Day 8 – The more the merrier!

Dan and I awoke with a spring in our step… ok so that is a total lie being that both of us felt like we were actually dying by this point, however we also knew today was our last full day of cycling as the final day was only going to be a half day. Surely we could push ourselves through another full day of pain!

So I bet you are asking yourselves just how did the above picture get taken if we are both cycling… well we did have another reason to be pleased today… we had the amazingness of an entourage!!! Think Tour Du France support cars! (Ok think Tour Du France if that too is a big green Range Rover covered in NSPCC balloons and posters!) Said support car was driven by Nikki’s very lovely Daddy and had in her mother, sister and brother all wearing very fetching green NSPCC t-shirts, to the french we must have looked like a bunch of escaped mental patient, or just simple ‘The Crazy English’.

The support from Nikki’s family was especially appreciated today as both Dan and I were starting to flag, now that’s putting it nicely! They did for us the best thing possible… they put all our panniers bags in the back of the car thereby making our wonderful bikes as light as a feather. Brilliant idea yes? That is until we hit wind, suddenly our bikes were so light Dan and I struggled to keep control of them as they felt very very different to the bikes we had been riding and had got used to over the last 7 days. To any one watching us it would probably have looked like it was wine in our water bottles instead and we were clearly three sheets to the wind! Of course this is already the recommended way to ride a bike in France, so we probably didn’t look that out of place!

The other slight predicament we came across with having a support car was they took our water. So although we both kept one bottle this we obviously drained quite quickly, not a problem surely we will just fill them back up at the car, that’s if we ever came close to the car again! We would see the car in the distance parked in the lay-by, a little burst of speed and we would be with them, so speed we did! We would get to about 5 meters away ready to stop and fill up, but noooo as soon as we got anywhere near they would set off again into the distance and stop. It was like a perpetual game of leap frog and we were losing badly!  We considered hand signals, waving frantically, weaving down the road, a flare if we had one, or even a siren (There was one on Nikki’s bike but alas it wasn’t loud enough!) anything to try and get the cars attention. Finally after about 8 times of doing it they did finally stop and allow us to fill up, their excuse for keep driving off… they were motivating us!! Uh huh… safe to say we were both already motivated enough thank you very much!

However we both got our own back. When we stopped to have a picnic on the grass, they all came and sat down with us… we looked like a lovely family of crazy green t-shirt wearers. As many of you cyclist will know, although riding the bike is hot work when you stop you feel the chill, therefore we went to put our jumpers on while we ate, as we opened the panniers bags it was like a mass exodus away from us! Safe to say the rest of the family didn’t eat much lunch after that… oh well that just meant more for us. One would think us and our panniers bags were starting to stink slightly!

At this point Nikki would also like to say a big thank you to her big Sister who is a trained occupational therapist. For the last two or three days Nikki had started to struggle with a pain in her knee and ankle, resulting in numerous pain killers and ibrophen gel having to be constantly applied, however with Kat part of the entourage today Nikki’s knee and ankle were nicely bandaged so she could continue on! That however didn’t stop them swelling and swell they did, her leg was now starting to resemble an elephants more than a humans! Thankfully we were near the end of our adventure and she would be able to rest it soon!

Nikki also encountered another problem today! Due to the consumption of food and water the desire to pee made itself know in a bad way. Now Nikki is not one to pee outdoors, in fact she has never done it before in her life, so unlike for Dan peeing in a bush was not an option for Nikki. That is until we had gone a further 2o+ miles down the same road and still found no toilet, by this stage the pee prance was actually painful for her and she was desperado! She was finally convinced to pee being a bush, as long as we never spoke about it (whoops there goes that promise!). So with a now thankfully empty bladder we got back on the bikes, less than 5 mins of cycling and suddenly we see a sign…. 500 meters and there is a rest stop with toilet!!! Safe to say that is the loudest Nikki has ever cursed!

While cycling through one of the numerous small towns France has to offer, we became separated from our entourage vehicle due to a diversion. The diversion sent them round the outskirts of the town but as we were on bikes we saw no reason why we couldn’t go through it, upon cycling about 100m down the road we found out just why there was a diversion…. one big ass fun fair!! Safe to say we had to get through it as fast as possible, as never mind Nikki’s head, Dan’s head was ready to explode with all the different sounds coming from every stall! We think each stall holder was having a competitions with the other stalls on how loud they could be and how many songs they could play, mix that with the sound of the children laughing and screaming and we were glad when we got to the end of it. I think it was possibly the most surreal moment of our day and not anything that we had expected!

