Monday, 22 April 2013

Bike to Bestival 2013... l'aventure à vélo avec la musique.

That's right we're doing it again. Undeterred by the organisational everest that was Bike 2 Bestival 2012... This year we're doing it all over again. Bigger, better and this year we'll probably persuade at least one person to cycle dressed as a Pirate. I think we all know who that will be.

So if you are attending Bestival this year... why not cycle there. Last year around 40 riders took part in a two day riding and camping adventure from London to Southampton raising over £11,000 for Cancer Research UK. During the summer of 2012 the riders met up to learn a handful of songs and sample some of the sumptuous ales, ciders and perrys that London town has to offer. Once on the road we had a campfire sing-along for those riders not able to join in with the London meet-ups and a warm-up gig before hitting the Big-Top stage to open the festival.

Dust off whatever instrument you have/aspire to play/think will sound the most annoying and join us in learning some drinking songs and sea shanties.

Those of you that came with us last year should be getting an email shortly detailing how to get a ticket this year. For the rest of you, keep your eye peeled (Or just follow us on Facebook and twitter for announcements because that ceratinly sounds much less painful.)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Best start at the beginning...Stuart's story

Hi Sophie/Dom/Warren, where to start! I arrived home last night, after an epic train ride from Southampton to Loughborough and it is slowly starting to sink in what has happened.

Best start at the beginning...

When I signed up for Bike to Bestival I didn't have a bicycle that was working ( I did have 2 broken ones) and hadn't cycled for a year. But I couldn't resist. Then I saw the people on the facebook group and some of them looked accomplished cyclists, so I decided I had to train for this. I can remember rainy, cold mornings, getting out the door at 6am and cycling a 15 mile loop before work ( ) which was tough going. I pushed on and later decided to ride half the way to Leicester and back on Route 6, changed my mind and rode the whole way and made it back. I cycled 25 miles! Before work! I was hooked. I kept going and after a few weeks this was just something I did and enjoyed. The last weekend before leaving I did a run out to Derby, took a cider fuelled detour along this route ( ) up to Beeston and turned back again. I must have covered 80 miles, which is a long way from the 15 miles I struggled to do weeks earlier.

The Ride
I was thinking about asking to lead a group for ages and was put off by the ride through London. I hadn't cycled in London for 5 years and wasn't sure how I would handle it. I spoke to a friend, who said I would be great at it, so I signed up. Then I panicked...I didn't know the route well, or have a GPS or smartphone, what if we got lost! A week before leaving I fell ill with a chest infection, I tried cycling 5 miles and threw up 10 times, clearly, even I had to admit I was ill. 2 days in bed whilst going over the route on Google Street view and I just knew the London part of the route. I didn't look at the directions or map from Lambeth Palace to Walton on Thames and if I close my eyes I can still see it. My team were a very interesting, mixed bunch from "Oscar" a bike courier on a fixie who spent the first part of the ride steering with his knees and listening to music to Amanda who hadn't cycled long distances before but was always smiling.

I absolutely loved the ride through London, especially Richmond Park. There was so much to see on the way...
The afternoon ride was tough for me, I was up at 4.30am to catch an early train to London with my bike and was shattered. I was dehydrating without realising it and the last hour through Alice Holt I dashed into a pub holding my now empty water bottle in front of me. The barman smiled and filled it up, without any words being exchanged and even added ice. We pushed on through this last bit and arrived at the site as one group.
My sister came to meet me at Mellow Farm and the evening around the campfire singing was like a dream, I was so tired but had to stay....

