Hanging out at Derek Jarman’s and the nuclear power station

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Yesterday I fulfilled a long-held ambition to go and check out the weirdness that is Dungeness – 2 lighthouses, Derek Jarman’s house, a nuclear power station and one of the strangest landscapes I’ve ever seen in this country.

I reckon by bike is pretty much the perfect way to do this, especially if you’re blessed with good weather like we were. The route is below

End to End – the tweets

Despite giving up the daily blog pretty quickly (after day 4 I was too grumpy every evening to want to tell everyone about anything) I did manage to keep up fairly regular stream of Tweets which may or may not be of any interest. If they are, here they are, if not then…ignore everything that follows…

Up at 5, now heading to inverness. When did it start getting light at 5.15!? #end2end
21 Apr

Just passed a snowplough outside Glasgow. SNOWPLOUGH!? #end2end
21 Apr

@leedsmet thanks guys :) currently in inverness waiting for train to thurso.#end2end
21 Apr

Misty, cold, lots of seagulls. About to have breakfast then set off for john o’groats #end2end
22 Apr

Two facts to shock and disturb, chamois cream is cold and mick doesnt like baked beans.#end2end
22 Apr

Cycled 20 miles, freezing, foggy, windy. Now we are just at john o groats!
22 Apr

At bettyhill, horrible day has turned absolutely amazing.#end2end http://twitpic.com/4nz7wm
22 Apr

Finished day 1, slightly longer than planned at…120 miles! Glorious weather apart from the bloody head wind we had for 50 miles.#end2end
22 Apr

Blog about day 1 at http://ashmannblogs.Wordpress.com #end2end
22 Apr

@emilyjmacaulay thanks! Currently trying to work out if we can make tomorrow shorter without having to go over any more hills. Not possible!
22 Apr

@Mike_Tomlinson ha, my arse is doing alright. Mick has started moaning about his!
23 Apr

On the a9 into inverness, suddenly there is a lot of traffic.#end2end
23 Apr

In inverness, making quite good time. Mick is looking for a pannier, think he’s jealous of mine.#end2end
23 Apr

Finished day 2, currently in grantown on spey.Got our first sight of the massive, snow covered cairngorms, uh-oh.#end2end
23 Apr

Deep heat applied. Put way too much on, it buuurns.#end2end
23 Apr

day 2 post up at http://ashmannblogs.wordpress.com – nothing very interesting to say, brain is all tired. #end2end
23 Apr

Leg spasm, bad
24 Apr

Hard day, everything creaking, bike, shoes, knees. This is where we are #end2end http://twitpic.com/4ov0tm
24 Apr

Finished day 3. Mega. Blog to follow after I’ve made myself stink less.#end2end
24 Apr

Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail. Today I’m the nail.
25 Apr

Day 6. Have got to head through Lancaster at rush hour and then down towards Welshpool, its gonna be a long day.#end2end
27 Apr

150km done, 40 to go. A long day, but, we’re in Wales! #end2end
27 Apr

Have just worked out we can cut 20 miles off tomorrow AND get to cross the severn, ace! #end2end
27 Apr

About to set off for bath. Day 7 #end2end http://twitpic.com/4qf9in
28 Apr

@calebdorey our detour is to avoid gloucestershire, too many hills!
28 Apr

@calebdorey currently discovering that herefordshire isn’t exactly flat!
28 Apr

Didn’t make it to bath, ran out of legs and light. In chipping sodbury at a very swanky b and b. Today was still 110 miles tho.#end2end
28 Apr

Made up the miles lost yesterday. Just past bath.#end2end
29 Apr

The mendips, now who thought that was a good idea…#end2end
29 Apr

At taunton, hip has just seized up. Painful! #end2end
29 Apr

Near tiverton. Stopped at a garden centre for coffee and to use the facilities #end2end
29 Apr

Lovely couple at local chippy donated cost of our meal to @janesappeal, ace!
29 Apr

Bloody hell, we seem to have found cornwall’s hilliest road. Imagine a series of w’s as the profile, for 16 miles.#end2end
30 Apr

John o’groats to land’s end is a very long way. But we’ve just FINISHED! #end2end
1 May

900-odd miles cycled, knees and ankles ruined, sponsor me please WWW.justgiving.com/ashley-mann #end2end
1 May

just tallied up our mileage.992.8 miles in 95 hours of cycling #end2end
1 May

Let’s cycle from Leeds to St Albans…

Eddie Izzard, Dylan Moran and Reginald D Hunter are playing an outdoors gig in St Albans, brilliant. What’s more my friend, Mat, and I got tickets, brillianter. Then we decided that we’d cycle there. Silly.

