Due South


On the M5 in a 17 year old pea green Volkswagen Polo. Loaded to the gills with Bikes, snacks, pumps, water and phone chargers.

6 hours from Manchester to Plymouth …


Take Off


Leaving from Shannon this evening and my mind began to consider other great sporting voyages.

I seem to recall Trevor Francis in the Cockpit of the plane that flew Nottingham Forest to the European cup final, The Galway Hurling team getting on O’ Donoghue’s coach to Dublin in 1981 and Steve Davis driving to the Crucible in his Dad’s Cortiina.

Well Bike is on board so time to go …



Six days and ten hours to go. All that remains now is a few spins to keep everything ticking over and make sure that myself and a bike arrive at the start in working order

This might sound simple but last year I left all my food and water bottles in the car that I had no key for, Four years ago I started the Etape with cranks that were loose and last year I cycled Etape Act I with a pedal that was cracked and Act II dressed in short sleeves through hail storms.

Today I went for a short spin and noticed a new noise that had appeared when in a higher gear. I dismounted to discover that my chain was running outside the rear derailleur. This happened earlier this year and so when I changed the chain and cassette last week I did it in front of Nic to ensure I did it correctly.  So how did it get that way?  I can only assume that the derailleur had come loose. This would explain the noise I had been try to resolve for the past month.

I think it’s okay now but Ger is going to take a look for me tomorrow.