 2012, we will leave Rishton, along with all our money. Cyclemeter will be tracking the entire journey so you’ll all be able to tell where we have got to along the way. Please help support our efforts and the work done by the NSPCC by donating what you can at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge!

Thanks

Dan

“It’s beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart.”

Evening all!

So once again it has come round to being my blog again…. now what to write about….

I could tell you all about the preparation  for the quiz, but I think I have pretty much told you all there is to tell at the moment, though I once again am going to take this opportunity to tell you how amazing the cupcakes are, you have to come the quiz just to try win these cakes!

So as I don’t want to bore you, what else can I tell you about…. I could talk to you about my fashion choices of late, but then again you are probably all a bit bored of that too….

Ok so lets see, that’s a no to the quiz and a no to my fashion choices, what else is there…. of course I could tell you about actually riding the bike, but that might be the shortest blog (even shorter than Dan’s 15 words). The blog about me riding me bike would go something like this: “Sadly I haven’t ridden my bike all weekend… bad me…. the end” Not exactly riveting stuff!

So I need something to talk about, other  than a blog all about The Notebook film as you know how well I would be able to do that, but it’s not greatly bike related…. I know what I’ll talk about…. CHRISTMAS! Just go with me on this one I promise I can make it bike related….

So I know I have said to people that I would prefer none bike related Christmas presents (I like pretty girly things not bike-y sporty things) I have decided I will make one exception…

If any kind person wants to buy me this I would be a very happy girly!

Isn't it pretty!

It’s so pretty! And no for anyone out there who things it is just a bike it’s not, this is an amazing Limited edition Chanel Bike! It has been designed by the one and only Karl Largerfeld and only 50 have ever been made. It has the finest detailing of any bike. The seat is designed by the legendary Brooks Brothers and covered in a quilted calfskin leather embossed with the Channel logo. The handle bars, trouser guard and bike pump are all covered again in quilted lambskin leather and all embossed with the Chanel logo. My favourite part of the bike? It has two leather quilted Chanel bags attached to the back panniers, and a leather quilted jewelry roll holder attached under the seat (because who doesn’t need a jewelry holder on their bike), all of which come with dust-bag and box and the bags can also be detached and used as handbags. If anyone wants to know about the actual bike (though I have to ask who cares about that part?) it’s an Shimano Nexus 8 speed, velo urban city cruiser bike, with internal brakes, dynamo and lights and was made in 2008.

Isn’t it just amazingly stunning! Don’t you all just want one… of course there is the small issue of the price. Its tiny really, I am sure you can all afford it, the bike is after all only £10,330.02 plus £226.04 P&P…. peanuts really! If anyone does want to be kind and buy it me for Christmas here is the link.

Now I do completely understand if people’s finances don’t quite stretch that far, so I will settle for the slightly cheaper Hermès bike, that’s a snip at only $3,500 (Although I should point out its cheaper because it doesn’t come with a bag attached like the Chanel bike). As I don’t find it quite as pretty I am not going to give it as much space on my blog. You can however read about it here: http://www.purseblog.com/hermes/the-hermes-bicycle.htmlThe Hermes bike

So as for my last picture of the day, afraid it is not as funny as the last one, but then again I think it might take me a while to top that one, instead though it is fitting with the Christmas theme of the blog. It’s a stunning Christmas tree completely made of recycled bikes! Now I have to say that is very pretty!!

And so here is where I say goodnight to you all. I am obviously joking about buying me the bike for Christmas, if you would like to do something thought, please consider donating  anything you can at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge all money raised will go to the NSPCC. Thank you so much.

Nikki xx

“I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and… I believe in miracles.”

Evening all,

I am so sorry that there have been no post the last few days, we have had some family drama and I admit that writing a blog post has been the last thing on my mind! But everything has settled down now and I am back with the blog.

So as there is not much to talk about with regards to training, I thought I would talk to you all about something that Dan brought up again today… my bike riding attire!

I know I know I am not your typical bike rider, but seriously can anyone really picture me waking up in a morning and putting this on:

Tradition biking attire...

instead of this…..

MY biking attire

and why? Because I, Nikki, and a vintage-aholic! I seriously love all things vintage and quirky. Even my home has vintage elements to it, so why should my bike riding be any different? You know my basket on my bike has a lot to answer for, every time I sit there and see my little basket while riding along the woody path to my grandma’s house I feel more like I should be appearing in Downton Abbey than Tour de France. Don’t worry I am not that crazy that I am oblivious to the looks I get while dressed like this on my bike, I am well aware that everyone thinks a crazy person from a time machine is riding towards them, but you know what… I don’t care! I love what I wear and I love how it makes me feel while on my bike.  Surely if I am happy and smiley because of what I am wearing, I am thinking less about the pain in my muscles?

So why did what I choose to wear get brought up again today? Well because I think I actually manage to impress Dan today by doing something I didn’t think I would be able to do. I wish I could say it was finishing getting to his house, or maybe getting up the killer hills from Whalley, they are things that I maybe should be working towards, but saying that it doesn’t mean I am not proud of my achievement. Today I managed to ride a bike in a pencil skirt!!! My excitement for this is purely because 85% of the skirts I own are pencil skirts so by learning to ride my bike in one, I have opened up the other half of my wardrobe for the winter season, big yay for me!! I can tell you are all so pleased for me!