So this Thursday we’ll set off from Leeds to cycle the 210 (and a bit) miles from Leeds to St Albans. We even planned a route and everything (we’re not normally so organised). We reckon it’ll take us 2 and a half days.

Day 1, Leeds, West Yorkshire to Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire – 90 miles
Day 2, Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire to Harrold, Bedfordshire – 70(ish) miles
Day 3, Harrold, Bedfordshire to St Albans, Hertfordshire – 50(ish) miles

So anyway, if I’m super-organised then we may be using Mat’s phone to track the route and I’ll pop it up on here and you can all see how slow we went and how frequently we got lost.

Hurray! Cycling!

p.s. I went for my first long ride in a while on Saturday and got an incredible painful knee whilst riding, apparently this is either because a)my knees are all wrong or b)my saddle is slightly too low. I’ve raised my saddle and it has made things slightly better in the knee-department, the problem now is that my feet barely touch the ground and getting onto the bike is a bit of an acrobatic challenge. Ah well, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Istanbul to Leeds – 30 days to go (i think)

If my slightly bad maths is anything to go by (i didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count accurately), then it is just over 4 weeks until I leave as part of the convoy of support vehicles to drive out to Istanbul ready for the start of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal’s latest madcap challenge, the Istanbul to Leeds bike ride (www.istanbultoleeds.co.uk).

I’m having my final innoculation this evening (this one for tick-born encephilitis – which sounds pretty horrible) and then I’m pretty much good to go. My job will start on the evening of 21st July when I’ll meet up with the other drivers (there are 6 of us driving the vehicles out there) and the vehicles – an RV, a car and a transit van – to drive down to Folkestone and then across the whole of mainland Europe to Istanbul. It’s just shy of 2,500 miles and we hope to make it in about 3 days. Each vehicle will have 2 drivers and we’ll take turns driving, then sleeping. I think we’re hoping to be in Istanbul on Saturday 24th with the ride starting on Monday 26th July – the riders will have flown out on the Friday evening.

I’m not sure how prepared the riders are, I know the Miller family (Mike Tomlinson’s sister’s family) have been training pretty well since early this year and I have, on more than one occasion seen John (Mike’s brother-in-law) riding a tandem on his own – which must take a certain level of dedication! Mike has been cycling to work and back (a journey of about 10 miles each way) so will probably be in much better shape than he was on the last challenge (2008’s end-to-end ride), the Hinde family all seem to be fairly fit and I’m sure Stuart has been getting them out and about and Becca Tomlinson is mega fit anyways and has been subjecting herself to spinning classes at the gym. So I’m sure everyone will be more-or-less ready…a bit.

4 weeks to go…it’s going to be an adventure.

I’ll be blogging about it all quite regularly here and also on the ride’s site. You can sponsor the riders here http://www.justgiving.com/Istanbul-to-Leeds-2010. It’s an incredible challenge they’re all taking on and your support would be hugely appreciated. If you can’t afford to donate then the riders will be (hopefully!) arriving back in Leeds on Bank Holiday Monday 30th of August – it’d be great if there were some people out to welcome them home!

Week off

Have had a week off during which i experienced a remarkable lack of exercise, other than a bike ride on Monday where i got a bit lost, cycled with a nice old man and ended up in Wetherby.
Training-ride-091109
The chap that I ended up cycling with was a retired anesthetist and a ridiculously keen cyclist (he had something like 8 bikes…not with him at the time), he said he cycled most days and paced himself according to the heart monitor he was hooked up to – he wasn’t supposed to exceed a certain pulserate – but throughout the ride he completely annihilated me, he was super fit (or i wasn’t…probably the latter).
it wasn’t too uppity-downity but i think the toils with the old man took it out of my legs and the last 5 miles round the ringroad were no fun at all
Training-ride-gradient-091109

Currently listening to Kyte’s cover of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Solsbury Hill’ http://hypem.com/track/798511/Kyte+-+Solsbury+Hill+Peter+Gabriel+Cover+ which is quite lovely. we tried to get them to do a session for tapes but they proved impossible to get hold of.