For the past few weeks my life has gone into over-drive. I’ve been all round Europe and the UK, cycling, running, filming, driving, eating, sleeping and going slightly mad. I am not sure how mad but having 20 hours sleep in 6 days last week certainly felt surreal. I was working for Skyline Events doing their 3 cities cycle ride which involved starting in London cycling to Harwich and getting the over night ferry to the Hook of Holland. From there into Amsterdam and then onto Brussels. It started off with me leaving Bristol at 4am Tuesday morning and arriving in London some 2 hours early for work. So like any normal person fearing for the traffic warden i waited in the car reading a paper, waiting for the office to open and i could park my car in a non fineable parking space. Obviously this all went wrong when i went into make a cup of tea and by the time i had come out some 1.25 minutes later there was a parking ticket on my car and i could see the bastard who did it walking off. So with tea in hand i caught him and ripped both his legs off and sent him bleeding off to hospital…………none of that really happened. What did happen was a long story to the traffic warden explaining my situation working for a charity doing this cycle ride and the tea story but he had already written the ticket and he apologised and told me to appeal, one days wages gone there then.
My job on this epic cycle ride was to route mark. A process of running, cycling and driving, putting arrow markers in the direction of safe passage from one place to the next and it is bloody hard work!!! The overnight ferry was our first break and well deserved at that. Arriving in Holland the next morning and ready to go. 64 miles from the ferry port to the center of Amsterdam and it was one of the nicest bike rides i have ever done. Rolling sand dunes and perfect off road tarmaced paths leading you through quintessential dutch country side, beautiful. I have never been to Amsterdam before and its great – lots of vibrant city folk all going about their busy way with thousands of bikes ready to run you over, perfect chaos. The next part of our journey was to take a 110 mile leg to the edge of the Belgium border and a monster leg at that. I have never got in and out of a car so many times that it wore through your skin on your arse, ouch, still one must do it for a good cause. At arriving at the boarder and crossing into Belgium you notice a few things. Firstly i prefer Holland, its just better and secondly the bikes. Holland was full of people riding crap bikes slowly, in Belgium its full of people on good bikes going very fast in massive groups all wearing the same tight top and part of some “team”. I encouraged our riders who were doing the charity cycle ride to get on the back of the pack and draft them for as long as possible but apparently 30mph is just too fast to catch.
So being in Belgium was very different and my job now had been changed from route marker to the driver of the love bus. A vehicle that stays at the back and helps the back riders to continue through encouragement and a lift if needed. I get bored easily and after waiting 15 minutes after the water stops and lunch and driving very slowly after the pack i found myself and Will my co-pilot looking for stuff to do to keep us entertained. Of course we found one answer in the form of a cake!!!
Yes that’s right a cake to the face brightens up the day and you should try it if you haven’t done so already. Upon arrival in Brussels i was disappointed to find out it’s not as good as Amsterdam but it did have a jazz festival to brighten things up. After beers and a guaranteed hang over there was the question of getting home from Brussels to London and onto Bristol. The mood was a funny one that morning and it was sad to see 6 fun and sleepless days go by so what better then banging psy-trance and 450 miles to turn that frown up-side-down. Yes sir.
Good Show all round really.