Alex Gunby

Name: Alex Gunby
Age: 50
Location: Sussex

Experience:

I built up from doing 40km loops round the Surrey Hills to managing a 145km Sportive in Snowdonia which was brutal but brilliant at the same time. It made me want to see if I could do more so riding 6 stages of the Tour De France was the obvious next step.

He Says:

If you have a chance to take part in Le Loop, do it without hesitation.

It’s difficult to do write down what an amazing experience riding Le Loop is and to do it justice because there are so many aspects that make it one of the best things you’ll ever do.

For me, I think it was all the little things that I wasn’t expecting to be so rewarding, like the fantastic people you get to ride with, chat to and make friends with, or the way that everyone’s there for each other when it gets tough or when mechanicals happen, or the fabulous crew who work so hard and are always, always jolly and smiley and have fresh coffee for you at just the right time, or being cheered on the big climbs by people camped out waiting for the Tour to come through, Add to that riding through beautiful scenery on great roads pushing yourself to achieve more than you thought possible, being the fittest I’ve ever been in my life (by the end of the ride), ticking off iconic alpine climbs, and all the other normal cycling-related good stuff; you have goodness & fun coming in from all sides, all the time.

I rode six stages through the Alps and the Massif Central and although each day was harder than anything I’d ever done before (either twice as much ascent in a day than I’d ever done, or further than I’d ever ridden, or both) I found I could do it. Part of that is down to training hard, but a lot of it I’m sure is because of being part of this bigger thing raising money to help out such a wonderful cause and being surrounded by people who are finding it equally difficult but are still positive and happy and supportive.

At the end of my last stage I didn’t want to stop and my only regret is that I didn’t sign up for more stages. I think some of my fellow riders have already written that a large part of it is mental and that once you’ve done a day or two you realise that you are an unstoppable machine, albeit not as fast a machine as G Thomas.

For all that, definitely the best bit was the welcome home I got from my family. My wife and girls were so fantastic throughout my training and fundraising and I would never have done it without them. I owe them everything.

Top Tips:

  • Follow Emily’s Training advice, it works
  • Think about having a decent bike fit if you can afford it. Being in the saddle for so long, day after day, will reveal niggles that you don’t notice on normal rides
  • When you’re doing your long training rides, get used to stopping and eating real food. It makes the training more enjoyable and prepares you for the excellent food stops
  • Start raising money for WWMT as soon as you can
  • If you’re doing mountain or hilly stages you won’t regret having bigger sprockets than you think you need. If you like numbers, my watts/kg was about 3.8 and I found 50/34 with 11-32 was just right. Grinding is ok for a couple of km but not on four 20km climbs in a row
  • Buy properly decent bib shorts. You won’t regret the extra spend

Where are you now?

When I go out on group rides with my local club now, I’m always a little disappointed that the rides aren’t longer and harder. I’m definitely planning on doing Le Loop again and at some point I’ll do a Grand Loop (full TDF course). I’ve also got my eye on other challenges and I’m trying to work out how to fit it all in around family and work. A key enabler for this is persuading my wife to start cycling; that’s a work in progress but I think some of the seeds are starting to germinate…

Having done Le Loop I’m also re-thinking what I’m doing with my life. I’m a bit of a slow burner so it may take a while for things to change; I’m sure they will though, just got to keep turning the pedals no matter how slowly.

Melanie Johnson

We often have teams of colleagues taking part and Alitex have ridden with us 3 times, bringing colleagues along each time – making it both a team building exercise and a seriously fun shared challenge. Teams of colleagues also mean that they often include riders who have very little experience of cycling, but want to be part of the team challenge. Melanie is a perfect example:

Name: Melanie Johnson
Age: 46
Location: Hampshire

Experience:

I had an original Raleigh Racer as a youngster (35 years ago!!) and would cycle around 12  miles through the Yorkshire countryside to the nearest sweet shop  with my siblings & more recently used to potter around when my boys were little with one in the seat and the other on the tag along but that is it! And I hadn’t really been on a bike for 15 years choosing to run instead. A broken ankle and snapped Achilles 18 months ago put paid to this (and I was going a little stir crazy through lack of exercise) so when  I joined Alitex in Jan ’18 and learned of the company’s participation in Le Loop my interest was piqued … I signed up to Le Loop in March, bought a bike and got cycling!

