Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Trust Barges’

I’m not going to say too much this week, mainly because I haven’t got much to write about. This is possibly a good reason to seek out another adventure, most likely on a cruise ship. There is however a couple of news worthy items (in Podge’s world they’re news worthy anyway) I will mention.

1) My breathing has improved, though there is a twist 😦

2) WheelsForRotary – Ride to Remember in July is Cancelled, though all is not lost.

Health – Having reported to my Vet (more correctly referred to as a Doctor 🙂 ), ready to extoll the virtues of a dairy free diet I noticed his preoccupation with my pulse and readings from my recent ECG and blood tests. With respect to my blood test, he informed me that my glucose reading was 8.3 which could be a cause for concern but he wanted a 2nd test (with no food for 12-hours beforehand) before we got excited over it. My heart however was racing too high for his liking and the ECG suggested an erratic nature. This meant my heart was  not very efficient and so not oxygenating my blood properly. So, next stop for me 1) Blood Test (Again) and 2) Cardiology. Boo. But on the up side, my breathing is improving. Yay.

WheelsForRotary – Clearly, I was over ambitious. Following the success of last years inaugural ride and raising over £5K for charity, my goal this was to repeat the event but on a grander scale and tweak the route so that we could visit the D-Day Beaches in recognition of this year being the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings. And, as it was the 70th Anniversary, I really wanted 70 riders to ride 70 miles a day for 7 days (70 days would have pushing it a bit). Well, I got a lot of good / positive feedback and positive responses from likely riders but I’m afraid the ride wasn’t to be. Confirmed riders just didn’t materialise – and so with such few riders, the event simply wasn’t viable.

There is however, an upside.

The ride has been rescheduled such that all we do is to ride [over a long weekend] from the town of Ligueil in France to  its twin town of Hungerford in the UK but still making a stop at Pegasus Bridge to recognise the D-Day event. And Asthma, COPD, Arrhythmia, Diabetes, whatever I’ve got will not stop from doing this ride and we’ll still raise funds for Warchild and Bruce Trust Barges.

So, it ain’t so bad after all. Yay.

Still means I’ve got to cycle 260 miles though. Boo.

So, with all this going on, Mrs Me and I feel the need of another cruise. Fortunately, we have a short cruise at the end of May when we join the Azura sailing to Bruges and St Peter Port with Alfie Boe. Not literally with him of course but he’ll be on board singing. I have ideas for next year (The Amazon) and even for the following year buy I need to turn them into reality. So for this long Bank Holiday Weekend, I will be perusing the Cruise Brochures and websites to see where I [need] to go.

I might also be getting my bikes back out of the garage to see if the wheels still go round, which I’m sure they., or, should I seek out a new one: Do I really need another one.

Mind you, Colnago have brought out the shiny new Colnago C60 for my 60th Year. Slurp.

So, this is to be my first post of 2014. What I’d really like to be writing about is our special cruise coming up in February this year, in fact less than 6-weeks away but I’m afraid I’ll have to wait a couple more weeks before I can do that. Save to say, that the event fills me with excitement, even more so than my 60th Birthday cruise.  No; this post is about a ‘call to arms’. An unashamed attempt to attract fellow supporters / cyclists and even wannabe cyclists. What am I on about? I hear you think. Well:

I want to raise £35,000 for two causes that I genuinely believe are worthy of significant support: Bruce Trust Barges and War Child UK.

How? By taking a maximum of 70 riders to cycle for 7-days in France visiting  Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno & Sword D-Day Beaches while also dropping south to the Loire Valley then heading back north to Argentan, a town which itself which was severely impacted by the D-Day events; and finally, onto Pegasus Bridge and Café Gondrée to regroup, exchange stories and bask in our own satisfaction that we risen to the challenge given and succeeded.

But, be assured, this is not in any way a race. This is not an event where only cycling whippets can take part, though they are welcome. This ride is for anybody and everybody, male, female, old, young, or even ancient like His Podgeness here. You don’t have to be an athlete by any means, those that know me can attest to that. For last years event we took one gentleman who was the wrong side of 60 and only used to the occasional ride between 5 & 10 miles. Yet, our structured / social training rides prepared him such he completed the event with comparative ease. Even for myself, with less than 50% lung effectiveness, and now the wrong side of 59 🙂 such an event is possible, though I do acknowledge I may be a bit slower and recognise the true meaning of a ‘Push Bike’. So, if there is anybody out there who wants to join me on this amazing adventure and help me raise that money for two really worthy causes, then either contact me direct though this medium, or register your interest via the website:

In the meantime, I shall start to compose my writing on our next, very, very special cruise.


