Good morning everyone… I am so sorry I dropped off the radar for the last few days. Don’t worry I haven’t had a change of heart and am backing out I am still very excited for the set off on Saturday morning. The reason however for my absence is all due to a family emergency. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook will already know what happened, but for those of you who don’t I will explain….
On Monday Dan and I had had a good day on the bikes, I was full of confidence etc and I had just home and got my laptop out and was starting to think about going over the route and getting things ready for packing etc, when I received a phone call from my grandmothers neighbor. It seemed my grandmother has fallen in the garden (and yes it was a fall in the garden and not her having a go on my bike as suggested) and looked to have broken her arm so they where calling for an ambulance!! 😦 So I ran downstairs, got my bike out and cycled to my grandmothers, though I think my bike may have had this modification added….
Added bike rocket booster!
I managed to make the journey to my grandmother’s house which is just over a mile in the grand total of just over three minuets! I think that is a brand new speed record for me! It’s safe to say I am definitely loving this speed thing now!
As for my grandmother I got to her house is time for the ambulance arriving and off we went to A&E (If anyone is wondering why the grand-daughter went to hospital it’s because I am the family member who lives closest) anyhoo… my gosh I did not expect to be in casualty as long as we were! We arrived at 7.30 ish and left at around 2am! Yes you read that right 6 and half hours in A&E with a 86-year-old lady! I was rather disgusted!
Turns out that she has badly broken her left arm, fractured her hand and needed stitches in her head. Add on to that the two bandaged legs she already has from ulcers and she is starting to look a bit like a halloween mummy! Anyway as you can imagine trying to get the carers and everything sorted for her has been a slightly stressful job, and has delayed me slightly this week with planning, not something I needed! So now we are on hyper drive to make sure that everything is ready for our little trip at the weekend!
I can’t believe it is counting down so fast, though I actually think I have gone past fear now and a starting to look forward to it! On Saturday morning there is going to be a film crew as well as photographers all coming to watch us set off, so lets hope I don’t have a wiggly start as that wouldn’t look good! On day one a good friend of ours has decided to cycle some of the way with us, so feel free to do the same and join us as well. We also have a few friends meeting us in Manchester and happy to buy us lunch, so that gives us something to look forward to.
If you haven’t donated yet I really urge you too, as 650 miles is still seeming a long way to cycle so any support would be so greatly appreciated by us both. If you do want to donate you can easily do so on our website which accepts PayPal as well as all major credit and debit card, remember all money raised is going to the NSPCC, the web address is http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge thank you to everyone who has donated so far, it really does mean the world to us.
Finally as we haven’t had a funny picture in a while though I would end on this one… strangely enough Dan didn’t seem to like this idea of a way for us to get to France…
How come whenever during training we have gone out on the bikes its has usually been cold and maybe just a little bit wet as well but today when the weather is lovely and sunny and all I want to do is go out on my bike (yes you did just read that right I WANT to go on my bike!) my bikes is currently at Blackburn Cycle and Scooter center having it’s last check. In fairness it is obviously important that the bikes do get checked over as it is a hell of a long way that we will be cycling on them, and Betty has started to develop a few click-y noises, but we will be re-united on Monday. Dan’s bike is also in having its MOT at the moment and will have his back tomorrow.
I have to say my emotions feel a little bit like they are all over the place. I am scared and occasionally just realise exactly what it is that I am doing and start to panic and my heart beats crazy fast and I feel like I am about to be sick! But then other times I get really excited about whats to come and I think about crossing that finishing line and how amazing it is going to feel knowing that I have done this. So yeah I feel a little bit like a wreck at the moment and can’t believe I have another week of dealing with these emotions war-ing inside of me! Grrr!
But the big news of the day: THIS TIME NEXT WEEK WE WILL HAVE SET OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How much of a scary thought is that! The last 6 months seem to have completely and utterly flown by, seriously can people believe it was 6 months ago that I came up with this crazy idea to cycle to France. It all sounded so easy when we planned it!
I just want to say a thank you to those who came last night, and thank you to Sahara as they where really good, but then again I expected no less! I had such a good night it was a brilliant send off!!
So our next date now is at the start line, hope to see you there!
Me and Dan at the moment with our bikes having their MOT's!
Thank you to everyone for all the support these last 6 months and who are continuing to support us. If you would like to like to donate just like Carl & Michelle, Georgina, David & Amanda, Tim & Esnayder, Matt and Les then please got to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge all the money that we raise is going to the NSPCC to help prevent cruelty to children, so please everyone show your support for this amazing charity!
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….
