This challenge had come about from a cycle challenge I did in 2007 from Dover to
Lands End in 5 days. I wanted something bigger something not a lot of people who have done. My wife worked for a special needs school in Winchester called Osborne School. The children at the school always need more equipment and I wanted to help. They are nearly all fans of sport and that got me thinking.
I came up with the premiership cycle ride 2009. The ride started and finished at the school and covered all the 2008/09 season premiership football and rugby union stadiums in England. I also added on the two national stadiums Twickenham and Wembley. The ride would take 12 days and cover 1108 miles.
I rode solo meeting up with my wife at each stadium. She gave up her summer holiday being my support crew. All the clubs were really supportive and most gave gifts we could raffle to help raise more funds for the school. The children from the school got involved designing and selling raffle tickets.
Day one soon came round, one of the pupils, Tom, had been up most the previous night making me a banner to send me off in style. I left a cheering crowd of people behind me and headed out to Bath rugby club. Here I was met by my wife’s aunty who wanted to wish me well on my travels. After some photos and a very brief catch up I was off again onto Bristol rugby club. I was very lucky at both clubs to be allowed pitch side for a photo.
Day two, I knew it wasn’t going to be nice weather for 12 days but wow! I really must have upset someone. It was a long hard day but I made it round four clubs (Gloucester RFU, Worcester RFU, Aston Villa FC and West Brom FC). The hotel was a welcome sight, however it was short lived when people let themselves into our room thinking it was theirs.
Day three, the sun was in the sky, which was a good start after the day before. I had a few mapping issues which added about 5 miles to the day, but still made it round another four clubs (Stoke City FC, Sale Sharks RFU, Manchester City FC and Manchester Utd FC).
Day four, was a long slog as the wind had picked up but was pleased to have ticked off another 5 clubs ( Everton FC, Liverpool FC, Wigan FC, Bolton FC and Blackburn FC ). The hotel was great and the staff were really friendly, just want I needed after a long day
Day five, I wasn’t looking forward to this ride as it cut right across the country, however things went really well and I was soon at Middlesbrough FC. Because of the next club locations we could unpack at the hotel as we would be staying there two nights.
Day six, in my head was going to be easy, boy was I wrong. It started out following Pippa out of the hotel noticing we only had one brake light working, so having to stop and fix that for her. Then by the time I had reached Sunderland FC my phone had died, so we started playing a 10 mile game of leapfrog. This way Pippa could make sure I was still on track. When we reached Newcastle Utd FC they had an entire stand covered in flowers for Sir Bobby who had died the week before. I then headed to Newcastle Falcons RFU, however on leaving Newcastle heading back to Middlesbrough I got lost. So I was very pleased to get back after what now was a 105 mile day.
Day seven, this was going to be in my mind a big push, I had to cover 112 miles to get down to Hull FC, little did I know six years later this would be the mileage I would be covering as part of a triathlon! As there was no stops for other clubs it wasn’t too bad and I made good time.
Day eight, this was going to be another big day of cycling, it didn’t help that just before I was going to stop for lunch a spoke on my rear wheel broke. As luck would have it we found a cycle repair shop just round the corner and they fixed the bike and had me off again within 30 mins. We ended the day at Leicester Tigers RFU.
Day nine, This was a great day out on the bike, I felt great and I soon made it round the two clubs ( Northampton Saints RFU and Saracens RFU ). That nights sleep was a very different story though. A couple decided that this was the night they were going to sort out all their personal problems, and every other hotel guest was going to hear them.
Day ten, slightly more tired than usual I took to the streets of London to get round eight clubs ( Tottenham FC, West Ham Utd FC, Arsenal FC, Chelsea Fc, Fulham FC, Harlequins RFU, Twickenham Stadium and Wembley Stadium ). Pippa only met me at a few as driving round London was even slower than cycling round.
Day eleven, was overcast and windy day and it was obvious the weather was going to make me work for it. I didn’t mind too much as I was visiting the team I supported London Wasps RFU before heading to London Irish RFU. Then I was heading home for a night in my own bed before my last day on the road.
Day twelve, this was it, so near but yet so far, the sun was shining and there was just 44 miles to go. I made it to Portsmouth FC on a route I had trained on so many times. The last leg seemed so easy, 12 days had come down to this and nothing was going to stop me. When I arrived at the school I was greeted by lots of family, friends, staff and pupils from the school, the car park looked like a street party. We then had a celebration in the local pub garden, such an amazing day.
A few weeks later I visited the school and showed then a short video of my challenge before presenting them with a cheque for £2380.60