Day 2
The next day we got ready and I decided we should all wear the Cancer Research T-shirts to bond the now larger group ( image attached - this picture is going on my wall). I also announced there was a gold medal up for grabs for the Bestest Cyclist. We set off and Tom, who just joined us, knew the route, as he lived locally. It was good for me to just relax and enjoy the cycling. We stopped for a break before the 10 miles on the A32  and stopped at a pub for a well earned cider ( my bicycle runs on cider and porridge - very low carbon) which Iain kindly bought me. It was fun relaxing in a beer garden, watching the ducks, lying in the sun and not sitting on a saddle ( my bike has earned a new Brookes one :-).
We carried on and finally arrived at Southampton! I had a pint with Iain and soaked up the sun, let the sweat evaporate and felt relief that we were nearly there. The grinding out the miles bit was over and the fun was on the horizon...
On the way from the ferry I snagged my arm on a bramble and really didn't care. I have had a few cycling cuts in my time...
At the Waverley I met lots of Bestifriends from the forum camping last year ( ) and felt at home. The singing in the pub was a group of friends having a laugh and the crowd really enjoyed it. I had thought about learning an instrument for the songs but I loved the singing so much.

Day 3
We cycled to the site and I had no idea of how to get there, other than it was uphill. It was tricky getting into the site as there was no bike park and they didn't know who we were but I pushed through with a combination of charm, anger and blagging.
We met at 4pm to open the Festival, did I say we were OPENING BESTIVAL and I got chatting to a lady who about as old as my mum and was interested in what we were doing. We spoke for ages about her cycling ( 20 miles each weekend - more than I could do when I started training ) and she asked if Rob da Bank was coming to watch. I said that maybe he was busy, she told me she was his Mum! I looked down at her pass and recognised the surname Gorman. If you are reading this Rob, you have a very cool mum. Going backstage was amazing and exciting, I was tingling all over, we were opening on the stage that Hot Chip were playing on later that evening :-) We all sang our hearts out and it was awesome. After we all got very drunk and chatted and drank more beer.......

Bestival - hasn't sunk in yet.....

After Bestival finished, I got up early on the Monday and cycled with all my gear, in the rain to the Waverley where I spent the next 5 nights. I cycled all over the North east part of the island and saw Red Squirrels, Donkeys, Pigs, Horses, Castles, Bookshops, Monks, Beaches, Bike Shops, Forests, Portsmouth, Old Rosie Cider, Proper Breakfasts, Energy Bars and had an amazing time but that is another story..........sorry but my allotment is calling me and those Sweetcorn won't pick themselves...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

So what next?!

Yesterday Dominic and I attended the Cancer Research UK London Fundraisers Forum.
We were joined by the CRUK London Area Volunteer Managers and other fundraisers from across the region, ranging from individuals organising one-off events to groups and committees which have been fundraising for up to 30 years.
We heard from speakers including:
Helen Trenchard, Senior Manager of the Business Support Team
Dr Justine Reise, Clinical Trials Manager at Imperial CRUK Centre/ICTU-Cancer
Louise from Stand up to Cancer
Harry Baines, Cancer Research UK Intern and Cancer Survivor

It was a fascinating day and a great reminder of why we put so much work into making ‘Bike to Bestival’ a success.
We heard some amazing statistics:
·       97% of men who get testicular cancer now survive
·       Cancer Research UK spent £332million on research last year
·       £650,000 was raised in the London and Surrey areas by volunteers alone!
·       Cancer Research UK funds 50% of all research into Cancer in the UK and they get no government funding.

Cancer Research UK had a funding gap of £30million last year though, so what does this mean?
Essentially they had research programmes which had gone through the vetting process which they believed would contribute to the fight against cancer, however they were £30million short of funds to pay for them.

This all reminds us of how important projects like ours are to Cancer Research UK.
So to all of you who took part in ‘Bike to Bestival 2012’ a big big thankyou from the three of us and the staff at Cancer Research UK.  We were invited to this event as we are raising so much money for their cause and they all took the opportunity to pass on their thanks.
We would particularly like to mention Andrew and Max who have blown us away with their amazing fundraising. You’ve more than made up for your lack of musical ability guys!!

Lastly, if you haven’t heard of ‘Stand up to Cancer’ yet, then watch this space. 
On Friday October 19th 2012 there will be a live TV event on Channel 4.  Watch a taster of what to expect on the YouTube link below.  They are also on facebook and twitter so don’t forget to follow them. 

