Day 3

Friends and Rain

Sadly there was no Bruce Springsteen to wake us up this morning due to the injuries sustained to the I-phone on day 2. After the frustrations with the navigation yesterday, due to Gerry the Garmin’s stubbornness, we had another play with him late last night.

He had stopped communicating with Mac the laptop last week, so there was no way we could update him. However we connected him to Mac – nothing happened. I decided to try switching off and on again for one last time. With the final press of his on/off button amazingly his screen read ‘GPS ready’. He’d found the satellites! The first thing we did this morning was to switch Gerry on again – he could still find the satellites! The grey day with the very depressing weather forecast didn’t seem that bad now we knew we had Gerry’s support.

Having breakfasted, we met up with Rosemary and Ivor, friends of Patrick’s, who had come to cheer us off. Rosemary was a great friend of Pam’s who provided valued support to both Patrick and Pam during Pam’s illness. It was lovely to see them. Thank you Rosemary and Ivor!

Today we were being joined by Holly, step-daughter Rachel’s partner. Holly cycles to work each day and has completed marathons and one sprint triathlon. However, she has never cycled 78 miles. It was grey when we set off from the Ibis Hotel in Chesterfield, but it wasn’t raining. We managed to negotiate the large roundabout outside the hotel, but then had some difficulty finding the small road which would ultimately lead us to Binley Woods. Whilst we reviewing Gerry’s info as well as the phone a man parked in the car park began a conversation. He told us he’d done a cycle ride for Stand Up to Cancer last year.

After 6 miles we had a stop and a congratulatory moment as we’d climbed the first hill.

A few miles later, having conquered the hill in Alfreton, we got off our trusty steeds and decided to walk our bikes across the road for safety. This was the point where Patrick took a tumble as he didn’t get his clippy shoe out of the pedal quickly enough. Part of his chicken leg was now minus a layer of skin. With the aid of Savlon, all is now well. As we left Alfreton, it began to drizzle – as Peter Kay would say, “It’s that fine rain that soaks you through”

Having left Alfreton the hills increased in gradient and frequency. The rain also got heavier. It was a race between the hills and rain as to which one became most challenging.

Patrick’s thoughts from under a bridge

By the time we reached Derby, we didn’t believe it could rain any more heavily – until it did. With 5 miles to go before our lunch stop where we were being met by friends, we decided to shelter under a bridge. It seemed to be populated by a selection of ‘interesting’ people from Derby. We did take some paracetamol today, we could have probably acquired much stronger medicaments under the bridge. It was just miserable and cold cycling in the driving rain. By the time we reached The Crew and Harpur pub in Swarkestone our gloves and shoes were sodden and we were cold. Jackie got our supply of towels we’d brought for such situations and we warmed our hands with hot beverages.

It was lovely to meet up with some old friends of Patrick’s from Derbyshire. They were so welcoming and supportive we really didn’t want to leave. As we were leaving a couple of older men who were enjoying a glass of wine naked what we were doing and made a generous donation to give us some motivation to get back out in the heavy rain. Thanks Mark, Amanda and Graham for joining us.

The next 25 miles to our meet-up with Jackie at Barwell were relentlessly grim. We took no persuading to stop off at The Blacksmiths Arms for a towel down and a drink in the warmth. We met Jo, who was celebrating her birthday and kindly donated. We noticed that once again bollards had been decorated with knitted items in Barwell.

As we left Barwell the rain began to ease up. However Gerry the Garmin began to misbehave. He’d obviously had enough too. We were back to other methods of navigating. At least there were 3 of us to remember what our route for the next few miles was. At one point we’d got – turn left at the roundabout and follow signs to Brinklow, Bretford and then Brandon. Brinklow and Brandon were attractive Warwickshire villages. I’m not sure what Bretford was like as I had my head down. This part of the day is always tough as you’re getting tired. We had very regular stops in the last 21 miles which slowed us down considerably.

We were weary, wet and aching as we pedalled in to the Premier Inn at Binley Woods. However, our spirits were lifted by seeing Jackie, step-daughter Rachel and friend Jo waving us in. Thanks Jo and Rachel for joining us.

Thanks Holly for joining us and well done on completing the day. We’ve been training for weeks to deal with this!

It was a tough day, but the efforts of friends, the donations we’ve received and the positive support comments we’ve been sent really do push us on when things get tough.

Sue’s thoughts at the end of the day

Patrick’s Trivia


All modern bicycles are descended from John Kemp Starley’s Rover safety cycle invented in Coventry in 1885

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  1. Thanks, Bec. Now safely in Didcot but Gerry is not well, I’m afraid!

  2. Well done so far – it sounds really tough – you are both amazing and so determined. Hope the weather is better today and you get to Oxford safely xxx

    • Thank you, Lesley. The weather was thankfully better today but this is a tough challenge and our exertions are now taking their toll. Safely in Didcot and going to give it our best shot tomorrow.

  3. Graham Bushnell-Wye

    Just as I suspected, the weather has not been conducive to long distance cycling. It looks like you might have one day of respite before the heavens open up again. However, just as I knew, you would not be put off despite added technological difficulties. Keep up the good work, and the cycling too! I don’t understand how you manage to stay awake long enough to write your blogs following a hard day’s cycling – I wish I had your energy 🙂

  4. So glad to hear you got through the day in these horrible conditions. I’ve been waiting for the blog all day to see how you got on (thank you for the updates – I don’t know how you manage it all!). Fingers crossed that Gerry is revitalised by another night’s rest and gets you safely down to Didcot today.

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