I know I promise Dan that I would do a blog post last night, but my head was bad and instead of being all bright and perky and ready to write a blog instead I looked liked this:
(Please no one ask me what I will do if I have one of my bad days while on the actual cycle as I have already had my mother ask me and the truth is I just don’t know!) Anyhoo, so yeah, that’s why I have to apologise to Dan about my lack of blogging as not even the prospect of laughing at Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on Channel 4 could get me out of bed yesterday!
But anyway back to whats going on in the world of R2R! For a start can you believe it is only 16 days away… yes you did just read that right I said 16 days, as in just over two weeks…. I am not scared yet at all, honestly….
Dan and I have been training, obviously, in fact Dan even got up really early on Saturday morning and went for a 3 hour-long ride before then going to work and doing a crazily long shift til 11pm, now that is dedication! If you want to have a look at his ride you can click on this link here. Then we have of course been out on rides together, in fact on Monday I went out on my bike instead of spending time with my Daddy on one of his rare trips to England so I would say I am pretty dedicated myself! Speaking of Monday’s ride I have discovered something I like….. SPEED!!! As we cycled along the canal I discovered that I liked going fast. Now if you are only just tuning into this blog this might sound like a strange thing to say as surely it is a very normal thing to like going fast, however, if you have followed me from the beginning you will know that I am the female equivalent of James May, I am Princess Slow, I am the girl who brakes when going down hill and who has never needed her top speed as she has never gone fast enough to warrant using it. After Monday that has changed, it is like Dan and I where racing and he struggled to keep up at times!! I admit at first I was a little scared I would go INTO the canal and not along side it, but when I got past that fear it was awesome!! Speed has a slight side effect on me though… it sends me a little bit crazy, just ask Dan about that, I think I maybe did his head in just a tad!
In other good news about our Monday ride, we spread the word like crazy about what we are doing, people seemed genuinely interested, and one really kind lady donated £5! I was a very happy smiley little cyclist!
Speaking of donations we are doing so well! More donations are coming in through the website at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge including a very generous donation of £50 from Tim and Esnayder. Donations are also coming in thick and fast from the lovely kind shoppers at Spar Barrowford where Dan works! Big yay!! 😀 We have also had £20 donated on a gift card from Tesco’s Great Harwood for food along the way. But the best news yet… we have all our nights accommodation sorted!! More about that coming soon, just watch this space….
In other news, tickets are selling well for the Charity concert that Sahara are putting on for us at KoKo’s in Burnley on 23rd March. More information can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/336810539702961/ Tickets can be purchased from either myself and Dan or from http://www.sahara-online.co.uk/ Tickets are £5 if purchased in advanced and £8 on the door, all the money raised is going to the NSPCC. We hope to see you all there!
Thank you to everyone for the support that you are giving us, we are starting to get nervous now but the continued support you are giving is definitely helping to quell those nerves! If you would like to donate please go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge all the money raised is going to the NSPCC to help stop cruelty to children.
Ok so here is a startling fact for you all… I admit I am from the Blackburn area. So now that I have dropped that bombshell I can go on to live a normal life… no I am joking! Obviously you all knew that I am from Blackburn, I don’t exactly try to deny it. Ok so that is a lie I try desperately to deny it and separate myself from this town but my accent give it away! I realise now you are all reading this and wondering what on earth this has to do with our biking blog, just stick with me and I promise I will get there. (Please take blog entry with a pinch of salt as is completely comical)
Now from being a child I have been raised as a Blackburner with one core belief…. Burnley is our enemy!!! Now this isn’t me being melodramatic (well not OVERLY melodramatic) as I know Burnley people are raised to think the same about Blackburners, it’s just a way of life! I would hardly ever tell a person from Burnley that I am from Blackburn (Not that I talk to many) and vice versa for them.
Now for all those people who aren’t from round here, read up on ‘War of the Roses‘ and you are getting close to the rivalry between us. Where this rivalry stems from I have no idea (maybe football is to blame, I seem to be able to blame football for most things!) but Blackburn and Burnley are hardly exactly light years away from each other (11.2 miles in fact), and we even all speak with the same accent… though I didn’t just admit that and I will deny it til I die! We both have good shops (though Blackburn is obviously better as we actually have a HMV), we both have good colleges (again Blackburn is obviously better though as our college is a university as well), we both have museums (or at least I believe Burnley has culture!), we both have a cinema and a bowling alley (You know what I am going to say so I will just leave it!) So where has this rivalry come from?!?
Burnley and Blackburn... Poles apart!
Now as I have got older, this built-in desire to hate and pick on everything about Burnley has caused problems, namely that majority of my friends are from the Burnley area, including our dearest Dan! I have had to also start to admit that Burnley is even better for some things…. namely its nightlife! The truth is whenever we got on a night out it is usually Burnley, and that isn’t just because my friends are there, it’s because Blackburn is dead! The last time my friend and I went round Blackburn we asked a bouncer where the best place was to go for some drinks and his exact words where ‘Get a taxi to Burnley!’… oh dear! So it would seem Burnley is finally one up on Blackburn.