She Says:

Le Loop was an amazing experience! The dedication of the organisers and staff was palpable and infectious and having visited one of the charities to benefit, I was proud to be involved in such an essential and worthwhile venture.  As for the cycling, I honestly loved every minute – I’d had no doubt that I would make it round, but once on the bike and in the pack  my “Northern Grit” kicked in and I was away – with maybe more enthusiasm than skill (still haven’t mastered the difference between High and Low gears!) but I had a ball and feel really proud of not only getting round but the way in which I did so and I recognised a determination and belief in myself that having decided to do something, I will do it!

Where are you now?

I continued to cycle over the summer and signed up for the cancelled Velo South,  but now the winter nights are drawing in and my ankle’s fully working again I’ve swapped the cleats for running shoes once more …. Just for the winter though…..

Tom Holdaway

Name: Tom Holdaway
Age: 36
Location: Bristol

Experience:

I got my first road bike 10 months before I took part! I’d cycled a couple of miles to and from work on a flat bike path on an old mountain bike for years but if we’re talking about sport rather than commuting, my cycling experience was almost none. I’ve been doing Kung Fu since my mid twenties, I’d run a couple of 10ks and played football on and off – a very average amount of sport and none of it would have pointed to me taking part in this.

He says:

I signed up to cycle 4 stages through the Dordogne and Pyrenees and I loved it beginning to end, even the training. It was very fulfilling to take on a challenge so big, learn a new skill, see myself improving and achieve the goal.

I’m not a member of a cycling club and didn’t really have a solid group of mates to train with so I signed up to 9 sportives starting in January and taking me through to May, which gradually increased in length and difficulty. That was completely worth it because it meant I didn’t have to think about long ride training routes – you just sign up, turn up and it’s all organised for you.

I found the ride itself very challenging, but that was probably the point of signing up in the first place. I wanted to do something new and tough in a beautiful place that I’d never been. The Pyrenees were even more amazing than I’d heard and I can honestly say that I enjoyed the mountain stages even more than the flatter stages – once you get used to climbing, it’s actually really enjoyable!

The rest of the group were a great laugh and despite signing up on my own, I met loads of great people, felt very welcomed and would reassure anyone else thinking of taking part on their own. You’ll meet loads of people and there really are people cycling at all speeds (I was a bit worried about that before which is probably normal).

Where are you now?

I have two Bruce Doscher prints on the wall in my lounge which remind me of quite what I achieved. I definitely got the road cycling bug but now I cycle as part of a normal life, not training every weekend. I’ve done a few sportives with work colleagues since Le Loop and when it’s sunny, it’d be my first choice of sport.

 

Rory Watson

Name: Rory Watson
Age:41
Location: Devon

Experience:

Before I signed up for Le Loop the first time, I had a road bike but I didn’t use it regularly. I’d bought it a couple of years before for the London to Brighton ride which had almost killed me. So I’m not really sure what made me first agree to cycling 8 stages of the Tour de France – probably enthusiasm and bloody mindedness!

He says:

One of my biggest motivations was to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust. I knew William and wanted to do something in his memory and contribute to the amazing work that the charity does to help disadvantaged young people. Over the years I’d heard a lot about how the money that the cyclists raise is spent and I wanted to be a part of that.

My training plan was more ad-hoc than it should have been. I went out cycling with mates quite a bit in the 6 months leading up to the Tour and I started going to spinning classes. I also did the Le Loop training weekend and the Tour of Wessex but that’s probably as ordered as the training plan got: there was no strategy but I put in quite a bit of time and effort and made sure that the long rides happened.

The event itself was everything I’d hoped and more. I had a couple of mates who signed up with me and one of them brought some colleagues along. The banter all day every day is the best. I had more of a laugh taking part in Le Loop than I’ve had doing any other group activity ever. It’s great fun beginning to end, whoever you’re cycling with.

If I had one piece of advice for anyone else taking part, it’d be to pack more clothes. 98% of my time in France on a bike was sunshine and summer but the 2% when it rained is the 2% you remember if you don’t have all the layers (and I don’t mean just one posh cycling jacket – if I went again, I’d pack a fleece, a goretex hiking jacket and five pairs of winter gloves!!).

Where are you now:

With a new baby! I still manage to get out on my bike a bit and I’d love to do Le Loop again in another year or two but for now it’s memories of sunny mountains in the knowledge that a few Saturdays on Dartmoor is my limit for now.