First and foremost, let me express my heartfelt thanks to all those that supported me through my 550 Mile Cycle Challenge. To all those who supported me through donations via my Just_Giving page I would like to say a big Thank You: both the charities (End Polio Now & Bruce Trust Barges) and I genuinely appreciate it. For those who supported me during my training and the event itself, I also say Thank You: without you, I wouldn’t have been able to make it.

I’m not to going to make out it was easy because it wasn’t. In fact it was harder than I thought it would be. The combination of daily long distances, temperatures as high as 105f and a worsening of COPD did take its toll. But there are others worse off than me, which is why I take on, and complete these challenges.

While I will write a more comprehensive account of each day, this is just a brief recount.

We left Hungerford at the allotted time (mid-day) to head for the Ferry Terminal in Portsmouth where we were to encounter our first challenge of getting 6 bicycles and 7 passengers into a 2-berth camper van along with all the associated luggage and provisions including 18 Kilo’s of Bananas(!). One big problem was that the cycle rack on the van was only designed for three bikes, but with the aid of numerous zip ties, we were able to extend the rack’s capacity to 6 . I’m not sure if we could have taken to the public highway, but for boarding a ferry, it was ideal.

2013-07-07 20.08.00

Each day thereafter brought with it, its own challenges, low points and high points. The challenges, in the main, were distances and hills combined with high temperatures. The highpoint, for us all, was the reception we received from Hungerford’s Twin Town of Ligueil: they certainly know how to lay on a barbeque and their hospitality was second to none. The low point? It has to be me being taken out by a stupid driver who clearly wasn’t yet awake. As I was navigation round a roundabout, using the well marked cycle lane, a Renault 4 failed to spot me (a great big overweight cyclists in garish cycle clothes on a garish Colnago) a turned off the roundabout taking me with it. I was only bruised and winded but with a dented pride I just lay there gathering my thoughts before getting back up and continuing with my journey.

All too soon however, the ride was over and we headed back to England and Hungerford to a fantastic welcoming committee laid on by the local Rotarians and Bruce Trust Barges plus many more well wishers, all of whom plied us with drink and cakes (I think there was sandwiches as well). And then, it was over: we all dispersed and went home to rest and then rest some more.

Now the planning starts for next years ride……

Must Stop Cycling: Must Stop Cycling. . . .

Go Podge, Go

Blimey, time seems to accelerate as you close in the target. In this case, the 550 miles I challenged myself to cycle from Hungerford to Ligueil and back to prove that ‘The Old Codger’ can and to prove that COPD need not stop me from doing what I like to do, while also helping others.

At my last checkup with the nurse my obstructive lung lung effectiveness was 48% while my restrictive lung effectiveness was 49%. Now looking at these figures, this suggests to me that i’m effectively operating on one lung, which isn’t that good. My understanding is also that while my restrictive effectiveness can be improved by losing a bit of weight (too much fat restricting the movement of the diaphragm is bad) the obstructive part will NOT improve. If that’s the case then, ooh err, I’m in for some bad times ahead.

A hint at the possible bad times ahead came to the fore last Sunday when I was out on my 74 mile epic. As I ‘pumped those pedals’ onwards and upwards my breathing would get harder, as for everybody else. In my case however I was breathing in vast amounts of air (well, I thought it was vast amounts anyway) but I seemed to breathing back out the same. It felt as though while I was breathing I wasn’t getting the oxygen: that, was scary. Obviously I was getting oxygen otherwise I would be here and you wouldn’t be reading these words 🙂

I have a checkup tomorrow followed by a lung function check the Thursday before I depart and I will be interested to see what the figures are. In the meantime, the next 15 days are all I have to prepare myself for the big challenge which will hopefully help others. Others such as those less mobile than myself and would welcome the opportunity to enjoy the nicer things in life just like those more mobile. In this case, it is enjoying some tranquil relax time on canal boats: Canal boats that have been specifically designed to accommodate wheel chair users, such as those operated by Bruce Trust Barges who rely on charitable donations to keep the boats operating and even acquiring new boats. Others that I hope to help are those still at risk of contracting Polio.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease, and for as little as US$0.60, a child can be protected against the virus for life. If we don’t finish the fight right now, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed by polio in the next 40 years.

