Thursday, 13 March 2014

Putting on the Cleats

To be sung to the tune of 'Putting on the Ritz' - obviously! Although to tell the truth, I'm not brave enough for cleats. One of my cycling chums, the singing dancing doctor, was extolling the virtues of cleats and telling me that I would easily be able to release my feet from the pedals when I stopped rather than falling gracelessly to the ground with my feet trapped in the pedals  - then he did just that - oh! for a camera! I was just much too slow!

So we have now reached the two months of the year when I am trying to get myself into shape to cycle 100k in aid of Acorn. Training got off to a rather disjointed start on an early Saturday morning ride a couple of weeks ago in the back of beyond - or, more accurately, somewhere between Wath and Nunwick. As I cycled out of Wath at about 8.30am I heard the familiar whisper of a tyre in sharp decline. Within yards, flat! So, I dismounted and do what I usually do in times of crisis - phone home. Three people definitely chez Barr - so I phoned the housephone and two mobiles. The net result - no reply. This, of course, proves conclusively that nobody answers the phone in our house but me.

So I trundled down the road, pushing the bike and muttering highlights from my extensive vocabulary of swear words. Then I spotted a cyclist peddling rapidly towards me and assumed that he would simply pedal past. Wrong! This charming young man (I'm sounding like the intrepid granny here) stopped and asked if I needed help and although he had only mended a puncture once before, he gamely offered to do it and half an hour later I was back on my way towards civilisation - well, Ripon anyway. Naturally, I did a major selling job on the Acorn 100k Bike Ride whilst he was wrestling with my inner tube. Anyway, I texted my hero later to thank him (well, I had to send him the link to the Acorn website) and he said how pleased he was to hear that I had got home safely. Chivalry is not dead in the world of lycra.

So on May 10th, hundreds of cyclists riding anything from tandems and bikes with baskets on the front to the sort of road bikes we'll see a few weeks later at Le Tour Yorkshire will be assembling at Bishop Monkton village hall. This will be a big day for Acorn; partly because the Bike Ride is always a big day with over 600 cyclists taking part last year and partly because, at some point during the day, Acorn will have raised £1,000,000 since we started in 1999.

I don't think any of us who were involved at the beginning had the slightest idea what an undertaking Acorn would be and what a success story it was to become. But the ambition to make people's lives better right here in North Yorkshire was always there and drive and determination to make everything associated with Acorn the best it could be has been our mantra.

Normally my fundraising efforts at the Bike Ride are confined to persuading as many of my friends and family as possible to take part, marshal, transport van loads of Bettys Fat Rascals etc and me rattling a collecting tin wherever I go for the last couple of weeks before the actual Bike Ride. But this year, given that that huge total is achievable (we raised £58,000 at the Bike Ride last year) I have set up a justgiving account and I would ask that, if you would like to support Acorn or if you have enjoyed reading my blog (once described by one of the children as the catalogue of things I have managed to drink!), please click on the link and make those final few painful miles on May 10th that much less painful. Thank you!
A bit of cycle training on the Algarve last summer with Louise - lovely!

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