Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Wow ... and Why?

The almost universal reaction when I tell people what I'm doing is "Wow", or "That's amazing". Some younger folk say they'd love to do the same and I reply they'll have to wait until they're retired (how else will they find the time?)

The comment that often follows is "Why are you doing it?", often accompanied by "Are you doing this for charity?"

So perhaps it's time that I address these questions properly.

In no particular order:
a) I love the coast of Britain. It's so diverse and interesting.
b) I love harbours, especially the old, picturesque ones.
c) I love challenges.
d) I'm 65 and don't want to become the sort of OAP who does nothing and watches TV all the time.
e) There's one life - so live it!

Putting all these together, I came up with the idea of cycling all the way around Britain's coastline, visiting some 600 ports, harbours and jetties. I then decided that it would be a good idea to try and raise money for charity. The obvious one was the Stroke Association, given Bundy's stroke two years ago. The other one I decided on was The Meningitis Research Foundation, as I had survived the dreaded meningoccal septicaemia back in 1995.

I must stress that I'm not a cyclist - not a serious one, anyway. If I was, I don't think I'd be doing this. The heavy panniers make cycling hard work, so there's little opportunity to go fast, or to attack steep hills. The most I've done before have been short cycling holidays in Scotland with Bundy, where we've managed 30 to 35 miles a day over a week or ten days. The bikes have been hired, so when I've returned home, full of good ideas about maintaining some 'cycle fitness', nothing happens, and my own bike remains firmly in the shed.

Looking at what I've just written, I have to confess that it's the challenge of it that really excites me. Maintaining the planned schedule, visiting all the harbours, completing the circuit; all give me the buzz that I love. The fact that I've lost some 10 Kg, feel far fitter than for many years, and have an enviable tan (on parts of me, at least) are incidental but welcome.

Back to today, which was very short. I knew from the forecast that heavy rain would sweep in during the afternoon, so I left early and arrived at the campsite at Laugharne mid-afternoon, having visited the National Trust's Stackpole Quay, Tenby Harbour and Saundersfoot. The weather was kind until soon after lunch, when I got soaked in a torrential downpour. I survived the rest of the ride without getting wet again, so a B&B wasn't necessary.

I'm now enjoying a meal at the WiFi-enabled Portreeve's Tavern in Laugharne, where the owner has promised the proceeds of a Quiz Night to my charities. I'll just have to stay and have another beer - they do have Adnams!

No comments:

Post a Comment