The above was taken from the End Polio Now web site. The site shows that we are so close to eliminating this disease. But my fear is that because we’re so close, there’s the danger that we may ‘take the foot off the pedal’ and relax. We must make sure we avoid this, we must keep going to totally eliminate Polio once and for all.  But this takes funds. This is why I’m riding my bike: To prove I can and to help others, so who will help me?

If you want to help me to help others then why not support me, and encourage me via my just giving page at

Now, I’m off for breakfast and to plan today’s training ride not sure how far yet but it will be less that 74 miles I do know that much 🙂

Go Podge, Go

How could anybody doubt that His Podgeness would not make the ride. He did but not without a couple of false starts as the trilogy of mishaps of the previous Sunday continued into a new Trilogy.

Having spent Saturday sprucing up his beloved Colnago and clearing all excess weight (Swiss Army Knife, scissors, the off multi tool, etc.), all was ready for the Sunday Training Ride. This was to be the biggest ride sol far with a massive from 40 to 50+ miles and so with some trepidation, His Podgeness along with Master Nicholas set off for the Library Car Park. As the rode in they espied Mike Howie (must get a better name for Mr Howie) whose initial greeting was hav you got an allan key? I’ve left mine at home and my saddle is at the wrong height. Master Nicholas was immediately despatched to source said tool to return with much haste. During this time Charles arrived and set up his 23 year old and looking all its age Peugeot mountain bike by which time Mr Howie was all set to go.

Just before the off however, His Podgeness did look down upon the Peugeot Mountain Bike and did decree that perhaps the steed was not really up to the job and suggested that perhaps a road bike, loaned from his own stable, would be more appropriate.

At the allotted time, the ‘famous’ four set off. “Arn’t we going the wrong way?” asked Mr Howie. “Don’t think so” said His Podgeness. Just then, there was a bang and the sound of escaping air emanating from one certain Colnago. With home being only half a mile away, they all set off to ‘Podge’s Towers’ to change the tube and set off again but then a brainwave was had. Why don’t we just change the back wheel altogether (just in case the wheel is at fault). Withe brainwave recognised, the wheel from the De Rosa was inserted into the Colnago and off they set: this time in the direction that Mr Howie believed to be the correct way.  But, the Colnago was slipping its gears and was unrideable and so after half a mile they returned to Podge’s Towers  to reinsert the back wheel back into the Tango and so, on the third attempt, they set off in the original direction which was as it happened the right direction.

After this series of false starts, all went well and although the Tango did occasionally clunk it’s gears, it was adequate for the day. The original intention was to head off through Little Bedwyn and then across to Kintbury, Newbury and then south to Whitchurch. Having lost 45 minutes through false starts though it was decided to just go for a ride and see where the roads went. Well, apart from looping around Newbury via Highclere, the ride went as planned. It was just after Highclere that the back wheel of Master Nicholas Colnago (yes, another Colnago) started to develop a horrid rattle although, while off putting didn’t ‘seem to affect’ the performance. And so, the four continued to a crossroads where Mr Howie said “here my friends, we turn right back on to the original route”. “Oh bother” said His Podgeness, “this takes up Watership”, “Yep” said My Howie, “but then, you did put it in the route Podge”. “Drat” said His Podgeness. And off they set, down then up, and up, and up and up until Hid Podgeness once again revised the ‘Push Bike’. Once at the top however, it was down hill virtually al the way to Whitchurch through some of the most amazing countryside. Then it was time to turn north and head for home towards the dreaded Faccombe Hill. This was where Mr Howie’s gears started to clunk and click whenever he needed to find just one more lower gear (his Podgeness had run out of gears well before 🙂 ). It was then that we realised and recognised the irony. On this ride were three state of the art bicycles made of the latest carbon fibre with the snazziest wheels and best indexed gears on the market and the only bike that was ‘sound as a pound’ was the 23 year old  Peugeot Mountain Bike.

Ando so, with pride just a little dented and newly found respect for the elder of the bike world, they all made their way to Downgate Club Hut for their well earned , now traditional, end of ride drink during which all carbon bikes were hidden, in shame, beneath the only bike that held out though the whole ride. But at least they all made the 52 miles.

Next week, who know but all did agree that the 16th would be the Great Western Sportive to which all would attend. Yeah.

Go Podge, Go