Peter Thompson & Lee Oxley

Plenty of our riders come in pairs, or groups of mates. Peter and Lee are a great example. Having ridden the mountains with Le Loop in earlier years, they returned for a 2nd bite of the quiche, along with a couple of extra mates – and the team moniker ‘Back Street Boys’.

Name: Peter Thompson, if we are using the band theme “Back Street Boys” I am the talented, slightly more handsome one who goes off solo, then comes back, however falls out with the chubby one and then leaves… but wait, and comes back again…

Age:44

Location: live in Englefield green, work in West End

Experience:
2013 TDF Alps, 7 stages, was found out on day 1 by Ventoux, loved it though. 2017 Alps with Lee. 2018 Pyrenees with Lee and others.
3 x half Ironman, 1 full
Windsor to Harrogate not stop ride in 17 hours
9 marathons
Etc

He Says:

  • Words of wisdom, embrace the experience, not many of us will play at Wembley or Lords, we can cycle in the playground of the pros though!
  • Eat and don’t be picky
  • Pre ride emulate the conditions if you can, go long back to back on your training rides… your body can cope with 1 x 100 miles, 2 / 3 days in a row and you notice niggles…
  • Listen to the advice the team give you, they don’t waste their breath
  • Don’t be a **** we are doing this for charity, you’re not a pro, not even close, enjoy it, stop and take photos, help someone who is having a bad day etc
  • When you get a chance, sleep!

2018 was my best Tour yet – I really let myself enjoy it and didn’t take it or myself too seriously. Even ate a pizza which I never do…

Where are you now?
Back at work after a vacation (in which I cycled everyday) I am inspired, yes, more than ever. Meeting some of the people that the charity has helped and listening to them was something special. If you’re feeling sorry for yourself this is the wakeup call… its proof that everybody is capable of so much, it’s about being pointed in the right direction or being given a chance.

Not sure about 2019, I am planning a 3-day race in March and need to figure out some logistics with wife and children. They sacrifice a lot for me, need to do a bit of investing here. However I have vowed to have ridden 50 stages of the tour by my 50th birthday, so it won’t be long until I am back.

 

Name: Lee Oxley

Age Slightly older than Peter

Location: Nr Reading, Berkshire

Pedigree: Nothing more than regular weekend rides and the odd sportive around Reading, Windsor, Henley etc.

He Says:
Do it.  Le Loop is a fantastic organised event.  You literally do not have to do anything but ride your bike and you truly appreciate the time and energy everyone involved makes just so you can ride your bike.  You make friends for life and discover you might not like the friends you have, especially those that don’t sleep much when you are sharing a room!  You will be amazed at what you can achieve, even riding three or more stages has a massive effect on what you can truly achieve and it is so hard to put into words how much you enjoy it.  You are riding the actual stages of the Tour!  You also find you can only really talk to people who have done it as no one else quite understands it or is sick of hearing about it!

Where are you now?
I’ve done Le Loop mountain stages for two years running now and of course, you want to go bigger next time so next years plans are being formulated As for doing the full Tour, what else am I going to do when I’m 50!!!  Certainly not a luxurious holiday with my wife!!!

Ella Green

Name: Ella Green
Age: 36
Location: London

Experience:

Before Le Loop I had completed Ride London twice and a few sportives around London’s south west. But never the distance of a single stage of the Tour de France and never two days in a row! One of the rides I’m most proud of was the C2C from Whitehaven to Tyneside with just myself, my bike and 2 panniers. I’d also cycled solo from London to Margate earlier this year, which was the longest I’d cycled solo in a day. For me I wasn’t afraid of the long distances but 102miles was my mental barrier, what happens when the garmin ticks over to 103… turns out you just keep pedalling J

She Says:

After completing my loop I realised how much of the challenge was just mental and not physical. Now that I’ve done it I honestly feel like there isn’t a cycling challenge I wouldn’t be up for. But it’s also been a lot more than this. It’s filled me with such confidence that I am now seeing changes in other parts of my life, this has been unexpected but very rewarding.

For anyone considering Le Loop, I would say “stop considering it and just sign up”. Don’t think about being the slowest or cycling on your own or what happens if you don’t complete a stage (heck even the pro’s miss the cut offs #Cavendish #Kittel #Renshaw) but in Le Loop there are no cut off times only support to get you through.

