stuff4sam

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Time to put my money where my mouth is…

Posted by iheni on September 7, 2006

I’ve been muttering for some time now that I’m going to bike to work for a week and put the money into Sam’s fund and I’ve finally run out of excuses for putting it off…the heatwave has long gone, no more monsoon like rain and not a hint of snow in sight.

Next steps are to find my A to Z, free the bike from the hedge in the back garden and have a few practice runs around Peckham.

Not sure when d-day is yet but I’ll keep you posted…

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A calmer weekend ahead

Posted by stuff4sam on July 14, 2006

It seems odd that this time last week we had it all ahead. The planning had come together perfectly and we were mentally and physically prepared to start the 120 mile challenge.

This week I have been reflecting on it all. I have been thinking what a good experience it was despite the 2.30am technical difficulties. The Dynamo was such a social event both during the night and in the lead up to it. The way that people offered their kit, expertise and support was wonderful. Also lots of people have been asking me how it went, especially after reading about it in the news.

Does it make me want to do it again? Yes! The not quite completed challenge hangs in the air! We have pledged to do the remaining 80km sometime soon but it is not the same as being part of such a substanial ride. We’re already excited about doing the Dunwich Dynamo 2007!

Have a good weekend

Hugh

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Random tandems

Posted by stuff4sam on July 13, 2006

After the exciting adventures I have had on tandems recently I am seriously considering buying one. But there are so many different types to choose from. Where to start….

I could buy a recumbent one.

Tandem operated from a lying down position 

Hmm, not so good on busy roads with scary bendy buses overtaking. 

I could buy a tricycle one. 

 Tandem with two wheels at the front

Hmm, might have to get a basket and a bell to complement the look? 

I could buy a wooden one.

Tandem with frame made from wood

Hmm, possibilities of wood-boring insects and other infestations. 

I could buy a side-by-side one.

Tandem made so riders can sit side-by-side

Hmm, don’t think this is made for speed or lycra wearing! Also who would have ultimate control over the steering?!

I could buy one with lots of lights on.

Tandem lit up by fairy lights and pulling a sleigh!

Hmm, too festive and where would I keep the elves? 

Or I could just get a standard one. But where to start? Watch this space!

Hugh 

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Dunwich pics

Posted by stuff4sam on July 10, 2006

Pictures here as promised.

In Hackney at the start, full of high spirits! The blurry effect shows the speed we were going and the concentration on our faces! 

Hugh and James setting off into the night

At Dunwich – a mound of bikes at the finish. Not quite all 700!

 So many bikes at the end!

Cyclists cooling off on the beach including one man who did it sans trunks! 

 Cyclists swimming in the cold!

James and I sharing a well earned cup of tea

 Hugh and James with a well deserved cup of tea

And finally – a message to Sam from the beach. The picture shows our Stuff4Sam t-shirts in all their glory!

Hi Sam message on the beach showing t-shirts from the back

Hugh

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80km ride needed

Posted by stuff4sam on July 10, 2006

To make up for disappointment of not completing the ride on Saturday night we are looking for suggestions for a route to complete the distance. Do you know a good cycle route starting from London that is around 80km? I am thinking of London to Brighton and back again rather than going round Richmond Park six times. Please leave your comments here!

Hugh

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Team Dunwich

Posted by stuff4sam on July 10, 2006

Big thank you’s to the team behind the scenes…

Finding a tandem: Thanks to Mary for recommending I speak to Paul and to Paul for putting me onto Graham who had a tandem! A chain of people without whom we couldn’t have done the ride. Graham lent us a superb bike and gave over two nights last week to set it up and make sure everything was adjusted. Also thanks to Steve and Tina for lending us their tandem last weekend for our training ride and offering it as a back-up.

Dun Run: Big thanks to James for being a fantastic front rider, training partner and for steering speedily and safely through both busy roads and pitch dark lanes.

Help at hand: Thanks to Chris with the van who took the bike and buckled back wheel onto Dunwich from the rest station at 2:30am. Thanks also to the fantastic gentleman (we can’t remember your name?) who drove us in his car to Dunwich. Without him we would have slept in a hedgerow with only leaves as shelter from the rain and more seriously we wouldn’t have been able to get to Dunwich beach!

Bringing it all together: Thanks to the team behind the scenes. Ian designed the wonderful Stuff4Sam logo that was on our t-shirts. Henny, MOD and Madeleine set up this website.

On the night: Thanks to Henny, MOD and the Chris’ for waving us off at the start and to Madeleine for travelling the 120 miles out to Dunwich, staying overnight and for welcoming us onto the beach!

Hugh

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Not quite the ride we had planned

Posted by stuff4sam on July 9, 2006

We set off from London Fields with everything in place – the planning was worth the effort. Hundreds of cyclists (700 according to reports) packed the lanes and we rolled forward at snail’s pace, edging towards more open roads.

