Saturday, April 29, 2006

Preparing for the Randonnee

Preparing for the Randonnee
Originally uploaded by rhesus42.
Today I've been making the final preparations for tomorrow's Isle of Wight Randonnee. I've fitted the roofrack and cycle carrier to the car, and tested that I can drive around without the bike falling off. The picture shows what it looks like.

I've finally found a front light that is small enough to fit the remaining space on my handle bars. It's a Cat Eye unit that uses white LEDs rather than a bulb.

The final modification is to the bike's stand. I've been using one that attaches near the rear wheel. These are particularly good when you are using rear panniers and don't have much weight at the front. But with the extra weight of the map table and the front panniers, it was becoming increasingly unstable. Just removing a water bottle could be enough to tip the whole thing over! So, I've replaced it with a neat unit from Halfords, that clamps just behind the bottom bracket. It's much better balanced when the bike is loaded.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Maps, maps everywhere

I decided, some time ago, not to rely entirely on the electronics that I'm taking with me. Consequently, I've created paper maps for the entire route. I've printed custom maps from the Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 series that I have on my computer. The entire route needs 123, A4 sized sheets. Suddenly, it seems an awfully long way...!

Interest from Local Press

Through contacts at the RNIB, we've been able to interest the Southern Daily Echo in doing an article about the end-to-end ride. They want to take photos next Tuesday and follow up with an article. With any luck, this will spark some additional sponsorship.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Although 1600 miles in four weeks represents only about 60 miles per day on average, the challenge of a long ride is to repeat the exercise on successive days. A rule of thumb is that if you can manage 150% of the distance on any single day, you should be fine. Last year I made several trips of over 100 miles in a single day, so I was reasonably confident. However, to be sure, back in March I tried trips of between 50 and 60 miles on five successive days, without ill effect. The only trouble with training rides at that time of year was the temperature. It was almost impossible to keep my feet warm! This despite Seal Skins excellent waterproof thermal socks.

At the time of writing, with about 3 weeks to go, I've done about 650 miles of training rides. There is more to come, including the Isle of Wight Randonnee on April 30th. There are two rides, one of about 35 miles and one of about 63 miles. I'll be doing the longer ride and maybe adding a side trip or two, weather and body permitting.


The bike I'm using is a Ridgeback Meteor. I've had it about 5 years and done somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 miles on it. It's had quite a lot of modifications. It has racks and panniers front and rear. The odd post on the rear carrier is actually part of a camera tripod. I'm expecting to take quite a few pictures during the trip and this gives me the equivalent of a tripod without having to carry one. The pump and water bottles are pretty ordinary. The saddle bag is where the GPS kit travels. I described this equipment earlier in Mobile Devices. A speed/timer/distance computer mounted on the handlebars completes the measuring equipment.

Aside from the tripod mount on the back, the other major modification is a map table added to the handlebars. You can just see it above the handlebars in the picture. It's made from scrap MDF and aluminium and mounted on an old handlebar riser. Another tripod ball joint mounting means it can be repositioned easily. It's large enough to accomodate A4 sized printed maps which are protected from the weather inside a transparent Zip loc folder. I'm taking paper maps as well as the electronic version loaded into my Dell Axim.

The bike I'm using

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Route

The ride starts at Land's End on Thursday May 11th and, not unnaturally, ends at John O'Groats on Friday June 9th. The route is as follows:

