Discussions with the Four Mikes have reassured the Editor that everything is well in hand for the upcoming 1,446 mile fundraiser. They have clearly been training hard, and have all the gubbins necessary for a long bike trip – satnav, repair kits, comfortable saddles and a good supply of Clif Bars.
And as the Four Mikes wend their way across Europe, they will be accompanied by Malcolm Johnstone and Denese Kennedy-Diggins in the plucky little [LASR] van (more on her later). Malcolm has been the driver on previous tours, and is an experienced hand at cliff edge manoevers and graceful three-point turns. However, the rumours that he is a two-time Mille Miglia winner are completely unfounded.
The Editor asked Malcolm to share a few thoughts pre-departure:
“Well here we are again! In 2017, we went to Rome via France, Switzerland and the West coast of Italy to Rome. This time we are going via France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and down the East coast of Italy down to Rome.
This year is even more challenging for the riders as far as mileage is concerned as they have a longer route but in the first year they went via a shorter route but across dirt tracks, road and paddy fields etc which was very demanding. This left us with some very dicey moments, on one occasion we ran out of road just round the corner up one track which was different from the riders. Denese just said ‘STOP we have no road on my side!!’
On another occasion, we used the satnav to go to “Pisa” (thinking it was City of Pisa) and found it took us up to Mount Pisa a one way track all the way — 28 miles and across a narrow timber rickety bridge with a low weight limit. Not fancying backing up the hill all the way back, we made a dash for it and left the bridge rocking and swaying! We then ran out of diesel….. but luckily we had a Gerry can but the camber of the van was the wrong way and had to improvise a funnel to get it into the tank.
This year since the riders are only using the roads, so life will, we hope, be less challenging.
We have gathered most of the items we need, to carry with us and have learnt a lot from our past experience about what is needed vs what is surplus.
Denese has her fingers poised on the Satnav, looking out for any problems ahead and preparing the shopping list of the riders needs. She will see if we need to change hotels etc en route. (We had to change an hotel on the last trip because it was certainly not suitable — no details will be published here!)
We now await Tuesday morning when we see Mick & Mike leave and then look forward to next Saturday when we start another adventure.
The T shirts have not arrived yet but fingers crossed. Watch this space.”