A group of seven riders from across the John Cotton Group will be flying to Gluszyca in Poland on Friday 9th September. Then on the morning of the 10th, the team will be setting off on a journey which will see them ride 761 miles across 6 days and returning to the John Cotton factory in Mirfield on Friday 16th September!
We're proudly raising money for Forget Me Not Children's Hospice, Kirkwood Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support, Yorkshire Cancer Centre and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
To get behind the team and support them on their journey, please donate here:
Stage 6 today took us from the middle of Holland near Arnhem to Europort, west of Rotterdam. I'm typing this while sat on the P&O ferry and listening to the excuse for entertainment and with Dutch MotD on the big screen. Stevie Wonder's 'Sir Duke' is currently being put to death by the live band known as 'The Hits'.
97 miles today felt like a breeze. We've got used to the days of cycling and 97 miles seems like a short one. The day was 95% two lane/way cycle paths that we can only dream of at home, but the flat lands would become tiresome.
Having said that, I think Holland is everyone's favourite of the places we've been/cycled. With herons everywhere, fields upon fields of apple trees and even a few windmills, emu and camel sightings! Ok, maybe not the latter two, but Susan Bodell will tell you otherwise.
I'm relieved as my primary role was to plan the route from Gluszyca in Poland to Rotterdam and I would say it has gone absolutely perfectly, or least within an acceptable tolerance of perfect! The 200 hours spent planning the route have paid off. The only issues we've faced are two roads closed, one leading to a detour yesterday that only added half a mile and one today that caused us to walk for 100 yards on a grass bank. A few sections of cobbles and some rough block paving too, but out of 700 miles to only have a few cobbles to mumble at is a great result. Now it's been completed, I actually consider planning this route an equal achievement to cycling it.
Tomorrow we arrive back in the UK in Hull and will make our way to Mirfield and John Cotton HQ, our intended ETA is 1530.
Today saw both our first puncture and first road closure of any consequence, adding to the time taken to reach Wolfheze in Holland from Bramsche in Germany. Now we're in Holland the cycle lanes are compulsory but as a result they are excellent.
We're all aching and suffering to some extent from the last five days in the saddle. We've done 595 miles in 5 days, which would explain that one!
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's 97 miles as we should quickly make progress on the quiet and smooth cycle paths, plus we'll be getting the overnight ferry 'home'. Not quite home, there will of course be another 85 miles to do from Hull to Mirfield on Friday. Also, it will mean my time as navigator will be over and my route from Gluszyca to Rotterdam will have been completed. Alan will then take over from Hull.
So that's what cycling in excess of 100 miles for the fourth consecutive day in 39 degrees feels like! A tough one today as we were forced onto cycle paths due to busy roads. The cycle paths keep you safe but slow our progress as each side road has to be considered for traffic, and that is when the lights are green. When the light is red we obviously stop and that is when the heat is felt the most. Cycle paths in Germany have been inconsistent, they aren't compulsory but sometimes necessary. Their surfaces vary and they can often have tree roots pushing through. I'm expecting the Dutch to provide much better cycle paths as it is compulosry there, we will find out tomorrow when we ride 116 miles from Bramsche to Wolfheze, crossing the border at the half way point [of the day].
I'm relieved to say the route I have planned is working well so far. We have encountered a number of closed roads but there is usually a cycle path running parallel that we can use. Fingers crossed this continues.
Day three (117mi) has gone and we've travelled today from what was East Germany to West; from homogeneous apartment blocks to pretty villages.
The pace is still good (16mph) given the heat which must have exceeded 30 degrees. We're all feeling fatigued but confident. I'm blaming all this exertion on walking into a glass wall while updating the company's charity page on twitter on my phone...
Rob and Sue continue to keep us going, collecting supplies and driving ahead to prepare food and drink stops.
Our last full day in Germany tomorrow, from Hildersheim to Bramsche sees us cycle 104mi, so just a short one!
A huge thanks to everyone who came to the start line at the factory in Gluszyca to wish us luck.
We’re all in good spirits despite the heat. The picturesque border crossing between Poland and Germany as the sun was beginning to set, gave everyone a welcome boost on day one.
The heat didn’t let up on Stage 2, but we made it through in good time, averaging 16.5 mph. The road surfaces have been mixed we’ve had some lovely ones and some horrible ones too!