The cruise to Epping Forest was hampered by London’s aggressive and busy roads. However it wasn’t long before we saw our first cow! We had arrived in open country and looked forward to getting some real speed up. The darkness gathered and we sped into the night with scores of cyclists and their bright headlights around us. Sparking up brief conversations with riders alongside was great fun and really showed the Dunwich Dynamo as an impressive social event.

Miles and miles and the hours, I am glad to say, started slipping past. The training and the copious pasta meals set us up really well. We were well ahead of schedule and our legs felt fresh. We were really starting to gel together and had found a strong pace. Our average speed was over 20k per hour. We would have been well on track for a ten hour ride.

Unfortunately the few odd twanging sounds from the back wheel started to worry us. At the 50k mark which felt very remote from any habitation together with black skies and no moon, the twanging sounds turned out to be breaking spokes on the back wheel. The wheel buckled under the pressure and we had to cycle on a knife edge for the remaining 30k to the rest point.

We made it as the rain fell and the temperatures dropped. The wheel had been getting worse and jamming in the rear forks of the bike. It was very very bad news for the remainder of the ride.

Talking to other cyclists and getting advice we were forced to make a difficult decision and retire from the ride. Continuing for a further 72k over even more isolated and unlit lanes was potentially dangerous. We were amazed at the offers of help from the pits of dispair where we had no idea where we were going to spend the night or get back to civilisation. The Dynamo is an unsupported ride so there really is no help when things go badly wrong.

A kind man who was following the ride by car to support his wife offered to help. He let us have the back seat of his car to Dunwich. Another wonderful man called Chris who had a van took the bike onto Dunwich for us. What great people to help us out when we needed it most. All these negotiations took place at 3am in the pooring rain and with hundreds of hungry cyclists milling around.

The Dynamo was for us now a ride in a unofficial support car and from 3am onwards we chatted about the ride and admired the cyclists who pushed onto Dunwich in difficult conditions very much starved of sleep.

The dawn broke and the birds began to sing. Our bike arrived in Dunwich before we did which was definately not in our original plan. Driving onto the beach at 7am there were dozens of cyclists queuing for the cafe and a hearty breakfast. We stode over to join them, happy that despite the seriously bad luck, we had completed 107k of a 185k bike ride and we too had not had a night’s sleep.

After breakfast we went onto the beach and took photos. It was far too cold to swim but not everyone agreed with us. Some brave souls stripped off their lycra completely and ran into the sea! This was the end of the road – we had got here but not quite as we had imagined.

James and I are so disappointed not to have completed the distance so have vowed to race the final 80k at some point in the near future. Watch this space!

Thank you for all your support and the generous contributions. It is not too late, if you still want to donate. Go to JustGiving and follow the simple process. We are so close to getting to £10k!

I will be posting photos from the event once I have had some sleep and no more pasta.

Hugh

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Due to technical difficulties beyond our control….

Posted by stuff4sam on July 9, 2006

Not sure exactly what happened, but do know that Hugh and James didn’t make it to Dunwich under their own steam this morning….

Apparently, everything was going very well at the halfway stage but some technical problems meant they could go no further! They managed to get a lift to the end and hopefully still had a dip in the sea but I’m sure they were gutted not to be able to finish on the bike as planned.

Now we’ll never know if the shorts really worked…

Stuff4Sam

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On yer bike!

Posted by stuff4sam on July 8, 2006

Hugh and James with Hi Sam banner at the start

Hugh and James, looking resplendent in tight lycra all in ones with “Stuff4Sam” T-shirts, got off to a good start at 8.45pm along with about 300 other cyclists. The tandem was fixed up with all the necessities they needed from water to power bars, lights and mobile phones. Last minute alterations were made to the seats on the bike by Paul, a friend of a friend of a colleague very who very kindly lent the boys the tandem.

Hugh seemed quite nervous in anticipation of the ride and keen to get off especially once the sun started to go down. So off they went cycling past the (packed) Pub on the Park (where we remained) down Mare Street out towards the wilds of Essex.

It’s quite something to think that they have around 12 hours of cycling in from of them, the equivalent of a flight from London to Singapore. We have to hope that all of the padding that we saw on their bottoms does what it’s supposed to… 

Stuff4Sam

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The final countdown!

Posted by stuff4sam on July 7, 2006

Preperations for tomorrow:

  • Get bike – check. Picking it up from Graham in Southfields tonight.
  • Get padded shorts – check. Buying them and new helmet tonight.
  • Get T-shirts – check.
  • Get carb-loaded – check. Pasta for dinner, breakfast and lunch!
  • Get sleep – fingers crossed!

This is it – next post will be from the event!

Thanks again for all your good wishes and support.

Hugh

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