Best (and worst) moments:

  • I loved riding out in the morning with all the riders as Le Loop has a wonderful rule where no one can leave the first stop until the last rider has arrived. This gave me a chance to ride and chat with some of the faster riders about their cycling experiences.
  • Riding with Emily Chappell, Emily is a phenomenal cyclist and astute ride leader. It was so inspiring to have her lead the ride, ride along side her and then follow her online while she completed the whole tour.
  • Stopping under a sprinkler by a corn field and getting absolutely soaked, I can still hear Annabel laughing at me (it was 35 degrees btw)
  • Knowing there were 4 feed stops to keep you going, just focus on the next one, only 40km away…
  • On the second day it was thought that Chris Froome was out of the Tour, for many miles all I could think was “I’ll finish more stages than Froome this year” sadly short lived but it got me through a few miles
  • Getting back on that saddle on day 2
  • Not getting back on that saddle on day 3
  • Riding through villages that felt deserted due to the heat but that also had all the TdF bunting up in preparation for 7 days time
  • Riding what felt like long roads that never end with a head wind that made them even longer
  • A week later watching the real TdF and seeing where I had been and knowing I had cycled those stages was just so exciting (and I was super proud of everyone)
  • Being back in London and following Le Loop, knowing they were out there doing every single stage one day at a time

Advice:

  • Sign up!
  • Sudocrem is your friend
  • Break the stage down into chunks, focus on the next set of miles rather than the whole thing
  • Pack for all weathers (including super hot, Summer base layers do keep you cool)
  • The team at Le Loop are there to support you, they are some of the most capable people I have ever met, they are there to help you achieve your TdF goal

Where are you now?

Well if I thought cycling was a huge part of my life before it’s even bigger now! Before Le Loop I thought there were rides I could never do, now I just think how am I ever going to do them all!

On returning to London having done the first two flat stages of the Tour de France, I then decided to take on some Alps and headed back to France in August. I climbed 7,627m over 5 days and went from an extremely nervous descender (like crying downhill nervous) to a… well lets just say less nervous! I fell in love with the mountains, the gradients and the switchbacks and cannot wait to go back.

Now that I’ve achieved what seemed unachievable I have so much more confidence in my cycling and what’s even better is this is filtering into other parts of my life.

I’m learning a lot more about bike mechanics, having built my own single speed and doing a lot of my own bike maintenance. I’m also very much involved with BellaVelo (the women’s cycling club I joined only months before Le Loop). I’m doing my ride leader training, assisting with our beginner sessions and general club organisation.

The most exciting thing for me (with the help of Emily Chappell) has been banding together BellaVelo’s to ride Le Loop next year! Le Loop 2019 here we come!

Andy Smith

Name: Andy Smith
Age: 52
Location: Ex-pat Shetlander living in Berkshire!

Experience:

When I signed up for Le Loop, I didn’t even have a road bike. An “intermittent” Mountain Biker in my younger years, I had completed LEJOG in my twenties, so where I had an idea of what a long day in the saddle looked like, I had no mountain experience. Knowing I was up against it, I borrowed a bike from a friend and got some serious training miles in. I had become very unhealthy, and having turned some self – harmful behaviours around, I was looking for an avenue to continue my journey and see how far I could actually push myself. After all, if I had achieved something I previously thought to be impossible, what else had I talked myself out of?

When I got the confirmation I’d got my place to ride the Grand Loop, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!

He Says:

Riding le Loop was arguably the most rewarding, challenging, life-affirming and enjoyable thing I have ever done. Each day brought a new challenge, and I soon learned the hardest days were not necessarily the ones you anticipated.

I had expected to be at the back and riding solo most of the time. Being inexperienced at group riding, I hadn’t really considered the beauty of the teamwork in a peloton and the companionship I would encounter on the road. Turns were taken at the front, encouraging words were given and received, and friends were made for life. I did video blogs as I went, and shared my journey honestly, developing a surprisingly enormous following as I went. People saw me laugh, cry, celebrate, beat myself up, marvel at my own achievements and they watched an overweight 50-something who has battled alcohol addiction for most of his life transform and blossom into something approaching a competent cyclist. I lost over 30lbs in training for Le Loop and a further 14lbs on the road, while all my health issues have been resolved. Extraordinary!

