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DALROD team get fit for charity

DALROD team charity bike ride at Angel of the North

A charity cycle ride raises £2000 for Woodston Nursery in Peterborough

DALROD’s Kev Parrish narrates the adventure

After weeks of planning, and a late route change because North Yorks Police didn’t want us on the A19, the DALROD charity bike ride was finally upon us. Tuesday 21st August began with the van being loaded with 8 bikes, along with kindly donated boxes of Mars bars, flapjack, water, Lucozade sport, energy supplements and spare types, tubes and most importantly Richard’s medical supplies (I’m sure he rattles when he walks).

DALROD Charity cycle ride in the North East

DALROD charity cycle ride team prepare to set off from Holiday Inn in the North East

The plan was for 5 people to travel up to Newcastle in the van, with 4 going on the train – the team consisting of 7 cyclists and 2 support men (too old to cycle). The van was ready to go at 5.40pm (should have been 5.30 but Dan needed a pillow from his Nan’s for his sleep going up). The weather on the way up was very wet in places, but after a short stop at Wetherby services we duly arrived at Holiday Inn, Newcastle at 9.20pm to be met by Marc, our colleague at DALROD North-East. After booking everyone in, the bikes were unloaded and put into a secure room (thanks Holiday Inn). The 4 on the train then rang to say that they were nearly there so Kev went in the van to collect them from the station, then back to the Skiff Inn where we all had a couple of drinks and a relax, then off to sleep.

Breaking the law already

Wednesday, and all down for breakfast at 7.00am. Marc was there to join us for breakfast then we all went outside for a photo session. A decision was taken that the cyclists would ride the 8 miles to the official starting place at the Angel of the North. It was a good job that Marc was there to guide us through the streets. On arrival at the statue all the cyclists and cycles go up for photos and we thought it would be a good idea to take the van up to the statue (illegal) a view not shared by the local police the way the police helicopter kept flying around us.

We set off from the Angel at 9.00am and by 9.30am Dave had fallen off his bike cutting his knee. He bravely carried on down by Birtley, Chester le Steet, Durham where we had a drinks break. When we were about to set off again Colin found he’s got a puncture. Puncture duly mended Colin set off in pursuit of the other 6. The van meanwhile went off to catch the others which it did and then all the group stopped to wait for Colin. While waiting Steve found that he too had a puncture but by the time it was mended Colin rejoined and we set off again towards our lunch break at Yarm. The car park attendant kindly said we could stay for an hour and as the cyclists rode in Dan came a cropper cutting his knee (like father like son). Dan patched up in Sainsburys then we had lunch from a lovely bakery across the road.

Hills, hills…and more more hills

We all leave Yarm oblivious of what was to come shortly, after passing through a couple of villages the van climbed up Newgate Bank, and waited, knowing the cyclists were in for a serious hill climb. Eventually all the riders made it to the top through a mixture of walking and riding (respect to all the lads here) this was very, very hard and after a break they set off again to be shortly confronted by another set of hills, which caused another long break, (which Dave spent with some dead moles tied to a fence). The lads set off again looking forward to some downhill riding. Dan, Dale and Stuart recorded speeds of up to 46mph down these hills (this will hurt if you come off), on a serious note it was found that Dale’s front wheel was loose.

After a short break we arrived in York and headed to the Youth Hostel for our overnight stay, having covered 101 miles, 5 in one room and 4 in the other – the first puzzle of the trip now as we all had to put on our own quilt covers and pillowcases. Dan chose the location for the evening meal – Nandos, so after an eventful spell of trying to shower in a cubicle big enough for a midget, we boarded 2 taxis for the city and Nandos. Everyone was feeling tired after the days exertions so straight back to the hostel for bed, you can imagine everyone’s delight when the fire alarm went off at 12.30am. So all outside bleary-eyed (I think Colin had been in the toilet for a crafty fag) and after the fire brigade gave the all clear it was back to bed.

The curious incident with the cream

Thursday arrives – 7 people up at 7.00am for breakfast, Colin and Richard had been up since 5.30am looking for a newspaper shop. Breakfast at 7.30am ready to leave York at 8.15am and due to a navigators error 2 extra miles were added to the journey along with another puncture for Colin. After Wednesday this was flatter terrain. A couple of stops then lunch at 12.30. Crowle was the chosen stop using Tesco car park. A local bakery was the chosen lunch supplier. What happened in the car park on return I am afraid cannot be described on this page but needless to say we were asked to leave. (Dale and cream is all I can say).

DALROD charity bike ride team at Lincoln office
DALROD charity cycle ride team arrive at Lincolnshire depot with Chris, and Steve

We carried on passing through Goole dock area, Howden and to Gainsborough where a nice break was taken. Leaving Gainsborough 2 further stops were taken before reaching DALROD Notts, where Chris, Kirsty and Steve were waiting to feed us chocolate biscuits and coffee. More photos then a short ride to the Ibis Hotel, Lincoln and another 84 miles behind us. All in the bar for a couple of drinks. Dale took on Dan, Richard, Steve and Stuart at pool beating them all but lost to Dave (to save his job I think) before we all get ready for evening meal at Damon’s. A couple of runs with the van gets everyone to Damon’s and back suitably fed and watered.

Hurrah – home at last!

Friday, 7.00am up for breakfast to heavy rain. Luckily it had cleared by the time we were ready to go, puncture for Richard early on then up the only hill of the day Harmston which was very steep but a short distance. Then across the back of Waddington airfield out to the A15 and to Sleaford services for a break. Peterborough now on the signposts making the lads feel better. A 5 minute stop at Red Lion Bourne and one more stop required at Market Deeping then the home run.

DALROD charity cycle team arrive back in Peterborough
DALROD charity cycle team arrive back in Peterborough

At 1.30pm the team arrived back at Head Office to a fantastic welcome which was a mixture of relief and emotion. 57 miles covered today. Fish and chips and cake followed. It was agreed by all the cyclists that it was the hardest thing they had ever done but it was a satisfying experience both in terms of achieving their goal and helping Woodston Nursery.

Thanks to everyone who came to greet the team back and sent their best wishes. It helped take away the pain to know the efforts were appreciated.