If you want to do any of your own fundraising for ‘Stand up to Cancer’, please let us know or drop us an email telling us what you’re doing and we’ll post it on the blog/facebook/twitter.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

We're back

Over the coming days/weeks it'd be great to get your stories and experiences up on the blog. If you could mail them to that's be great. There are still a few posts to get up here, but for now I'd just like to say a few words.

Firstly, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to meet, travel and perform with you guys. You are all brilliant and beautiful people. As it was explained to me over the weekend, there was always a chance that we'd all get along (Think of a Venn diagram with three circles "Likes Cycling", "Wants to go to Bestival" and "Wants to perform music"... we were that crossover.). That said you were all nicer and more helpful people than we could have hoped for..

Secondly, we raised a lot of money for Cancer Research UK through our justgiving page. (If you have only just found us there is a newly created team donation page here to keep that seperate from the individual fundraising. Please donate there.) This is a great thing to do and you should all be very proud.

Thirdly check out the video that the Times guys did about the trip. Doesn't that look like something you'd want to do (If you hadn't already)

And finally... THANKS!!! (That's a massive thanks) to Ros, Peter and Mike (For cooking, driving and general anything-we-needed help)...Legendary volumes of cheese sandwiches.

I'd also like to thank Veleco (for our t-shirts and hats and generally being nice), Cocofina (for donating lots of coconut water) and Dovesfarm (for donating enough cereal for all of us). This all helped us keep the costs down for all the riders.

That's all for now. It's be lovely to hear your trip reports or thoughts and I hope to see you all soon.


Friday, 31 August 2012

Details for Bike to Bestival bag drop-off points

Howdy all… 
The time is very nearly upon us! Hope you’re all feeling fit and raring to go!
As you probably already know, as well as the van waiting for your kit at Lambeth Palace, there’s going to be one van waiting near Waterloo Station and one van waiting near Charing Cross.
Information on how to find us at either station is below – but please remember, if you’re going to drop your bags off here, you must have done it by 10am at the very, very latest. The vans will be there from approximately 9am. After 10am, the vans will be leaving! So get there early!
With your back to the main turnstiles leading to the platforms, turn right and head right to the end of the station concourse. Take the small exit here, under a set of stairs with the ‘Cabin’ café on the concourse above you. Turn right out of the exit, and follow the road until you see a big blue P sign on your left. The van will be here. If it isn’t, there may have been problems with parking. Phone Mike Futcher (number is in your info pack).
The parking bay is shown on this map, number 1:

To get to Lambeth Palace, go back into the station and head to the opposite end of the concourse. Take the exit down some stairs and turn left on to the main road. Follow this road straight over a one-way system until you see us gathered on your left outside Lambeth Palace.
Charing Cross
Head out of the main exit into the front courtyard, turn right, and take the first turning on your right (Villiers Street). Look for a turning on your left, John Adam Street (with a Café Rouge on the corner). The van will be parked down this street, or one of the side roads connected to it. Look out for a member of the B2B support team (with a B2B sign!) who will point you in the right direction.
John Adam Street is here:

To get to Lambeth Palace, return to Villiers Street and turn left down to Embankment station. Go through Emankment station, and hit Victoria Embankment along the river. Turn right. At Westminster Bridge, turn left and cross the river. Once across the river, you’ll immediately hit a one-way system/roundabout. Follow this all the way around to the right and take the road along the river until you see us gathered on your left outside Lambeth Palace.

That’s it my friends! Please, please do take the time to suss out where you’re going – and we’ll see you merry lot on Tuesday!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Bike to Bestival route, day two: Mellow Farm to Southampton

Righty-ho, then, here it is… the route directions for the second day of Bike to Bestival. The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that our route to the campsite on the Isle of Wight isn’t included here – but it really isn’t very far from the ferry port, so I’ll probably just point you in the right direction on the day.
An important note here: whereas on day one, we won’t be coming across anything you could reasonably call a hill until the very last part of the ride, on the second day we hit the rolling hills of Hampshire. It’s a shorter ride (it took me about four hours, including frequent stops to check on directions/make notes etc), but you may find it, at times, a little tiring on the legs…
But keep your peckers up, your legs pumping and your eyes on each other – happy in the knowledge that one mother of a party awaits just over the Solent..!

