Ride Reports

Monday 1st April 2019

Isle of Wight to Inverness - 1/04/19 to 14/04/19 - Mike Coleran - CRY - Fundraiser
Isle of Wight to Inverness - 1/04/19 to 14/04/19

“I’ll do a bike ride and raise a few hundred quid for CRY, maybe a coast to coast over a couple of days, fully supported”. They were my words a couple of years ago whilst on a group fundraising walk for The Matthew Hesmondhalgh Memorial Fund - CRY. I didn’t do it that year as promised, and I didn’t do it last year either! Feeling guilty for breaking my promise I thought back to a ride I did six years ago - not a coast to coast but an Isle to Isle ride, the Isle of Wight to the Isle of Lewis, 900 miles, lots of hills, 14 days, and on my own, carrying all my own stuff!

So, on April 1st (yes I know, April Fool’s Day) I found myself on the train south from Lancaster to arrive on the Isle of Wight by mid afternoon, enough time to be given a guided tour around Parkhurst Prison! (I worked there in the 1970’s and 80’s), before being given a send-off by the Governor and some of the staff.

The weather was warm and sunny that first day on the Island, but of course it couldn’t last! A cool, rainy day riding through the New Forest and up into Wiltshire, was followed by a frosty, toe and finger numbing day up to Ledbury in Herefordshire. All quite bearable so far - until the following morning and the leg from Ledbury to Shrewsbury - it snowed all day! Wet, slushy snow! Wet, cold, and under-dressed for the conditions, I did worry about hypothermia at one stage! Sticking to the gritted, and busy A49 was the only safe (ish) option, but it did get me to my overnight stop at Shrewsbury.

After that utterly miserable day things improved drastically - I didn’t get wet again through the rest of the ride and, for the most part I had clear blue skies, albeit with a constant cold wind.

All went to plan as I continued northwards, through the Lake District (Kirkstone Pass at the end of a 62 mile day) and up into Scotland. The Isle of Arran was stunning, (but cruel with a huge hill right at the end of a 65 mile day), as was the ride from there up to Oban with a brief foray to follow the beautiful Crinan Canal. The plan was to get the 7am ferry from Oban to Lochboisdale in the Outer Hebrides but, to my dismay, I was informed that ferry no longer runs in the summer season. Other alternatives were not viable options so my ‘Plan B’ came into operation, a plan I had made in case of bad weather/cancelled ferries. Plan B involved cycling the Caledonia Cycle way up to my final destination, Inverness, via The Great Glen. This turned out to be the most enjoyable couple of days of the whole trip, with superb scenery in brilliant sunshine, ridden mainly on well surfaced cycle tracks, forest roads and quiet B roads.

The route change meant my mileage would only be just over 800, so I did a ride from Inverness on my ‘rest day’. The final mileage was 856miles.

I had great support via social media all the way and some friends joined me on sections close to home halfway through the ride.

To my delight, the fundraising exceeded all expectations with over £4,500 being donated, enough for around 90 screenings of young people’s hearts.

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