A couple of years ago I got chatting to my wife’s Grandad about cycling. He proceeded to tell me that during WW2 there was a government campaign to encourage people only to use public transport when their journey was really necessary.
He told me that because of this he decided to go on holiday on his bicycle. What I was astonished to hear was that he didn’t just take a short trip from his home in London to a nearby seaside town, he rode all the way to Penzance in the far west of Cornwall.
He went on to tell me about some of the adventures he had on his holiday, including having to dive off his bike for cover in a nearby hedgerow, as a German fighter plane, returning from a bombing run, shot up the road and a bus in front of him.
After hearing that, the choice of where my own long distance bike journey would take me was decided. A few days in the saddle, riding along the south coast of England through some spectacular countryside should be fun.
Sadly, before I was able to make the journey Len died. I am still keen to carry out my plan, in Len's memory and by pledging to do it, I am now more committed than ever.
So, Wembley to Penzance will be the journey and, barring any interference from passing Messerschmitts, I plan to cover the distance in the same four-day time span.
There will be two notable differences between the journeys, 73 years apart. 1. I will be using a state of the art carbon road racing bike and Len rode a heavy steel framed 1940’s bike. 2. However, I will be 38 years old in September 2015 when I plan to do the ride, and Len was 17.
At the moment I am planning to set off from Wembley in September 2015 and I am hoping to encourage a few friends to come along with me.
I have not picked a charity to raise sponsorship for yet, but considering my inspiration for the ride, I have a shortlist of charities that support older people in the UK.