As Nikki said, I have been working long hours recently, so when it came to writing a blog entry, all I wanted to do was fall asleep! But, after a full nights sleep, I’m back!
So, as the title says, we all have off days, however on my off days it seems that I injure myself on the bike. Last thursday was no exception!
We were on the way to Skipton, when just outside Gargrave I came off the bike again, or rather didn’t as the case was. The front wheel must have hit a rock and I lost balance, but as I was clipped on, I went down with the bike. Nikki, who was behind, had the horrible feeling that I’d broken my leg given how I landed. Thankfully it was just swollen and bruised. Its now one massive bruise!
As well as the huge bruise, I also got road rash. Now Nikki thinks this should be a game of spot the body part, so heres a poll for you to pick an answer from.
One thing about the day I found highly amusing was Nikki’s trainers. This was the first day that our cycle clothing was matching, making it clear we were doing something for the NSPCC. As my cycle shoes are a dark grey colour, Nikki had bought some new trainers, as her old ones had a hole in the sole. Nikki hates trainers! The amusing part was the quote of “I’ll happily pay over £100 for a pair of heels, but I’m not willing to pay more than £10 for trainers!”. To be honest, I think she’d rather cycle bare foot than wearing them!
Today we are both unable to go out on the bikes, even though we wish we could given the practically tropical weather we have here at the minute (its sunny AND warm! In the north of the UK!). The reason for this is that both bikes are currently in the shops being checked over ready for the trip, which is now only a week away! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it! However, tonight is another R2R milestone, the Charity Gig at Koko’s in Burnley. Its not too late to get tickets. Sahara will be headlining the event, then DJ Jim Random of NSB Radio will keep the party going till the early hours! We hope to see you all there! you can get tickets in the following ways…
Oh my gosh can you honestly believe it is less than two weeks now! I am so scared!! :S But by this time in twos weeks we will be underway on our second day and will have thankfully completed our toughest day as Day one is the longest and the hilliest!
But anyway I didn’t come on here to ramble on about my fear of setting off I came to tell you about some exciting things that we have happening!! I will go down in order of when the events are happening:
The Sahara gig followed by DJ Jim Random
Friday 23rd March from 7pm onwards
Ok so I am really looking forward to this event as its also going to be a leaving party for Dan and I, as it is just over a week before we set off. I wish to offer a big thank you to Sahara for setting this all up for us and kindly donating their time as well. I am also looking forward to hearing DJ Jim Random from NSB radio playing as well, as he will keep the party going until the early hours of the morning, so it is well worth buying a ticket to come down as its set to be one of the best nights Burnley has seen in a while. Tickets are £5 if purchased in advance and £8 if bought on the door. If you do want to buy a ticket in advance if can be done in one of several ways, the first is going to the Sahara website and purchasing directly from there, the second is buying tickets directly from Dan and I and the third is paying the £5 onto our virginmoneygiving page with your name and we will put you on the guest list. It really should be an amazing night and please encourage everyone you can to come down as after all you are going to have a good night and know that at the same time you are raising money for such a good cause!!
The setting off Party!
Ok so this is the big scary one, that no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to avoid! This is the day we set off. I admit at the moment I can’t tell you a lot of details. The facts that I do know is it’s going to be on Saturday the 31st of March we are setting off between 9 and 9.30am so people should get there from 8.45 onwards, it’s going to be on the High Street in Rishton, I am going to ask if we can do it outside the library, but need to check that! There is also going to be the press and a film crew there. This event won’t cost you anything, more than anything we just want a crowd to wave us off! If you would like to cycle the first few miles with us, I know a few who do, just bring your bike along and join us at the start line!!!
Come and join us at the start line!
The finishing line party!
Now I admit this one I am looking forward too… why? Because it means it will be over and we will have completed it!!! Seriously I can’t wait, I will be so amazingly proud of myself, though I have a feeling my emotions will be running so high that I probably will just burst into tears as soon as I see my parents! But as for the arriving party, its going to be in Rimbard manors courtyard from 2pm onward (that’s french time obviously) on Sunday 8th April (Yes that is Easter Sunday). There are drinks and buns and the mayor is going to be there to greet us! Its going to be such a party atmosphere, with union jacks and French flag’s galore!
Come and join us at the finishing line party!
So they are our upcoming events which are worryingly not long off now, we both hope to see you at one or more of the events. If you can’t make it though please consider supporting us by donating at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge and of course you can follow our entire progress on our blog! Thank you.
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!!!
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?
As the title suggests, I am knackered! I honestly don’t know how I’m still awake after getting up at 5:30am for work, and also cycling to Burnley today. So, I shall make this short.
Today, thanks to my Grandma, I got a cycle coat (given the weather of this country, always useful!) and a pair of mens cycle leggings (again, with winter drawing ever nearer, useful piece of clothing).
I am now currently working on a poster design for R2R as many shops have said that they could put a poster up for us. Once created, keep an eye out for them in shop windows.
Sorry this is a bit late, I’ll keep it short. In my head it’s still Friday.
This morning I bought a pannier bag to go with the rack I bought yesterday. Oh, speaking of yesterday, the bike went to be fixed. It’s chain guard has been replaced and the gears and brakes tuned. After this was done I cycled home from Burnley town centre, tackling Greenhead Lane along the way (a long, steep in parts, uphill climb). The map of the route taken can be seen at http://j.mp/pLzJ0R.
I finished work tonight at 11pm and had the bright idea of going to the supermarket on the bike (bear in mind that taxis round here drive like manics at any hour, so for a trip on the roads, one takes ones life into their own hands!). The route taken was pretty short (4.26miles), but I was knackered when I got home! I think it was partially caused by the 5 litres of water I was now carrying. However, on the plus side, even after just one week of riding, I can feel myself getting fitter, so after 6 months, I should be able to cope with the pressures of the ride to France. Whenever I could feel myself tiring, I would pick points I had to make it to, then upon reaching them, pick another point. Basically lying to myself that I could get off and push when I got to the point. It worked though! That along with random tunes popping into my head in an attempt to block out exhaustion.
I’ve just glanced at the R2R Facebook page and seen Nikki’s post:
“Nikki: Been struggling with a migraine all day so no progress on the bike 😦 Hope Dan has done better than me today!”
I hope that Nikki is feeling better soon!
And so, given the time I shall call it a night, however please, If you haven’t already done so, take a look at www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge to read out mission statement or to donate.