August 17, 2014, by David Greenaway

The VC’s Life Cycle 4 Blog: Day 2 – Exeter to Bournemouth

David with the LC4 Support TeamLet me start with the Support Team today. What a great group. Three newbies in Helen, Adam and Andy, and one old hand in Paul. So a nearly new team, but you wouldn’t know it such is the professionalism and poise with they do their job. And it is a bigger job than in any previous Life Cycle, not because of an additional 300 miles (which is not immaterial) but in maintaining the equipment of an additional four riders, in coping with the number of different routes we take, and in being a constant source of encouragement. Thank you to a fabulous team.

Whilst I am on newbies, let me introduce the other two new riders.

Svenja Adolphs is a Professor of English Language and Linguistics. She has experience of endurance sport, though not in cycling. She is a swimmer and is training to swim the English Channel. She has been persuaded to take on this challenge, and trained hard for it, very hard. She did not own a bike before being persuaded she could and should do this, and she will.

Andy Foote is a key Member of our Campaign Advisory Board and Chair of the Brain Tumour Charity. He was a professional footballer. I really envy him that; I would have loved to have been a professional footballer. Before Andy’s career was cut short by injury he played for Luton Town, Shrewsbury Town and Peterborough United. I believe Andy was the first choice striker for each.

Today Doug was riding in honour of Claudia Burkill, a young girl who has become a source of inspiration to many. Doug commented: ‘It is a privilege to be riding for Claudia, knowing the remarkable way she and her family have faced the treatment she is receiving. She has become an inspiration to other parents and their families, and to a huge social media community’. Doug fell into conversation with another cyclist on the road today and told him what we are doing and why, with a particular focus on Claudia. He has been online to make a donation already. Thank you, Terry Holland.

Chris RAs for the ride itself, we were again out in various groups, and on different routes. Chris R got off early, for a solo run to expunge the gruelling experience of Day 1, some of it off-road. As always, Sergeant Major Jagger assembled his squad early to get away quickly. I believe today that included Karen, Marion, Svenja, and Nieves. Doug set off with David W, Andy, Penelope and Steve. Esteban set out later to catch the Jagger squad. Yesterday had been a long day, so I ended up asleep over the laptop last night, and up at 05:30 to write a blog. So I was late getting away, with Nick and Susan who had waited.

Most of the riders followed a route to the south. Chris J’s group picked up David Ross and Ottilie just before Lyme Regis, where they subsequently met Doug’s group. From there they all picked up the A35 to Dorchester, then headed south to Wareham and the coast, for the ferry across to Bournemouth.

Susan, Nick and I took the A30 and A35 all the way though. The A30 was less busy and less noisy than yesterday, and the A35 a sweeping road through the big vistas of South Devon and South Dorset. We actually picked up almost all the other riders just after Lyme Regis, but then had our first mechanical failure. Susan’s gear control collapsed, and in the most inconvenient place: on a hill, with more or less stationary traffic, and hardly any room to work in. Esteban and Nick did a running repair to get us to a place where the van could meet us. Susan rode out the rest of the day on Helen’s bike, and the Support Team went off to ‘Toys R Us’ to get a replacement part for Susan’s bike.

Our total mileage today was 91, again with some really demanding climbing. Chris R was in by mid-afternoon, but the rest of us did not arrive at our accommodation at Bournemouth University until between 1800 and 1920. Incidentally, the accommodation at Bournemouth has been provided gratis, so thank you to Professor John Vinney for supporting Life Cycle 4 in this way.

We have had some ‘quotes of the day’ to report:

First, one of Doug’s contemporaries at University sent him a donation, with the message ‘Don’t die on this trip, I can’t take a day off to attend your funeral’. Well, it was an Economics graduate.

Second, this afternoon a number of us parked in a lay by on the A35 to catch breath after a particularly long climb. One rider stated an urgent need for a bush, but it was a fairly barren area. I noticed a holiday van parked in the area, and suggested, if it was urgent maybe they would allow the use of the loo in the van. The reply was ‘I do not think I want to do what I need to do in their van’. A very considerate lot, these Life Cyclers.

David W in calendar poseThird, all Garmins were burned out by the time my group arrived in Bournemouth. Nick put the post code of where we were staying in his iPhone and commented ‘It says 4.8 miles, that can’t be right; maybe that’s when you are walking’. Nick, it’s the same road.

Finally, it has been suggested to me that we compose a Life Cycle calendar, and the first submission has been received on behalf of David W. I await competing submissions

So, another 91 miles covered, taking the total to 226. There were a lot of stiff limbs this evening. Tomorrow we head for Worthing. It looks flatter, much flatter, and a bit shorter. Cornwall, Devon and Dorset are lovely counties, but it will be good to have some respite from the hills for a couple of days.

Professor Sir David Greenaway

Posted in Life Cycle 4