What did Le Loop teach me? It taught me the value of patience and the ability to endure – big goals are achieved in smaller chunks and the game is won and lost in your head. Climbing the Croix de Fer on the infamous Alpe D’Huez stage (on which I finished at 11pm!) in around 4 hours was made manageable by bumping into friendly faces in an alpine village and sharing a bottle of coke and a chocolate bar, before pressing on. The organisation of the event was extraordinary, and at times the schedule was brutal with transfers to starts / hotels at times being as tough as the pedalling. The whole thing was faultless, and the Le Loop team were genuinely unbelievable – supportive, patient, encouraging and supremely effective at making sure that things happened when they were supposed to.

But for me, Le loop was about the “moments” I will treasure for the rest of my life:

  • Playing like children with fellow riders in a water fountain on the Lacets de Montvernier (and in most of the other Alpine fountains, if I’m honest)
  • Hearing a fellow Grand Looper describe us as ‘like an old married couple’ to another cyclist
  • Shouting and swearing alone at myself on a climb only to look round and find an 80 year old French cyclist tucked on my wheel shaking his head in despair at me.
  • Staring at Strava in amazement at my record descents of the Mur de Bretagne & Col de Portet and realising Isaac Newton was right about gravity when you weigh 100Kg
  • Sharing a hug with a fellow Looper in the freezing rain at the top of the Tourmalet who had just laid some demons to rest
  • Climbing the Pic de Nore in the searing heat with two epic guys and whoever got to the next kilometre marker first, shouting back, “more shit” or “less shit” depending on the upcoming gradient. (And then snapping my crank within sight of the top!)
  • Getting a text message chasing me for my blog from someone because “their kids were waiting for today’s update”.

Where are you now?

From a life and business perspective, I now help people with alcohol issues and for sure completing the Grand Loop achieved my objective of portraying a positive image of life without a glass in your hand. I am fitter, stronger, healthier, and have a genuine knowing that my limits exist only in my head. I have signed up to do the Mallorca 312KM sportive in April with a bunch of fellow loopers and frankly cannot wait to see them all again. We are also looking at the three ascents of Ventoux, and I am planning recruit some friends to do a few stages of Le loop in the mountains too. I have another Grand Loop in me without doubt, but not next year. If you are looking into doing a challenge like this, I can’t imagine a better organised way to do it. I didn’t know too much about WWMT before I signed up, but meeting some of the kids at the training camp and in the Pyrenees affirmed to me the awesome work they do and as the event went on, this became the biggest motivator.

Chris Glazier

Name: Chris Glazier
Age: 61
Location: Dartmoor 

Experience:

Chris completed the full Tour in 2012 with 2 fellow riders from Plymouth based YOGi cycling club – he was awarded ‘top rider’ of the Tour in recognition of his generosity of spirit and attitude to the challenge.

He started riding – and squeezing into lycra! at the grand old age of 50, essentially to keep fit and try and keep some of the weight off, he’d always been relatively fit but a hip operation a few years previous had stopped a lot of the normal exercise routes to good health. Prior to Le Loop Chris’ main experience had been Sportives around the country, a favourite being the Etape Caledonia, he also dabbled for fun in some Crit racing but gracefully retired when he achieved his Cat 3 licence. His longest event was a self-organised ride from Nice to Roscoff over a week with a small group of friends that included that monster of Provence, the Ventoux. He returned to ride the full tour with Le Loop once more in 2017 to mark his 60th birthday!

He Says:

“If you love cycling and are looking for the one challenge every cyclist will admire you for achieving, it is unquestionably Le Loop. It is without doubt the biggest personal challenge you are likely to achieve – you go to dark places and it hurts! However, the sheer elation and sense of achievement, the teamwork and friends you will make, the organisation and support, just make it the greatest challenge you can do AND it is achievable by any rider provided you plan and train for it. My only advice: do it, ride lots of miles – and lose weight!”

Where are you now?

“Like the majority of you reading this, I’m day dreaming at work and thinking of living in that three week bubble that is – Le Loop: what bike to take? Perm any from three or fall back on n+1! When to start that weight loss regime? (never soon enough!), when to start the heavy miles? (never soon enough!).”

The photo is Chris ‘enjoying’ summiting Port de Bales in 2012. He revisited it in 2017 and we’re still waiting for the photo of him there smiling at the camera this time!

Jenn Brittain

Name: Jenn Brittain
Age: 41
Location: Canadian living in Australia since 2013

Experience:

Jenn started cycling in 2007 and loves it, but she loves it even more since finishing completing the full TDF in 2016! Somehow she fits all this riding in around a job and 3 young kids too and is proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way. She finished the 2016 tour in style having got stronger and stronger through the tour until she was steaming up the Alpine climbs like a pro and returned to ride the Alps in 2018.

