Well, in less than a week’s time, I will be in New Jersey ready to start the Police Unity Tour 2012. So, I’m delighted to tell you that I have completed my packing:
The bike is boxed up ready for the flight
All my cycle kit is washed ironed and packed ready to go
I’ve got all the car parking at Heathrow sorted
I’ve finalised all my sponsorship arrangements
I’ve sorted out my passport and ESTA
Spending $$$$s are sorted and collected
I am however sure that you realise the truth, i.e. I’ve done none of the above.
Still plenty of time before I fly you say. Well not quite, I am heading off to Newcastle later this week to see Michelle, go to see the Happy Mondays in concert and then head to Blackpool with Michelle, Josh and Prudhoe U13 football team. I have 2 more nights at home before I fly to the USA and that is all.
So, what have I managed? Well, I set myself a target of riding 1000 miles between 19th Mach and going to the USA. I knew that I would have something like 14 days when I could not ride my bike in this period. I have managed to achieve this target. Often riding in excess of 40 miles a day as well as doing a days work. I would often do 25 miles per morning before work. To ride directly to work from my home is only 11.5 miles, so you will see that I have managed to double my normal commute to work.
I am quite pleased with myself for achieving that target. Especially so when you realise the number of visits I’ve had from the p*nct*re fairy. After getting a couple of visits, I fitted a brand new tyre on the rear of my touring bike. The tyre is one of the most p*nct*re resistant – a continental ultra gatorskin hardshell. You’d expect this to fix the problem? Well in the space of the next 6 days of riding, I got another six visits all in the new tyre. Amazingly, all were different p*nct*res and not the result of my failing to remove the debris from the tyre. The tyres had no other marks apart from the holes causing the p*nct*res. The heavy rain causes lots of debris to be in the road and also causes it to stick to the tyres.
I have since changed the tyres again but only because I got given a brand new pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres. These are heavy and not the fastest, but they are said to be the most p*nct*re resistant tyres going. The previous tyres are kept for use in the future.
I’ve only got Wednesday to ride before the USA, and as I have a busy day at work, I will not be doing anything other than the quick route to/ from work.
This year I’m planning on taking my best bike to the USA rather than my touring bike. I have fitted new tyres, new chain, new cassette etc. to it and am hopeful its all ship shape. I’ve even bought extra cleats for my shoes as last year I wore out one of the cleats and had to ride the last day with one foot not clipped in.
The ride itself is some 300 miles or so over 4 days. It is a challenge, but an enjoyable one and I’m looking forward to doing the ride once again. Meeting old friends and meeting new ones. The Americans couldn’t be more friendly and welcoming.
One feature of the ride is that we get to hear the US national anthem – the Star Spangled Banner – on numerous occasions. I have to say it has grown on me.
So despite all this to look forward to, there is something even better to look forward to first. Going to see the Happy Monday’s with Michelle on Thursday and meeting friends there. Then on Friday going to spend a weekend in Blackpool with Michelle and a team of 13 year old footballers. I have to say that despite it being tacky Blackpool is a great place to go to. I went twice last year with Michelle and had a great time each trip, once for football and once to go cycling. Michelle still remembers the Midland Hotel, but says the counselling is helping her whilst Tom says if I ever take him within 500 yards of the place he will be calling Childline.
The Police Unity Tour is to raise money for those police officers killed in the USA. It is a great charity and brings not only money, but a lot of moral support to those who have lost loved ones. I know times are hard this year, but if you can even spare £5 then please make a donation to my ride at my first giving page which can be found by clicking here