It’s now official……date decided!
Posted by Frank Burns
Having dithered about a departure date for my big ride to Istanbul, Jenny is now delighted that it is set in stone, and the serious planning can begin. The first leg of the 2000 mile journey will be the 100 miles to Harwich, setting off early on May 6th, to catch the evening ferry to the Hook of Holland. So by the end of day 2, I should be pitching my little tent somewhere near Eindhoven in Holland, and expect to reach Cologne by the end of day 3.
Cologne is generally regarded as the starting point of the People’s Crusade back in 1096. Pope Urban II had whipped up the frenzy and enthusiasm for a march on Constantinople, initially to go to the assistance of the Byzantine Christians in modern-day Turkey, but ultimately to ‘rescue’ both Constantinople and Jerusalem from Islamic control. The huge assembly of some 40,000 aspirants was a vast and unruly mob, and as they tramped their way across Europe, they wrecked havoc along the way. But all of this is a story waiting to be told………
My immediate concerns now are to begin the route planning. I had imagined that this might be my first sortie into serious GPS navigation, using the new (and largely untested) Garmin Edge Touring. But my early experiences have not been reassuring. My first device had to be replaced by Garmin because of many and varied malfunctions. Sadly, my second device has been little better.
The advertised strengths of the Edge touring include satnav navigation (just like a car device), round trip planning, and a subtle distinction between three types of cycling: Cycling (road), Tour Cycling (road of trail) and Mountain Biking (mainly trail). However, none of these functions have been reliable. I have tested it daily over three weeks, on roads I know in my locality, and not a single ride has been without a glitch. So my answer has been to go back to the tried and tested paper maps.
And where better to find and study the plethora of maps available? None other than the iconic Stanfords in London. In the world of maps, what they don’t have, probably doesn’t exist. So I cycled to my local station, took a train into London (with bike), spent several hours pondering the possibilities and asking lots of questions of the assistants, and when I came to check out, I asked if they did discounts (after all, I was spending some serious money).
“Are you a member of London Cycling Campaign?” I was asked. “No” I said “but I am a member of the CTC”. “Oh well, that certainly qualifies you for 10% discount. Are you going far”. “Just to Istanbul” I said. There was a pause for thought while she calibrated this in her mind……. “What d’you mean ‘just’? That’s kind of a long way, isn’t it?”. I said “Kind of….but now I’ve got the maps, I should get there alright…….” She seemed strangely amused.
The other side of this ride is, of course, the raising of funds for the Motivation Charitable Trust. And I am delighted to report it has got off to a solid start. We are already 9% along the way towards my notional target of £5000, and that is largely because we have received a few very generous donations (of £140 each) to sponsor complete wheelchairs. I always find the generosity of people a great spur for completing these cycle challenges, and I am looking forward to raising a large sum on behalf of Motivation.
You can sponsor me securely on-line at: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns2