Lydia, the Plucky LASR Van

As the Four Musketeers continue their cycling adventure on behalf of the London and Slough Run, we ask readers to spare a thought for an unheralded member of the troupe: Lydia, the LASR van. monte carlo2-01  When told she was going on a trip to southern Europe, Lydia envisioned whirling down La Grande Corniche into Monte Carlo, or sauntering down Amalfi Drive in Campania.   Her spirits were somewhat dampened by the 500-mile motorway drive on Saturday and the subsequent rainy days in Germany.  But hope springs eternal…… and Malcolm has promised an adventure (or two) for her.  The LASR looks forward to stories – and real pictures  – of their journey.

The Tour is raising money for the London & Slough Run; you can make a donation at
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/4mikesonbikes

The Four Musketeers

Malcolm sent this nice photo of the Four Mikes before they set off for Donaueschingen Germany (82 miles) this morning.  This is the first time the Editor has been able to lay hands on a group photo of the foursome for this trip  – they have been rarer than hen’s teeth – and the LASR hopes to receive more pictures over the coming weeks.unofficial photo2

(P.S.  The resemblance to Dumas’ Four Musketeers is clear – the Editor hopes they do not meet anyone named Milady or Richelieu on their travels).

The Full Complement

Having done the fair thing and given the Two Mikes a decent head start, the rest of the Four Mikes on Bikes team (Mike Burton, Fr Michael Spain, Malcolm Johnstone and Denese Kennedy-Diggins) set off  this morning in the plucky LASR van to catch them up.32,35,188,188.944458

They were all smiling at departure, which is always the best way to start a long car journey.

The team reached Rheinmunster Germany in good time for an evening reunion with the Two Mikes and celebrated in traditional German fashion!  29,28,360,381.347626

The Tour is raising money for the London & Slough Run; you can make a donation at
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/4mikesonbikes

Pigeon Post

The LASR was delighted to receive photos today from the Two Mikes,pigeon-post-d616011d-9dcc-4ad4-b293-f533f6dda87-resize-750 which arrived courtesy of  their preferred postal method (see image to right).  Apparently they would have been here sooner had the courier not been blown off course somewhere around Lowestoft  – the Editor apologises for the inconvenience.  With no further ado, a pictorial diary of their trip to date:

leaving northolt

Day 1:  Leaving Northolt, packed like Santa’s helpers

park royal a40

Day 1:  Being Good Samaritans at Park Royal on the A40!

 

House of parliament day 1

Day 1:  Passing the Britain Fission Attrition Commission

 

Temple place

Day 1: Checking out one of LASR food delivery sites in London

Just off the ferry in rotterdam

Day 2:  Just off the ferry in Rotterdam

windmill

Day 2:  Remember the gambolling?  Not completely wrong!

 

koln cathedral day 3

 

An Update from Two Mikes!

After yesterday’s single transmission We have arrived in Koblenz (in Morse code), the LASR was delighted to receive a lengthy message from the Two Mikes that confirmed their journey was indeed GX to Harwich Ferry to Rotterdam to Venlo to Koblenz.  Those rumours of a detour to John O’Groats were simply untrue.  The stalwart pair described teeth rattling roads and swarms of fleas along the Nieuwe Maas river,  and claimed to have ignored the siren call of country pubs en route.

Mick C said the Day 3 ride from Venlo to Koblenz was the BEST ride he’d ever done in his life, cycling along the Rhine on the longest bike path on the planet. The Editor is looking this one up – another holiday planned!)another strava  With a strong tailwind the duo made very good time, and filmed the scenery (briefly) while riding at 25+ mph.  (Warning:  Readers should not try this at home.)  Over the three days they have ridden 341 miles and climbed over 7000 feet  – equivalent to climbing Snowdonia twice!

 

The Tour is raising money for the London & Slough Run; you can make a donation at:
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/4mikesonbikes

A Night in Koblenz

The Two Mikes whizzed into Germany today (115 miles) and arrived in Koblenz in time to take in a few sights.  The city has a storied medieval history and occupies a strategic location (along the Mosel and Rhine rivers) that made it a hotly disputed property between Germany and France.koblenz  It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a beautiful cobbled city centre and the Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, which  guarded the most valuable relic of the Trier See, the Holy Tunic, from  1657 to 1794.  There are also two schlosses nearby  – Stolzenfels Castle and Schloss Koblenz.  Descriptions of the city make for such good reading that the Editor is now planning a holiday there.

The Tour is raising money for the London & Slough Run; you can make a donation at
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/4mikesonbikes

 

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

The Two Mikes have been on the road now for two nights – 105 miles to Harwich Ferry on Tuesday and 125 miles yesterday to Urbanusweg Venlo (Holland). bikes-in-tulip-field  The Internet waves have gone silent…. the LASR imagines them gambolling along sunlit canals past gently rotating windmills.  Breaks, of course, will be enjoyed in a sunny field of tulips, which [in the Editor’s mind] exist everywhere in Holland outside of Amsterdam.

The LASR looks forward to an update from the Mikes, who are riding 115 miles today towards Koblenz, Germany.  Given their blinding pace, we suspect their description of the past few days may not match the above!

The Tour is raising money for the London & Slough Run; you can make a donation at
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/4mikesonbikes

 

Unsung Heroes

The LASR has many people who give selflessly to help the charity deliver food, comfort, advice and shelter throughout the year.  The Monday Volunteers pack for the ‘evening run’ week in and week out.  It is a pleasure to share a photo of them in action – with some additional assistance from local Waitrose manager Ian and Sandra.unsung heroes.JPG

Ready…Steady…GO!

The Four Mikes on Bikes 2019 Tour has officially started, with Mike Carney and Mick Claridge leaving Gerrards Cross this morning, on the way to Harwich Ferry (105 miles).  The team were all smiles this morning as they got ready for departure.33,35,104,128.335388

After ensuring that cleats were in position and helmets firmly fastened, the duo headed north (and east) towards the sea.  Observing the size of their backpacks, Denese is now laying on extra provisions of Nurofen and Deepheat.Send_off_zoomedHowever, given their recent training efforts, the LASR estimates the Mikes travel time will be similar to that of a Ford Escort in normal traffic conditions. This suggests they should arrive in Harwich in time for lunch (to be confirmed in tomorrow’s blog!)

Big_map

The Tour is raising money for the London & Slough Run; you can make a donation at
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/4mikesonbikes

The Sag Wagon

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 sag wagonon 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.pisa joined

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.”