After what had been a long and interesting day we were both very glad when the Largeon sign came into view, not much longer to go now! Upon arriving at the house there was such an amazing atmosphere, we were greeted like heroes returning from battle, OK so I admit that that is a little dramatic but you try cycling for 8 days and trust me you will feel that that is the response too! Keith and Jocelyn, our host for the night were really really lovely, we both can not thank them enough. They even agreed to doing our washing, though I imagine they probably needed clothes pegs on their noises (that or full on gas masks) as they put our washing in the machine. When we got to their house we were also greeted by a family friend of Nikki’s, the Blot family! It was lovely to see them and the thought that they had driven so far just to come and see us and wish us luck meant so much, although trying to follow a french conversation while so tired certainly had its problems. Dan and I were also well aware of the state we probably looked, with our sun burnt faces, crazy helmet hair, elephant leg, nasty clothes and of course that horrid stench that was now following us everywhere… if we had been Sims we would have had a green fog surrounding us! But the Blot’s didn’t seem to mind, or at least were polite enough to not mention it!

They stayed talking to us for about an hour and when they left we were finally able to grabs showers each and put on clean clothes, this was especially needed as the Hall’s (our hosts) and the Henderson’s (my family) decided to take us out for a meal. Being able to wear a dress again and feel girly was amazing, I can only imagine Nikki felt the same! (I am joking of course it was Nikki wearing the dress not me!).

The meal was lovely, though I think due to just the sheer exhausting we both found eating a full meal a little difficult, however our left overs were bagged up ready for the day after ( it was pizza, so easy to box up). Though the strangest part of the meal was that everyone in the entire restaurant seemed to know exactly who we were and what we were doing! It was like being minor celebrities, the feeling was rather freaky… although that wouldn’t be the last time on this trip we felt like celebrities…..

Thank you to everyone who supported us while we were doing this, we really can not thank you all enough! Our donation page is still open if you would like to contribute. Please go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge and remember all the money raised will go to the NSPCC to help prevent cruelty to children! Thank you so much!

Nikki & Dan xx

 

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“Advice after injury is like medicine after death”

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!

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…

Of course I would be the one in the armchair!

Of course I would be the one in the armchair!

Nikki xx

“Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.”

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!

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!

Nikki xx

 

Donations, Donations, Donations!

English: An appeal for funds by the NSPCC made...

Helping to raise money for the NSPCC

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:

Bad bad head day!

(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. Our shiny voucher from Tesco Great Harwood 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.

Nikki xx

 

 

We are becoming famous… or maybe infamous haven’t decided yet!

Good evening all!

You find me tonight in very high spirits, much better than the slightly glum mood I was in the other evening and that is because things are finally starting to happen. In fact two close friends of Dan and I have just got back from a holiday in Australia; yesterday when they got home they sent Dan a text asking how things where going with R2R and I think Dan summed it up perfectly…. things have literally hit warp speed!!!!!!!

It would seem we only have two nights accommodation still to find, but I will say more on that when everything is fully confirmed, I don’t want to go jinxing things and put us about 50 paces back! We have also had emails from several newspapers and magazines, as well as an email from Channel 5 saying that ‘Live with Gabby’ might be interested in our story… all very positive stuff.

The new collection boxes and posters are now in production and I have to say a big thank you to Staples in Burnley for helping us to print them. Seriously soon you won’t be able to walk around your local town without seeing us!

On Friday afternoon if you had gone to Accrington Asda or Accrington Tescos that certainly would have been the case, and not just because we were in the store obviously. No, that would be because we had ANOTHER newspaper article come out and so I of course turned the top newspaper over to our page…. well you would have done the same thing too!!! The article was on page 28 (ok so not quite front page but we’ll get there) of the Accrington Observer. Here is a rather shitty iPhone picture of the article that you will all just have to cope with until Dan scans it in for me.

Our Accrington Observer article

The article was written by Jon Macpherson and possibly the best bit is it uses one of our own photographs kindly taken by my father, and no cheesy arms in the arm shot! The article is also really well written, no cheesy gimmicky lines like, ‘Nikki the Funeral Director is undertaking the challenge’ (I kid you not that was in the last article). The article got across what we are doing, why we are doing and I am really pleased with it. The interview that I did over the phone lasted about 20 mins Jon asked loads of really good questions and made sure he got the donating web address correct, he even rang me back a few times just to make sure he had all the facts 100% correct.

The only down side I have to the article…. once again I am ‘A Rishton Woman’ Why does this make me feel like I am ancient?!?

I was so pleased with the article that I was showing it off to everyone in the queue while I bought 6 copies!! I then made sure it was on view in the car while we did our chores.  Yes I really am that sad to be around, I bet you all have sympathy for Dan now that he is going to have to put up with me for 9 whole days without any peace!

Thank you once again to Jon for the lovely article, I am very very pleased…. onwards and upwards, next step…. TV land!!!!!

I have just realized that my last two post didn’t end with an amusing picture… what is the world coming to? So I thought I would share this one with you (warning nothing to do with the post at all!) this is the Air Forces’s latest invention:

Like to see that one get off the ground!

Thank you for all the support, if you, or someone you know, would like to donate please go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge

Nikki xx

A short post… well short by Nikki standards!

I am getting so tired of hearing no’s…. or worse not hearing anything !! 😦

Trying to get our route, food and accommodation sorted as you can imagine its frustrating to say the least when no one ever fricken gets back to you! A whole new batch of emails went out tonight so fingers are crossed!

