Peters 'Successful' Charity Bike Ride 2008
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Jump to the RESULT and pictures
1st March 2008. T minus 90 days and counting
Yes, I know, I'm mad. A 100 mile bike ride in 2 days for me, Peter Reynolds, whose only regular form of exercise is to get up in the morning...

I was asked by Richard Price if i'd like to join him and a group of friends to cycle the length of the Trent and Mersey canal in May 2008. I happily agreed without thinking it through. At least, I thought, a canal tow path means no hills, except perhaps around locks.

At the time of writing, we are just approaching Mum's birthday, she would have been 71 on March 5th, but she died after a long battle with cancer on 21st March 2007. I had the idea almost immediately to put the two subjects together, and dedicate my ride to her memory and try to raise funds for Cancer Research.

I'm using the JustGiving website which allows sponsors to pay via the internet with the funds going directly to the chosen charity on a weekly basis.

I initially settled on 250; not wanting to be greedy or hound people into giving, but the generosity of my colleagues knows no bounds and I passed this target within a few days. My new aim is to raise 500, i'm up to 375 at the time of writing.

I also collected my bike today. It's been in 'hospital' at Perry's Cycles in Wellington 'being serviced'. I knew it was a bit worn out, having been purchased very cheaply on Ebay about 4 years earlier, though I was surprised to get virtually a new bike back !

The bill :
2 x new tyres
2 x new 'sludge' inner tubes
2 x new pedals
Wheel bearings
New brake pads
Seat bracket
Pannier rack
Rack bag
Mud guards
Safety helmet
Various tools and spares for the journey

Total : 127.

Add this to some waterproof clothing and cycling gloves from dear old Tesco a few days earlier and the ride has so far set me back 145. More to come i'm sure !

If you would like to sponsor me, please visit

I cycled my bike back from Wellington to home, around 5 or 6 miles. It didn't take too long, but boy I could really feel it ! The big worry has been sitting in the saddle for 100 miles, but I think attention now moves to my knees which felt very sore. Must be an age thing although the effect of 20 years behind an office desk and the weight increasing over time is more likely.

I starting dieting at the end of November last year. I peaked just short of 17st, and today i'm just 15st 7 with a BMI of 26.  My clothes don't fit any more. My target weight is 14st 7lb for the start of the ride. I'm shedding weight easily and eating very heathily thanks to Tesco Diets. (note 2 mentions of Tesco so far, seek commission payment !)

My real cycle training starts on Monday night (3rd) There are four sessions per week. I'm using a book called 'Cycling for Fitness' which I bought in Dublin a couple of years ago. I'll check in after each session !

This has nothing to do with cycling, but this Greater Spotted Woodpecker
is a regular colourful visitor to our garden. Heather and I are members of the RSPB.

4th March 2008. T minus 87 days and counting
First training ride at 7am this morning - cold and frosty. Managed 30 minutes as per the plan - but the knees oh the knees ...

Heart rate reached over 150bpm at one point. (Oh add 29 heart monitor to the bill making 174 so far).

They say that fitness is demonstrated by speed of recovery. Well I got home, made breakfast, sat down ate it and afterwards I was still running at 104. So I guess I have a lot to do ...

Thanks to my new sponsors John, Kathryn and Robin Ogleby from the London Supporters Club.

6th March 2008. T minus 85 days and counting
I've posted a couple of links here to a map of the route, well the first few miles anyway. I'll add a bit more every few days. The first link shows the start point by the long tunnel near Preston Brook, just to the east of Runcorn. The River Mersey would probably just creep into the top left corner of the page if the text wasn't there. The route follows the red line to the South East into the 2nd image. Not much to see on these two pages, but the next few to follow possess a few more landmarks.
Canal part 2 - Dutton Canal part 1 - Dutton
The first bit. Likely to still be confident and smiling at this point. Click image for full size. Over the page ...

I must give thanks today to my new sponnsors (since last time), they are Chris Palmer, 'SkyBlue87' from the Coventry City Supporters Club, and Lauren, my Stepdaughter who firmly believes this will lead to flexibility with ongoing board payments !

8th March 2008. T minus 83 days and counting
Six more miles. Not a huge distance but Rome wasn't built in a day. I rode to the 'mother-in-law's' to put up half-a-dozen bird boxes in the back garden. They are in the enviable position of having dozens of mature trees in their extensive garden. We have been trying to attract birds to our own garden for weeks at home, and within 24 hours we get a call to say two of the boxes in her garden have residents !

9th March 2008. T minus 82 days and counting
Wonders never cease. Two rides in two days
and really starting to enjoy my re-discovered youth'; hell I might even clean the bike this week !

Knees still a concern !