Sector Distance Total Distance
Day Date Sector Map Bike Map Bike
Thursday 11-May Land's End to Par Sands 70.70 71.90 70.70 71.90
Friday 12-May Par Sands to Moretonhampstead 57.60 58.58 128.30 130.48
Saturday 13-May Moretonhampstead to Bridgwater 60.90 61.94 189.20 192.42
Sunday 14-May Bridgwater to Bristol 59.98 61.00 249.18 253.42
Monday 15-May Bristol to Bishop's Cleeve 48.70 49.53 297.88 302.94
Tuesday 16-May Bishop's Cleeve to Ironbridge 59.70 60.71 357.58 363.66
Wednesday 17-May Ironbridge to Culcheth 70.24 71.43 427.82 435.09
Thursday 18-May Culcheth to Kirkby Lonsdale 72.22 73.45 500.04 508.54
Friday 19-May Kirkby Lonsdale to Lazonby 61.80 62.85 561.84 571.39
Saturday 20-May Lazonby to Eskdalemuir 50.90 51.77 612.74 623.16
Sunday 21-May Eskdalemuir to Loanhead (Edinburgh) 57.40 58.38 670.14 681.53
Monday 22-May Present at W4A 2006 0.00 0.00 670.14 681.53
Tuesday 23-May Loanhead (Edinburgh) to Brig O'Turk 71.10 72.31 741.24 753.84
Wednesday 24-May Brig O'Turk to Oban 73.90 75.16 815.14 829.00
Thursday 25-May Oban to Fionphort 35.10 35.70 850.24 864.69
Friday 26-May Iona and Staffa by boat 0.00 0.00 850.24 864.69
Saturday 27-May Carsaig Arches and Malcolm's Point 37.80 38.44 888.04 903.14
Sunday 28-May Fionphort to Tobermory 66.30 67.43 954.34 970.56
Monday 29-May Kilchoan to Malaig (inc Ardnamurchan Point) 70.90 72.11 1025.24 1042.67
Tuesday 30-May Ardvasar to Broadford (inc Elgol) 45.46 46.23 1070.70 1088.90
Wednesday 31-May Broadford to Uig 58.52 59.51 1129.22 1148.42
Thursday 01-Jun Uig to Glendale (inc An t-Aigeach and sides) 54.53 55.46 1183.75 1203.87
Friday 02-Jun Glendale to Broadford (inc Fiskavaig side) 64.57 65.67 1248.32 1269.54
Saturday 03-Jun Broadford to Applecross 49.33 50.17 1297.65 1319.71
Sunday 04-Jun Applecross to Kinlochewe (inc Alligin Shuas side) 53.17 54.07 1350.82 1373.78
Monday 05-Jun Kinlochewe to Camusnagaul 47.23 48.03 1398.05 1421.82
Tuesday 06-Jun Camusnagaul to Lochinver 57.22 58.19 1408.04 1431.98
Wednesday 07-Jun Lochinver to Rhiconich inc Oldshoremore side 57.94 58.92 1465.98 1490.90
Thursday 08-Jun Rhiconich to Tongue inc Cape Wrath side 67.07 68.21 1533.05 1559.11
Friday 09-Jun Tongue to John O'Groats inc Dunnet and Duncansby sides 75.92 77.21 1608.97 1636.32

There are two values for each sector and total distance. I've noticed that my bike and my maps disagree by about 1.7% on distances. I'm not sure which is right, but I've listed both.

The Charities

As you might expect, I'm hoping to raise some money for charity during this endeavour. I've raised money for a variety of charities by undertaking sponsored rides in the past. Usually, that has been as part of the UK Bike Week event. I've ridden to work to raise money. That might not sound like much but as I live in Winchester and work in Guildford, it's actually an 86 mile round trip.

For the End to End ride, I've decided to support two charities. One, Wessex Heartbeat, is local to the area of Hampshire where I live. It supports the cardiac unit at Southampton General Hospital. My wife Angela has been involved in events to raise money for them in past years, even organizing a major band concert in Bournemouth.

The other charity is national. The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) supports over 2 million people in the UK suffering from visual impairment. It seemed appropriate to support RNIB as, during the ride, I'm speaking at a conference about access to the Web for people with disabilities during the ride.

The abstract for my presentation, The Meaning of 'Life': Capturing Intent from Web Authors is available from the W4A2006 conference Web site.

How you can help

If you'd like to make a donation to either of the charities I'm supporting, that would be fantastic. If you'd like to sponsor me for RNIB, there is an on-line sponsorship page that makes it really simple. If you are local to my home village of South Wonston, there are sponsorship forms for Wessex Heartbeat in the village shop and in the social club. In addition, both RNIB and Wessex Heartbeat accept individual donations on-line.