But now I have to admit that Burnley has another thing going in its favour… It seems it has not yet contracted the deadly disease spreading over the Blackburn area….
Zombie Chav disease (ZCD)
I know this will frighten and alarm you, and you may even have come into contact with the disease, but don’t worry from my own observations of those effected it would seem it is not contagious unless you belong in the chav category of people.
Symptoms of the disease include:
Slow shuffling walk
Listless facial expressions
Inability to answer even simple questions
The sudden desire to include swear words in ever sentence
If you have observed any other symptoms of this terrifying disease I urge you all to write them in the comments below, I feel that people should be throughly warned… If you yourself have exhibited these symptoms I am afraid the only cure is death or exile! ZCD is an advanced form of Chav Disease, Chav disease has affected parts of Burnley so I can not vouch for its safety from ZCD in the future. For those curious, you can tell when I person has sadly moved on from simple CD to ZCD by the fact that their walk will become much slower and more slumped and their facial expression will become more blank as though they are staring right through you.
Now Dan and I thought that this frightening disease was contained to those on benefits and at the job center… how wrong we were…..
It would seem that it has spread to some of the employed people of Blackburn too! How do we know this I hear you ask, well it all happened when we went to return Cleatus to that large chain bike shop in Blackburn (told you I would get to the bit about a bike), we were greeted with a face much like this one:
The face of one suffering with ZCD
We could tell things would not go well… how right we where! There where unhelpful, and even slightly rude! I did my best to stay pleasant, yet even I struggled! Safe to say they would do NOTHING for us despite the bike coming from them and the fact it was clearly screwed! To say they are supposed to know about bikes, they didn’t even notice that Cleatus’ back wheel was hanging off and tried to blame the noise on the brakes and the gears. It’s safe to say this disease has reached critical levels if those suffering don’t even notice what is right in front of their faces! We left after about 15 mins in the store to go and thoroughly disinfected ourselves in case we had contracted the disease too!
(Don’t worry the bike story has a happy ending as the next day we took it to the Burnley branch of this same chain were we were greeted with actual humans and exchanged the bike for the new still-to-be-named bike, see below for the poll for your chance to vote on a name)
Now Dan and I were convinced this must be a one time occurence and surely ZCD can’t have spread further than that one shop, right?… Wrong! Last week we decided to get some posters printed and Staples have kindly helped us out! Burnley staples printed out 50 posters free of charge for us and Bolton staples printed out 40…. guess what we got a Blackburn…..
Someone with this facial expression:
Another example of ZCD
And safe to say we left with no posters! Once again the staff where slightly rude! I have found the whole experience of shopping in the large stores in Blackburn quite frustrating! Therefore it would seem I am going to have to review my thoughts on Burnley as it seems to be scoring quite a few plus points. At least Burnley has good customer service going for it, whereas in Blackburn I am not even sure they know what customer service is let alone how to do it well!!
Blackburn's customer service motto!
(I should just point out there are some exception to this in Blackburn and at times I have had very good customer service, so please if you work in Blackburn don’t send me lots of hate mail!!)
So now I am going to bring this blog post all the way back to me and my bike…. for those of you who have had the displeasure of seeing me out and about on my bike, I would just like to put your minds at ease that I do not have ZCD despite my facial expression while on the bike looking much like this:
Similar facial expression to my own!
So don’t worry there is no need to shoot me as I am not contagious. I am simply concentrating that hard on following Dan’s light and not thinking about the hills I am going up or the pain in my legs that the downside is it gives me that slight constipated zombie look! But despite how I look at least it gets me up the hills and keeps me going, otherwise there is no hope of us reaching France!!
As I said above the poll is still open to vote for what you think Dan’s new bike should be called, the voting will stay open until Sunday evening and the winning name will be announced on Monday! Oh the anticipation is killing me!!!
Once again I am starting this blog with an apology… this blog is really starting to look like de ja vu every time! But saying that this time the reason we have failed to updated the blog is simply because we have been working so hard… yes you did actually read that right!
The truth is we have been pushing ourselves and working really hard and by the time it comes to the evening the thought of writing the blog just goes straight out our minds. Or at least that’s what I have found so I assume Dan is the same.
So just what exactly have we been doing to push ourselves….
