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Countries 7-9/50: The Baltics

3 July 2018

From 14 – 19 June 2018 I cycled North through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

I cycled solo. On Day 4, cycling through Latvia, I cycled 101 miles. Here are the stats:

Lithuania 145.79 miles, ave 10.65 mph.

Latvia 199.42 miles, ave 10.7 mph.

Estonia 141.93 miles, ave 13.4 mph.

Total 487.14 miles, in 5 1/2 days. Time total 41 hours 36 mins.


Countries 4-6/50: Benelux

29 April 2018

From 21 – 27 April 2018 I cycled down through Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

     

I cycled Holland with my friend, Caroline O’Donnell.

TOTAL mileage: 387.89

Holland: 154.48, Ave 7.9

Belgium: 185.72, Ave 8.8

Luxembourg: 47.69, Ave 9

45 hours 25 minutes, Ave 8.6 mph


Country 3/50: Poland – August 2017

20 October 2017

Poland was a dream. Long, straight flat roads that were generally safe and easy to cycle on which meant that we clocked up the mileage easily – 52 miles in the first afternoon without even trying. I cycled with Newall Hunter across Poland from the border with Germany in the West (Slubice) to the border with Belarus in the East (Terespol), a total of 473 miles averaging 11.8 mph.

Unfortunately there was a huge storm on Day Two which felled 100,000’s trees and cycling after that was occasionally blocked

 

 

 

 

 

but when the storm was at it’s peak we were looked after by Kristoff, who took us into his house to dry off and shelter. Thank you to all the lovely Poles who looked after us en route!


Poland here I come

29 July 2017

I fly to Poznan, Poland, on the 10th August to cycle across Poland from the Western border, near Frankfurt, Germany to the Eastern border with Belarus. I am cycling with Newall Hunter – a Grand Slam adventurer whom I met when I skied to the South Pole in 2014-15. Total mileage approx. 560. Thanks to Dare2B for some great clothing. Dare2b.

 


Off to Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania

11 May 2017

On the 27th May I shall be flying in to Tallinn – the capital of Estonia, to cycle Southwards through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, flying back out of Vilnius around the 6th June (I have work on the 7th!) My UCB – Unique Cycling Buddy for Estonia will be Valentine Ogunba, who I welcome to the 50 Good Turns team. The whole distance should be around 500 miles – plus I need to do my three Good Turns, one in each country. Watch this space – and Facebook – for pictures and updates.

Postscript – well this one didn’t happen. Turned up at Heathrow T5 all packed and thanks to British Airways IT problem, all flights were cancelled and I couldn’t find another so had to postpone.


Country 2/50: Malta – 3rd December 2016

3 December 2016

When I completed my first European Country – 800+ miles down the length of the UK – I knew that (a) I could cycle long distance, (b) that ’50 Good Turns’ was a brilliant and valid concept and (c) I wanted to maintain momentum. I had a lot of paid work booked into the diary in September and October, and couldn’t feasibly cycle a cold country in winter whilst carrying all my wintry kit in panniers (the 4-season sleeping bag alone would take up a load of space), so I pondered how to maintain momentum, or at least feel that I had done more than one country in 2016… I needed a small and warm country 🙂 Hello Malta.

Malta is smaller than the Isle of Wight! I had no idea. Just 9 miles N/S x 16 miles E/W it was going to be a doddle after the UK.

My ‘unique cycling buddy’ on this trip was a real trooper and stepped right out of her comfort zone to accompany me – thank you Lou.

The charity work – the Good Deed – was working with autistic children through The Inspire Foundation, who help over 1000 individuals with physical and mental disabilities ranging from Down Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and others. Lou and I landed in Malta on Friday 2nd December, got picked up by Inspire from the airport and had a very full-on afternoon working with the autistic kids! I believe this was more tiring and demanding that cycling across Malta!

On Saturday 3rd December, Lou and I cycled 30 miles, from coast to coast and on a circular route, to make the most of our trip. Thanks so much to our ‘superhero’ Jack, who loaned us top notch bikes: The Cyclist Malta.

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The LAST DAY of Cycling the UK

16 September 2016

Day 12. 84 miles.

What a humungous, whopping day! So full of contrasts and an onslaught of sensory experiences!

I camped in Clifden Hampden on my last night, in the shadow of a church and on the bank of the Thames. I hardly slept. My fourth night in a row with little sleep. This time it was foxes fighting, screaming and chasing each other round and round my tent, and then a cracking thunderstorm from 0400 and heavy rain. I stayed put until 0730 when the rain eased, but the roads were flooded.

After breakfast, I cycled 50 miles non-stop. Easy! Past Reading, through Basingstoke, past Winchester, along the South Downs Way and stopped for tea 24 miles away from home, before hitting the places that I knew and recognised! Alton, Bishops Walford, Fareham… Gosport! The sea… I stopped near the end and put ‘we are the Champions’ on loud on my phone. I cycled to the sea front and Pebbles café. I was jubilant. An 84 mile day, nailed by 6.45pm – just in time for Friday evening drinks. Across the road, into Stokes Bay and there was a finish line of flags, 12 of my friends and lots of bottles of Prosecco, with the sun setting across the bay as a back drop. I was home.

Achieved Length of UK – 803 miles, 11 days total.

82 hours 10 minutes cycling. Ave 9.75 mph

friends-at-finish


SHAP Summit!

12 September 2016

Day 8. 71 miles.

Naively, I started the day thinking that I’d ‘done’ the Lake District and it’s famous hills… but then I came across Borrowdale Ridge and the notorious Shap Summit. I wasn’t mentally prepared for such a long hill. It was humungous. 3-8% incline and 9 miles long (Shap Fell hill climb from Kendal to Shap)! It took me two hours to get to Kendal which was 15 miles away. The wind was so strong I had to get off the bike and push, and even then I could hardly move forward. I had tears streaming out the corner of my eyes and I was half-laughing, half-bubbling with teary effort in hysterics. Towards the summit I was in clouds, rain threatened, it was very windy and cold. I could hardly breathe. I conquered, but then, had to… try and control the cycle down! Scary, screamy, cycling, riding the brakes all the way and trying to stay out of the way of the huge lorries struggling to labour upwards and round the hairpins!

I eventually collapsed into a hotel – what a treat – after a pub lasagne and 71 hairy, scary miles.


From Scotland into England

10 September 2016

Day 7. 85 miles.

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Can you believe that HALF of the cycle of the length of the UK is cycling through Scotland? HALF! Within 5 miles of the whole route Yellow Brick tracker I crossed the border. My course zig-zagged around the mountain ranges of Scotland which you can see from my tracked route but then once I crossed the border near Gretna Green my route was better VMG (Velocity Made Good: www.velocitymadegood.co.uk) which is a yacht racing expression for taking the optimum route towards your goal – maximizing efficiency and effectiveness.


Aviemore

7 September 2016

img_3775Well on my way.

173 miles done so far.

Survived the ‘Berriedale Braes’ at 13% incline over 1 mile.

Nailed Inverness.

Had a fight over chocolate cake with a weird lady in a café.

Fantastic camp spot and a good pub for dinner.

Survived.


I believe in Living Life to the Full. I have done over 117 ‘things’ that I most wanted to do before I die and I’m nowhere near being dead!

They help me to breathe and feel alive and know that when I am drawing my last breath, it will be with no regrets.

Live Life to the Full.

My bucket list