Bike to Bestival route, day two: Mellow Farm to Southampton
(Google maps route here: )
Section 1: Mellow Farm to East Tisted
1.     Turn right out of Mellow Farm. Follow the road to a T-Junction. Turn right. Follow the road to another T-Junction. Turn right again.

2.     Follow this road for about two miles, passing Headley Park on your left, until you reach the junction with the A325. Turn left and follow the road into Bordon.

3.     Carry straight on through Bordon, through several sets of traffic lights. Pass a Tesco, then come to a roundabout. Go straight over.
  1. At the next roundabout, turn right down Firgrove Road, signposted Blackmoor/Selborne. Then, very soon, turn left down Drift Road.
  2. Follow this road for approximately four miles, through Blackmoor (ignoring signs to Selborne) until you hit a T-Junction with the B3006. Turn right towards Selborne.
  3. Just after coming in to Selborne, take the (very sharp!) turning on the left, signposted Newton Valance. Follow this road all the way to East Tisted.

Section 2: East Tisted to Botley
  1. In East Tisted, you’ll hit a T-Junction with the A32. Turn left. B2B HOTSPOT! Well, not really a HOTSPOT, more of a NOTE. We’ll be following the A32 for approximately 10 miles. It can be a little dispiriting – long stretches with slight climbs on a road where cars can whizz past a bit. So keep safe – and keep your peckers up; once we’re in Botley, we’re edging very close to the finish line.
  2. Stay on the A32 through West Meon and Warnford and then Corhampton. At the roundabout in Corhampton, turn right, taking the B3035 all the way to Bishop’s Waltham.
  3. Follow the B3035 through Bishop’s Waltham until you reach a roundabout. Turn left, following the brown signs to Bishop’s Waltham Palace. Soon after, there’s another roundabout. Turn right on to the B3035, signposted Botley.

Section 3: Botley to Southampton, Red Funnel Terminus (yippee!)
  1. After a few miles, the B3035 meets the A334. Turn right, signposted Botley.
  2. Follow the A334 through Botley, until you reach a roundabout. Take the second exit on to the B3036. After approximately a mile, after some traffic lights, turn left on to St John’s Road (the B3033).
  3. Follow the B3033 over the M27 and then straight across the A27. This next bit (Botley Road) is not much more than a cycle track. But keep going until the junction (with traffic lights) with the A3024. Again, go straight over.
  4. The B3033 will then hit a mini-roundabout. Turn right on to Portsmouth Road.
  5. This road will lead you (after a mile or two) to the Toll Bridge. Bear left at the toll booths into the cycle lane and cross the bridge.
  6. At the end of the bridge is a roundabout. Go straight over. The road then veers to the left. Follow signs to the Waterfront/West Quay. Then, you’ll start to notice signs to the ferry and the Isle of Wight. Follow these, until you reach the harbour, and the Red Funnel terminus on your left.

Ride practice and fancy dress planning

Yesterday I went out for my first ride in a couple of weeks. After the last social I discovered I'd hurt my foot and needed to rest my feet for a while. yesterday was the first chance I'd had to get out on the bike.

Whilst resting I'd changed the bar tape and saddle as these were worn out, so it was also a test ride. I managed 40km in 2hrs which I was quite pleased with as the route is a little bit hilly (nothing major just up and down)

Whilst I was out Sophie had been hard at work on the fancy dress planning, and by the time I got back had made fairly solid progress. Can you guess what she's making?

Hope your riding and fancy dress costumes are coming along nicely and I hope to see you all on Tuesday!!