She Says:

Le Loop will change you forever.  Whether you choose to ride a Loop or the Grand Loop, each day and stage of the Tour offers the opportunity to learn about yourself.

I often compare the TDF experience to summer camp – the experiences and relationships are short-lived but intense.  No one but your fellow riders will ever understand exactly what you’ve been through – the terrain, the weather, the mechanicals – and it very quickly becomes clear that teamwork is necessary for survival.  I am fortunate enough to play the role of daughter, wife, mother and health care practitioner in my real life.  During the TDF, I had the chance to be a cyclist, to test myself, to focus purely toward a personal goal, and at the same time contribute to the greater goals of the William Wates Memorial Trust.  I learned so much about myself and from the staff and fellow cyclists.  I can hardly believe that it was only a three week window of my life.

Of course, the TDF is basically about the cycling, and there is no getting around the fact that the more physically prepared you are, the better.  However, the TDF atmosphere was perpetually positive.  I remember making it to Feed Stop 4 one day, feeling ready to give in (it was late).  Despite the fact that he MUST have been cold and tired himself, Ian (Loop staffer – ‘Coffee Ian’) smiled at me and said “Of course you’ll make it!”  It is these small moments that mean so much.  To those who are setting off this year I would like to say, be prepared to both help others, and to accept help in any form.  Talk to people at home about what you are doing, use social media and email even when you’re too tired.  Their good wishes might just be the thing to carry you through the next day.

Where are you now?

I have always defined myself as academic rather than sporty, so to have someone refer to me as an athlete still gives me goosebumps.  I have entered a few Gran Fondo races here in Australia upon the suggestion of a few fellow Loopers and loved them.  Whilst I have yet to place, I wouldn’t even have considered an entry before Le Loop.

The aftermath has held plenty of pleasant surprises for me (in addition to the athlete reference!).  Several friends and strangers have told me that they have learned either from my experience, either in conversation or from my blog.  I still receive emails from people who have been inspired by my TDF to challenge themselves physically or otherwise.  I feel truly blessed to have had the chance to participate in Le Loop, and the gift continues!

I am still riding, albeit in a far less organized way.  I went into the TDF secretly saying to myself that I could safely never ride again if I could just complete the Tour de France, and now that I have permission to retire, I am enjoying it more than ever!

Simon Nicholl

Name: Simon Nicholl
Age: 50
Location: The Peoples’ Republic of Wesham, Sunny Lancashire.

Experience:

“Could certainly use some” (his words, not ours! Ed). As a keen roadie, Simon took on the Lifer challenge (all 21 stages) in 2015. I 2016 (as he explains) he took on the epic challenge of riding across America, unsupported. And he blogged about it too (link below).

He Says:

I rode the full 2015 TdF route, sharing a room with my occasional cycling-partner-in-crime, The Tractor. It was a terrific experience and on a selfish note, it allowed me to realise one of my few two-wheeled ambitions for which I will be grateful to everyone on the TdF/Le Loop team for a long old time. It is these folks that make those 3 weeks so special and ensure that the strenuous and frankly daft event is doable – there are too many people to single out for praise so let me say that they are all unfailing in their humour, enthusiasm, practical nous and sheer encouragement and they will do everything in their gift to help you finish each stage: it’s up to you to meet them half-way and at least get yourself in half-decent shape.

As you’d expect with such a group of cyclists there was a range of abilities on display but there was a shared determination and a shared good humour even when things went a little awry, as they sometimes will. It was also a joy to welcome the folks who were dipping in and out to ride a few stages – their fresh enthusiasm was contagious I reckon! If anyone has a few minutes that they’ll never need back, I kept a shoddy blog at https://2015tdf.blogspot.co.uk/ There, told you it was shoddy!”

Where are you now?

“Heading to the fridge for a beer. Oh you mean ‘what have you been up to since you rode the TdF’? To be honest, the only challenge that I could think of that really caught my imagination was a solo and unsupported jaunt from Seattle to Miami: this took me 30 days.

2017’s challenges will hopefully be to ride up some more mountains but I haven’t ruled out another tilt at the TdF some day. If they’ll have me back, of course…”

Of course we’ll have you back! Ed