Heather took the dog for a walk in Town Park with a 30 minute head start and I went and found her at-a-pace. Only three more miles today but it is habit-forming. Town Park is one of Telford's best secrets. We can 'almost' go from our house to Telford Town Centre, about 3 miles, without crossing a road.

12th March 2008. T minus 79 days and counting
The effects of exercise shouldn't be underestimated. I've shed another 5lbs this week and now stand at 15st 2lb which is 25lbs down overall. Working remotely has affected my ability to get on my bike this week, so i'll be checking the batteries in my lights and heading out before the sun rises.

My original fund raising target was a modest 250. That figure came and went within days, so I doubled up to 500. A 10 donation today from Kathy Coppin has got us there, so after careful thought i've set a new target of 750, with a number of promised donations set to be made.

Thanks to everyone for your amazing support, including recent sponsors Andrea Cross (good luck on maternity leave!), Heather Martin and Dave Melia on Tyneside, and Kathy Coppin who raised the donation total to 500 today.

14th March 2008. T minus 77 days and counting

One of those days. A meagre 1.75 miles and i'd had enough. Some days it's just doesn't feel right ... and the day got worse. A totally crap day at work - if it was going to go wrong, it did. I've decided I need some sort of dartboard on the desk where I can write the name of 'target of the day' onto the bulls-eye.

15th March 2008. T minus 76 days and counting

Hill Sprints. Hadn't heard of this before Kathy at work mentioned it. Did an internet search and found loads of stuff. It's about running up a short hill as fast as possible, before jogging or walking back down allowing the body to recover, then repeating. Guideline from Kathy was 6-9 repetitions; well I managed 4 on a steep 30 metre incline. Will try more later next week !

16th March 2008. T minus 75 days and counting

After spending the morning stripping wallpaper in the living room in preparation for the plasterers visit on Monday, I managed to cycle nearly 24 miles - two laps of Lake Vyrnwy in West Wales today accompanied by Richard. It hurts already, I could barely stand after the 2nd lap ! A hot bath helped (not administered by Richard I hasten to add !)

After the first 12 miles we took a breather and felt ready to go again. I know now that I can go the full distance with the right training. The 24 miles took around 2 hours which bodes well for 'the biggy'. The photo below is of me in front of the Lake Vrynwy dam around 3pm on Sunday, at the end of lap 1.

I receiving an overwhelming sponsorship donation today from Heather's Mum and Dad. They are always generous, but 100 is quite something. Thank you very much, it means a lot. I'm also very grateful to my other recent sponsors Lisa Howells and Stuart Nicholls. Thanks guys.

Peter @ Lake Vrynwy 16/03/2008

17th March 2008. T minus 74 days and counting

Two more bits of the route for you to explore. Click the thumbnails below for parts 3 and 4.
This is part 3 on the approach to Northwich. The section incorporates the well known 'Anderton Lift' built in 1875 by Leader Williams and connects the Trent and Mersey with the Weaver Nagivation 50ft below. Part 4 takes us past Northwich and on towards Middlewich 'which' will feature next time.

18th March 2008. T minus 73 days and counting

Went swimming with Lauren tonight. Managed about 30 minutes - not too strenuous; but pleased to report no lasting effects after the weekend bike ride marathon. Back on bike or hill sprints tomorrow.

23rd March 2008. T minus 68 days and counting

Didn't manage to do much on the bike over Easter weekend. Our work on the living room refurbishment is quite time consuming. Managed about 5 miles Saturday morning though. Only planned 3 but went off down a cycle track and became disoriented; rejoined a main road, went the wrong way down a hill before I realised where I was !

24th March 2008. T minus 67 days and counting

Bought a book called 'Cycle Rides in Shropshire'. There are 20 routes around the County with varying levels of difficulty. I'm going to try and tackle them in order at weekends. The first is around Oswestry totalling 23.3 miles.
Got some new sponsors ! Thanks to Diane Hughes at EDS, Andy Clark a great friend who works for Zurich (insurance) in Swindon, and my masseuse (yes I really have a masseuse) - Sarah Jones who runs 'Serenity' in Bridgnorth.

31st March 2008. T minus 60 days and counting

Good news, bad news. The bad first. Exercise regime has been almost none existent this week - if you discount laying wood floors, painting and decorating. The house and garage are in chaos due to D.I.Y. activity. Bike buried somewhere beneath skirting board offcuts and old carpet.

Good news, i've reached my 750 target. I will raise it one more time to the magical 1000; with the belief that I can collect some money on the day of the event. A big thank you to Jon Strange and John Bradbury (next door!) for some very generous donations; plus 50 from Dad, which I put in for him after he bought a band-saw for me from Aldi ! It made the floor laying a breeze !; though not sure why it still took four hours though meaning I missed Coventry beating Plymouth on Saturday afternoon. They only win when I stay at home ...