However there has been some good news this week, we have done a few newspaper interviews. The best bit however is they let me use our own pictures! Yay! So no tragic reaching for the stars pictures, which I am sure you are all heartbroken to hear. If we go on the website as well I will of course post a link. Everyone seems to be focusing on the fact I was ill, but if it gets people to read I am happy for people to know what its like, and if it even helps someone else all the better for it!

Other news this week, we have done several bits of filming at the gym. You can just tell how much I loved that, I am the girl who hides at the back of the gym and keeps my head down and tries not to be noticed, suddenly there is a camera pointed right at me as I work out! Oh joy of joys! Hopefully it will all be worth it for the documentary. As I said we did several bits of filming, the other was an interview with DW Fitness Blackburn’s manager Lyndan. He gave us some really useful information, we are both so very grateful for, but that has scared me just a little bit, and just when I was starting to feel more confident! :S

Brooches also still selling well on eBay, also the collection boxes we have out and about are doing remarkably, possibly as they now have photos of our ugly mugs on them! But so far they have raised over £50 and we still have another two full tubs to count! Big yay!

Speaking of our ugly mugs, Dan has designed a new poster which is now out and about all over the place. What do you all think:

Our pretty new poster!

Opinions always appreciated! Its lovely and dark and stormy just like my mood tonight, if people continue to fail to get back to me!!!

So that is pretty much all I have to tell you at the moment. Have a big ride planned for this Thursday and Friday, so I will be able to tell you all about that over the weekend, and of course answer the question I am sure you will all be dying to know…. did Dan’s bike break again?

Right then beddy by bo bos time for me, think I have done enough for one night! Tomorrow back on the emailing and phoning for just a few more rejections! Thank you to everyone who is continuing to support us both and the crazy challenge we are undertaking! If  you or anyone you know would like to donate you can either at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenege or in one of the collection boxes either at Spar, Barrowford or Rishton Funeral Service. Thank you.

Nikki xx

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm”

Hello all….

Dear lord it feels like a life time since I talked to you all…. I hope everyone has had an amazing Christmas and Father Christmas brought you all that you asked for. Did everyone enjoy their New Year too, anyone already broken their New Year Resolutions yet? Can you imagine what mine (and probably Dan’s) are? Yeap you guessed right, get on with training and make it to France in April!

So today I came back from Sheffield where I spent new year and it is the first day of the new diet… yeap that’s muchos fun…not! I am sure dieting will go easier though at least I hope so, if nothing else having stopped all* sweet things and alcohol. I will at least feel healthier if nothing else, that’s of course if it doesn’t kill me first!

I have to admit over Christmas I have felt excited to get back on my bike, which is something I didn’t think would every happen, but I can officially announce that yes I was looking forward to riding my bike. However notice my use of the word was, my love for my bike vanished almost instantaneously today, although I hope you will be slightly impressed with me… So here is what happened today….

It all started on Boxing day (For all our none UK readers Boxing day is the 26th December)  as it was the last day my parents where in England we went and did a bit of sale shopping, while at M&S cafe I had a packet of crisps (clearly wasn’t on my diet then) and there was for some reason or another a small stone in my crisp which I didn’t notice and bit down on, resulting in muchos pain and a chipped back tooth. No good I hear you say, but what has this got to do with your bike?!?

Well, here’s where, I obviously complained to M&S who where very good about it all, but said I would have to get it officially checked by a dentist before I could put a claim in, so I made my appointment for today…. Are you starting to get where the bike is coming into this story yet? Yeap you guessed it I decided to cycle to the dentist, which although wasn’t far only about two miles nothing in comparison to what we are doing in 87 days, it was in the worst weather I have cycled in!! The entire way there I was pelted with hailstorm that has actually left me bruised, and winds so strong they actually managed to keep pushing me off course!! I have since been told the weather is so bad as we are in the tail end of a hurricane, wasn’t I just the smartest person going for deciding to cycle in it! Although I was proud of myself when I got there and of course happier still when I got home to my nice warm house! Although some good has come out of me cycling there and back, any doubts Dan had that I have the determination to do this have now gone out the window.

If anyone is mildly interested in what the dentist said by the way, I got a slight telling off for not going to the dentist is 3 years (even quizzed me on if I had gone somewhere else!) but said my teeth where is very good condition and very well looked after (yes I am that much of a swat) however where the stone has cracked my tooth I am going to have to have a filling… my first one in my adult teeth! 😦 Although I did learn something new today, over the course of the last three years all four of my wisdom teeth have come through and I haven’t felt a single one… I even told her I still didn’t have any!!!!

Have to say if this windy weather continues for much longer its going to put a serious dampener on training, I may just have to find a way to use the wind to my advantage… maybe a little bit of extra power!!

Wind power!!

Well no doubt I have bored you all enough, but I do want to say a really quick thank you to everyone who has so far donated as we are now over the £200 pound mark, if you too would like to donate and help us to reach our next mile stone, please go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge where all money raised is going to the NSPCC! Thank you!!

Nikki xx

*Except on very special occasions.