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 (

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 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!

Istanbul to Leeds

On Friday I was at the launch of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal’s latest challenge, the Istanbul to Leeds bike ride. Mike, Steven and Becca Tomlinson along with several other family members and friends will be riding the 2,500 miles from Istanbul, Turkey to Leeds, England over the course of 5 weeks. They’ll average about 80 miles a day and travel through 12 countries.

I will be reprising the role I played on the last ride (John O’Groats to Lands End) in 2008, which mainly consists of driving a van filled with bikes and gatorade and taking lots of photos and video footage.
As well as driving support I also put together the ride’s website which I’ll be updating throughout the build up to the ride and then (hopefully) every day of the ride.

The ride is taking place to raise money for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal (full info here and you can sponsor the riders here,

It really is a pretty mega undertaking and any support you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Running, Raining, Writing

Nimes was bloody ace, a very pretty (in a kind of crumbly way) town. Lots of roman architecture and amazing cafés, we just mooched around, went to see Avignon and the Pont Du Gard, repeatedly braved public transport (and didn’t get lost once, although I almost managed to make us miss a bus by waiting on the wrong side of the road) and ate lots of bread and cheese, drank loads of wine and chilled out. In exciting cheese-related news, did you know that in France they have FULL SIZED BABYBELS! I kid you not, try to contain yourselves, and they’re fooking massive. Ace.

Spent a good chunk of yesterday down in Sheffield at the English Institute of Sport where Becca was taking part in a charity heptathlon for Sport Relief along with some celebrities and professional sports people. It was a really fun day, everyone was so nice, had a good chat to olympic diver Nick Robinson-Baker who was a very nice bloke and also spoke briefly to the very nice Jess Ennis (a special mention must also go to, now retired, ice hockey player Ron Shudra – an incredibly lovely man). It was such a rewarding event to be at, everyone had loads of fun, noone took themselves too seriously and were really generous with their time. Becca found it a bit weird that people were asking for her autograph though! I think there will be some highlights of it on Look North tonight, there were lots of cameras around and the whole thing was organised by the Beeb so you’d imagine it was recorded one way or another.

This week I will be cracking on with some structural changes to the Run For All site, finishing off things for Ben Cotton and Aisling Swindells, continuing work on the Pickles and Potter site and also starting work in earnest on the Northern Dales Farmers Markets site – for which I spent a very rainy Saturday in Richmond taking photos.

Marathon training continues, we went to Decathlon in Sheffield yesterday and I stocked up on new shorts – I haven’t run in shorts since I was at school. My oh my, running in shorts is brilliant!