Chase the Sun

Time to spare – we beat the sun to the west coast

Restore – the housing charity that provides homes for homeless people in York – has expanded this year. We now have eight houses and six members of staff providing supported accommodation for up to 31 people.

Our fundraising is now a serious business. In June last year we piloted a fundraising race to Chase the Sun from Bridlington to Morecambe on the longest day of the year. A team of about 30 runners ran in a relay across the country – starting at sunrise and aiming to arrive on the west coast before sunset. As you can see from the picture above, they did it with time to spare. The count down clock went with the support vehicles and came out each time we reached a milestone. Next year, on Mid Summer’s Day June 24th, we are doing it again. Knowing it can be done we’re going bigger. More runners are being recruited to donate whatever mileage they feel they can achieve. Each competitor will have a target of raising £500 for Restore and we hope to create two teams battling it out against the course of the sun to see who will reach the Irish Sea first. It’ll be an exciting day.

Last year I wasn’t running fit and engaged in the event as a cycling escort, covering over 40 miles of the route alongside the runners from Bransdsby to Nidderdale. Next year I will be a runner. I have started training and I’m currently pounding out at least 5 kilometres three times a week. Running is proving to be very satisfying – and to my surprise I have no aches or pains as a result; just that inner (and outer) glow of satisfaction that at 67 I can still compete.

Enjoying ourselves

After nine long years of searching Alex finally found The Flying Scotsman. Each visit to the National Railway Museum in York had included a search for this famous locomotive ever since he was able to walk. We found an exhibition but no loco. We saw the chassis and wheels in the workshop but the rest was missing. This year, finally, the rebuilt engine steamed into York and took it’s place in the national collection. Alex was so excited, not only to see the old express engine but to stand in the cab too. Three cheers for everyone who put all the pieces back together in working order.

Not far from this tree stump, in Studley Park near Ripon, was an even older tree stump turned child’s seat that Wesley once enthroned himself upon as a small boy. Can you spot any resemblance?


At the Proms with Matthew and Laura in July

Matthew and Laura took us to The BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this summer. What a treat. Sitting in a box, that can only be described as better placed than the one frequented by Her Majesty, we enjoyed the music and the spectacle that lay before us.




A house swap in June let us stay in Royal Wooton Bassett for a week. We cycled, walked and simply stopped to read whenever we liked. The weather wasn’t too good except for this one day when we cycled to Malmesbury Abbey. We walked on The Ridgeway, visited Lydiard Park and on a really wet day, when we just had to get out,  a Butterfly Sanctuary.

Joan’s first long distance ride

cyclists in Ripon

The three cyclists in Ripon Market Place

The rain is coming down in rods as Barrie, Joan and Ed leave the train in Lancaster to cycle to the start of the Way of the Roses in Morcambe. A tough start for the 168 mile ride across the country to Bridlington in mid September. By coffee time the three cyclists are very wet but well on their way to the first overnight stay near Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. Continue reading

The next challenge – The Way of the Roses

Way of the Roses Map

It winds across 170 miles of some of Britain’s most spectacular countryside. The new Way of the Roses Cycle Route has just opened and I’m itching to get into the saddle to conquer it.

The route passes through places that are deeply embedded in my life – Ripon and York, places where I have lived and now live. The roads outlined in yellow on the map are both familiar and new. I have probably traversed the whole route at one time or another – but never strung together in one long trek from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. Altogether it looks to be better than the C2C which in my experience loses it’s charm as it crosses some of the more industrialised parts of county Durham and on to the sea. The Roses in contrast skirts the Yorkshire Wolds and heads towards Bridlington in its closing miles.

I have another reason to face the challenge of the ride. I am involved in setting up a new charity to provide homes for homeless people in York. It’s a daunting and challenging project in itself, but we need to some seed funding until it becomes self sustaining.  At a meeting to form the charitable trust this week I raised the prospect of riding the Way of the Roses, and the challenge was immediately picked up by my relatively new friend Ed Hambleton. Ed and I separately had the vision to provide housing and support for homeless people and were brought together when, in the same week, we contacted Green Pastures Housing for some help and guidance. That was at the end of last year. Now we are working together with other Christians in York to breath life into the vision.

So expect another invitation to visit a giving website and donate to our cause.

One thing puzzles me about the Way of the Roses route. Next to the village of Clapham just off the A65 there’s a puzzling warning. “Steep hill, poor surface, pedestrians, children, dogs and dark tunnels” Just what awaits us there?image.jpeg

Love my bike – compact version

IMG_0054.JPGI love this bike even when it’s standing in the hallway awkwardly folded up with it’s wheels side by side. I had to leave it at the cycle shop earlier this week because a spoke in the back wheel had broken. I was loaned a Giant Expression full sized bike to keep me mobile, but when I collected my orange Dahon this morning it was like being reunited with an old friend.

I had briefly thought perhaps I should change the folder for a “proper” bike, but sitting back in the saddle this morning I just felt right. Welcome home old friend! Perhaps you should have a name?