2nd April 2008. T minus 58 days and counting

Did some hill sprints last night. Had a bit of trouble. Took Josie, our 8 month old labrador who thought it was a great game. She'd wander off into the distance, spot me scrambling up a hill, dash over and jump on me before i'd get to the top. Still, managed eight repetitions.

I've also lost some more weight. I'm now 15st 0lb. About seven pounds to go to reach my goal.

Bike still buried under decorating materials. Will get on it this weekend. Last weeks planned long ride around Oswestry was cancelled due to the weather.

8th April 2008. T minus 52 days and counting

Not much to report really but thought it was time I checked in. The D.I.Y. stuff nears a close and i'll have more time to get out and about. Exercise this coming weekend will be in the form of garden renovation. Simon (my brother) runs a garden company and we'll be playing with giant tonka toys (aka diggers !) in our back yard. Apparently I have a ride-on wheelbarrow to drive.

I've had a t-shirt printed with a fundraising message which amounts to 'stop me and sponsor me' to ride on the day. I hope to raise the rest of the money this way. At the moment that looks like 2.50 a mile !

9th April 2008. T minus 65 days and counting

Date reset ! Due to a clash the bike ride has gone back a fortnight to 14th June. Funds update - back down to 740 as a promised off-line payment hasn't materialised.

28th April 2008. T minus 46 days and counting

Well I have been slipping lately, but with the living room and dining room now fully decorated i'm back on two wheels - starting tonight !

27th May 2008. T minus 18 days and counting

OK OK - it's been almost a month, but here I am back writing (and cycling) again. Richard visited Saturday and we covered around 22 miles around Shropshire, taking in Madeley, Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale, Buildwas, Eaton Constantine, The Wrekin, Horsehay, Little Dawley and Dawley. It was pretty tough. I've slipped back somewhat fitness and weight wise just recently, mostly due to Heather working away all week for the last few months and not being motivated to cook/train.

I'm glad its a canal path challenge coming up as I just can't do hills. The knees won't have it ! At one point on the ride while trying to cycle uphill I was stationary and trying to balance on two wheels while pouring with sweat !

The bike is worrying me too. I few creaks and squeaks have developed which will need fixing quickly.

Plans for the big event are much more advanced though. I have my train ticket to the start point, and we've fixed on Rugeley, 60 miles in as our overnight Travelodge stop.

Thanks to everyone who has sponsored me. I will complete the ride come hell or high water ! Actually, let's not hope for too much high water - that might just signify that i've cycled straight into the Trent and Mersey !

3rd June 2008. 11 days to go

Yikes its getting close now with just eleven measly days to go. I did some repairs and adjustments on the 'motor' at the weekend with a new seat stem in place. Got my padded shorts :) and a rather fetching biking top (which will surely emphasise my contours ?). 8 bottles of Lucozade ready to load up into the backpack and almost ready for the off. I've booked 13th June (Friday) off work to prepare. One feels I perhaps should be booking the 16th (Monday) off instead to recover !

I'm please to have obtained a more sponsorship from Richard Price my fellow rider, 'Anon' - thank you very much whoever you may be, Tim & Jo my great friends from Center Parcs, Claire Garvey; the first-aider with the cheeky smile at our Milton Keynes office, Jon Pennell who finally paid up ;), Judy Norville another champion first aider ! All-in-all we're over the 800 mark and there's every chance I can make it up to 1000 on the day.

12th June 2008. 2 days to go

I saw these really foxy chicks today ;)

I'd hate to think how much i've spent in preparation for this ride. I'm sort of glad I stopped tracking the amount on this page. I've added all sorts of clothing including essential padded shorts!. Heather got stuck into the shelves at Halfords; she must have thought she was out doing her own weekly clothes shop and got carried away ;)

Tomorrow is preparation day. The bike has been cleaned adjusted and oiled, and now its time to go down the checklist and pack all that is necessary to get through the first 60 miles before an overnight stop at the Travelodge in Rugeley. I know how to live !

Saturday starts around 7am with a train trip from Wolverhampton to Runcorn. By chance the rest of the riders, who are travelling from the East Midlands join the same train at Crewe. By that stage i'll be on the Mars Bars !

16th June 2008. One day after ...



That was the most difficult thing i've ever done. I apologise now to my fellow riders for my moaning and groaning at the end of day 1 !

In all we topped 100 miles cycling the length of the canal from the Mersey to the Trent. We covered around 65 miles on day one and the remainder on Sunday. I felt certain around 9pm on day 1 (still cycling) that I would not be able to take part on the second day and spent the next hour trying to work out my story; but by the time Sunday morning arrived I felt a sense of duty having collected so much sponsorship money to give it a go.