Well for a start, come rain or shine I am trying to get out on my bike everyday, and yes I am hating it just a little bit. I admit (and please no one shout at me) I am not going as far as I should be doing each day. I am only averaging about 20 miles (I did say don’t shout at me). But at least I am training myself to get on the bike even if I don’t feel like it, in my mind that will definitely help me in 67 days times, (why exactly did I go check how many days it was, I now want to kill myself!!) The other reason I have not been going as far as I should is simply because I seem to have a major flaw…. I can not seem to push myself. As soon as my legs start to ache I stop. This is bad bad bad Nikki I know all that you don’t have to tell me, however, when I am cycling with Dan I can just keep cycling, not even stopping, I get up to a good speed and the ache in my legs doesn’t even bother me. I am not going to tell you just what is different when I am cycling with Dan is… not yet anyway… you will just have to keep guessing on that one!
Then at night we have been planning the route and sending out countless emails and letters to company’s and hotels and guest houses, potential sponsors and newspapers/magazines, all so we stand a greater chance of actually getting to France! Although the amount of rejections or people just simply not replying is disheartening! 😦
The last week and a half I have also been dealing with the stress of trying to sort a new phone out, but that’s sorted now, I think! So yeah we have been busy stressed little bees, and of course we have been doing our normal jobs on top of that!
One thing that I have noticed has changed drastically since the new year is me….
I don’t know what has happened but my mind-set has completely changed, I assume it is because I am consumed by fear that I might die if I don’t try hard enough but what ever the reason I am definitely different. *Warning photos of a potentially disturbing nature below of me in flat shoes*
Nikki before New Year
My shoe filled happy world before New Year.
Nikki after New Year
My pain filled world since New Year!!
Answer for what has over come me on a postcard please….
All joking aside though I am starting to feel like we can actually do this, and we will make it to France. It is the most confident I have felt in a long time, hopefully everyone else has as much confidence in me as I have in myself. I do just want to say a big thank you to everyone who is supporting us, it really means the world to both of us.
Right well I have been on the computer long enough now, time to get back on that bike and get my legs aching a little bit more! If you would like to support us please go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge alternatively, our handmade brooches are now available to buy on Ebay, if you click here you will be taken to the page, there are currently 22 different ones up for sale! Thank you for everything.
As promised, I am doing a proper blog. A bit later than planned because as I was writing it last night, the day caught up with me, and I fell asleep!
So firstly, a few days ago, Nikki hinted that I had pushed myself the most I had done so far in training. This is true. On monday I cycled just over 42 miles! This trip took me from Barrowford to Gisburn (along the most dangerous road in the UK!), towards Clitheroe, through Great Harwood into Rishton, into Blackburn, back to Rishton, then to a friends’ house in Burnley.
According to Cyclemeter, 2012 calories were burnt that day! Strangely though, the next day I didn’t ache at all, in fact, I felt as though I could do it again! The only thing stopping me was the fact that I was working.
Throughout the week, I did several random trips, one of which was a 10 mile round trip to Burnley. All the way round the bike seemed to be having trouble gearing into 1 on its main gears, however, by the time I got home it wouldn’t move at all, it was stuck in 3! So, yet again, another trip to Blackburn Cycle and Scooter Centre! I should have just bought the bike from there! I’m sure that I wouldn’t have had all these problems if I had done! Needless to say though, after all the problems with the thing, the company it came from will be getting a letter of complaint!
So, yesterday… Lancaster!
All I can say is if you’re gonna go to Lancaster when temperatures are around -1, go in a car! It was bloody freezing! By the end of the ride, I couldn’t feel my fingers or my feet! Don’t get me wrong though, the actual ride was quite enjoyable!
Nikki and the bikes outside Lancaster castle
After seeing a few sights in Lancaster, then having dinner, we set off. On this ride we tried to implement a walkie talkie system to communicate with one another, as its hard to shout over the noise of cars, especially if you’re out of breath. First attempt at it and it didn’t work! I ended up holding the walkie talkie while trying to cycle as it had become unclipped. Obviously not a good idea! We did however manage to come up with a beep system on them to say when we needed to slow down or stop.
Because of being on bikes, for obvious reasons we could not use the motorways meaning we had to use A roads on our trip down to Preston. If the roads we encounter on the actual trip are any bit like the ones from Lancaster to Preston, I will be happy! I think I must be getting fitter because I didn’t feel to be overly exerting myself.
Nikki also did well with the roads, and any stops we made were generally due to sorting out her iPod rather than her having a problem.
While riding in the VIP lane (AKA Cycle lane), I noticed that all the bike symbols painted on the floor seemed to be different, ranging from what looked like road bikes, to mountain bikes. This gave Nikki the idea that on the actual trip to France, we should take photos of anything bike related that we see.
On a final note, I would like to know where the real Nikki is! Last year she wanted to cycle wearing vintage clothes and stiletto shoes, now, cycle wear and trainers! I think it’s clear that the real Nikki has been abducted and replaced with a cyclist impostor! =P
Who are you and what have you done with the real Nikki?