Today I looked exactly like I had stepped out of the 1920’s complete with pencil skirt, silk shirt, red cloche hat (which by the way got numerous compliments) and my stunning red coat… oh yeah and of course killer black peep toes! Just to complete the look this is what I was listening to on my iPod:

(Yes it is from The Notebook – are you surprise? I hope by now you have all watched it of course so you should know exactly which scene it’s from!)

But this was just a one-off right? Surely I am telling you all this for the sake of a fun blog read and normally I wear leggings and trainers right… yeah not so much. On Sunday when I went to lay flowers of my granddad’s grave I wore a black 1940’s dress I bought from a vintage store in Manchester, my black coat, red leather gloves and my read beret and of course those stilettos again.

So this is where Dan and I differ slightly, I see no reason why riding my bike should get in the way of style and fashion and what makes me feel pretty, where as Dan tells me again and again I must get used to proper cycling gear as I will be wearing it when I cycle to France. So I ask you why must I wear spandex just to cycle across the country, can’t I wear my vintage clothes, wouldn’t you all rather see that on the film and photos?!?  I think it will make us stand out more and people more likely to donate, Dan thinks it will mean people won’t donate as they won’t take me seriously, what are your opinons? Should I go for cycle wear or not in April? Hey maybe I should go the vintage look whole hog and get myself a different bike… maybe one more like this…

A more fitting bike for me maybe.

Maybe bike riding is in my genes… while researching my family tree I have found out that my great-grandfather, Ernest Rogers, was a Postman at the turn of the 1900’s. He had the uniform, the bike and everything. His route was round Wavertree and Edge Hill in Liverpool. So if he could do each day, everyday for miles why can’t I?

Mr Vintage Postman

In other news, training on the bike is going well, Dan is planning a crazy route but I will let him tell you about that with his blog entry later in the week, and planning is definitely full steam ahead with regards to the quiz night on the 8th December. I am so grateful to the wonderful generous contributions from the local shops and businesses. The quiz night is sure to be a wonderful evening so I hope to see you all there!

So I am afraid this is where I am going to leave you all for tonight, but of course not without one last amusing picture. While searching for the above picture of a vintage bike, I came across an early invention of a tandem bike… now I just have to convince Dan how much fun it would be to ride to France on this….

A bicycle made for two.

If you are enjoying our blogs and following our progress on this long journey please consider supporting us and donating at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge all money raised will go to the NSPCC to help stop cruelty to children. Thank you.

Nikki xx

p.s. Today’s worlds longest titles comes courtesy of a quote by Audrey Hepburn.

“The one thing that turns dreams into reality is effort” – Boy am I feeling the effort

Pour lire dans le clic français ici 

Can you believe its my time to write a blog again, it feels like it was only the day before last when I was sat here writing one… oh, wait a minute….

I am afraid I don’t have much in terms of exciting new developments to tell you as Dan seems to have covered a lot of it. As he mentioned in the last post we have a huge thank you to say to Linden at Blackburn DW Sports fitness for granting us guest membership to the gym until our proper memberships come through from head office. Yesterday Dan and I took advantage of these memberships and went to the gym. I admit I am not the biggest fan of the gym. I am so self conscious and worry that people are watching me, and as a pale little red-head I am well aware of just how red in the face I go with any form of physical exertion… it’s not what a lady should look like. I probably look more like Bridget Jones than I would like!

Although the thing I do love going to the gym for… the swimming pool and jacuzzi! I will happily put up with the horror of getting into a swimming costume if it means I get to spend time in the water, I am such a water baby at heart. Can you guess what my favourite Disney movie was as a child?

I know I said above I had nothing greatly new and exciting to tell you, but I have just realised I have the most exciting news to tell you all. News which I am sure you have all been waiting for with bated breath to hear….

….

…. My bike is fixed!!!!

I know, how exciting! The wonderful people at Blackburn Cycle and Scooter center have looked over my bike again (I am sure they must have got annoyed with me keep taking it in) they lengthened the gears cable and now it doesn’t seem to be having any problems. So fingers crossed this is now it completely fixed! I will certainly be testing it and you know keeping you all updated about it, whether you like it our not!

Tomorrow morning I am hoping to get up early and cycle the 5 miles to the gym and use that amazing pool again! On Sunday the lovely Georgina is putting up with me as well as she has offered to come on a bike ride with me, of course she may later regret that decision when I keep asking her again and again to cycle with me, but I need as much encouragement as I can get at the moment!

So to end my post… I haven’t done many pictures this time (shock horror!) so as is my way I though I would end with one. Sticking with the exercise theme of the post I thought I would share this picture with you, I know if nothing else it will tickle my mother.

Getting children to exercise can be hard these days, seems this mother has found a way….

 … by stealing her sons bike and getting him to chase her!

Thank you so much for continuing to read our blogs and supporting us, to read why we are doing this and to donate anything you can to this wonderful cause please go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge Thank you so much.

Nikki xx