I salute my fellow riders Richard, Julie, Gary and Dave who kept me going throughout. I know these guys found it tough going in places especially with nearly half-a-dozen punctures between us, bits falling off my bike, cuts, bruises, sun burn, and my backside today feeling like i've been sitting on an electricity pylon - with the power switched on !

Things started well enough (ish). I turned up at Wolverhampton train station for the trip to Runcorn with bike and rucksack. I had a specific seat in coach A; so having watched the prior train arrive and depart, working out which end coach A was, my train appeared in reverse formation meaning the first bit of exercise of the day - sprinting down the platform through crowds of people only to be sent back to the middle of the train where the disabled seating area was.

The same ticket inspector was non too amused when the rest of the guys joined the train at Crewe with more bikes, blocking access and appeared ready to kick us off - but for some sweet talking from one of the guys.

On arrival at Runcorn we had a five mile ride to the start of the canal at Preston Brook.

I think it was then that the scale of the undertaking first struck me. A fair proportion of the terrain was quite rough going; grassed over, tree roots, gravel, bumpy. It made for slow-going in places; a pace we didn't really pick up until arriving in Stoke-on-Trent in the afternoon. By that time every bump was felt and I was sure my bike was ready to fall to bits. We made it to the half way mark late in the day after a series of punctures, and finally into Rugeley about 9:15.

We all gathered for a curry at 10pm; I lasted about an hour before making my excuses and going to bed.

Early on the morning of day two I eased myself gingerly onto my bike in my hotel room - just to see if I could. It hurt, along with the bits of skin i'd forgotten to cover in sun cream. The tops of my knees are a wonderful shade of lobster red, and very sensitive to hot water right now !

The rest of the guys gave me a head start of around 5 miles. I expected them to catch me quite easily, but the very thought of that was motivation enough to keep me going and stay ahead, along with the thought of the pain Mum went through for three years fighting the disease I was trying to raise money for in the first place.

The towns passed quite quickly until finally I reached Shardlow about a mile from the end of the canal and stopped for a break with Heather, waiting for the others to catch up (they'd been delayed by yet more punctures).

The group then sprinted to the finish line together and it was smiles all round. In all, some 105 miles completed by four athletes, and one weary representative of the Telford Fat Club; KFC taster-in-chief, Reynolds.

PICTURES. Apologies for any slow-loading, the resolution is very high to afford the other riders the opportunity to download and print.

The beginning
1. They all look very confident at the start.
From L-R : Julie, Richard, Dave, Gary
2. Not forgetting me of course ;)
3. The Anderton Boat Lift which conveys boats between the canal and the Weaver seen below to the left.
Have you seen this man ? Richard Price who also goes by the name of 'Tango Man'. You can't miss him !
30 miles in - already the longest distance i've ridden in one dash ... just 62 to go !
At the 'summit' - or where the locks stop climbing and start to descend once more. This tunnel is very long; and with the cycle track above blocked, we needed to cross a few farm fields to get to the other end.
The other end of the tunnel
'Turbo Gaz' at the half way point. Often seen as the blue streak in the distance with the flash of silver on top ;)
The fat one from Telford. Feeling the heat as darkness descends on Saturday evening. Still around 10 miles or so to the hotel at Rugeley at this point.
Who's a silly boy then.
The start of day 2, and I find it difficult to look at my bike seat never mind sit on it. Tango man only has one orange shirt.
Being so far ahead of the others, I thought i'd better offer some proof that i'd not jumped on a bus. Predictably the brewery sign is in the middle of Burton-upon-Trent.
Between Burton and Willington and I can sense home is not far away. Well, 15 miles anyway.
With just a mile to go I stopped for a break with Mrs R who was waiting at the pub. She'd packed an appropriate t-shirt. Didn't realise until posting this picture just how cream-crackered I looked.
This marker, just past the pub shows we've done the distance. Our expressions say it all; however, the real physical end of the canal was just another mile further on .... and we really wanted to do it properly so ...
Here we are at the end with stupid boy blocking the sign thanks to rushing to beat the camera timer.
Ah thats better.
And facing the other way where the canal meets the rivers Trent and Derwent. We really had done it. Well over 100 miles with transit to/from stations included. Money well earned. With gift aid added, over 1000 raised for Cancer Research. If you haven't contributed yet, there is still time - and ANYTHING would be appreciated.

Mum this was for you. It hurt a lot but it was nothing compared to the pain and suffering you went through and the sacrifices you made for many years. We love you very much and we all miss you terribly. One day no-one will have to suffer the way you did.


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