We are a bunch of unfit, fat friends nearing 60 with one last challenge in us before we retire to golf or gardening.
We are NOT cycle enthusiasts just guys that refuse to believe that anything is impossible if you really put your mind to it.
Our plan is to cycle by tandem from Buckingham Palace to The Leaning Tower of Pisa in one mad dash of about 1200 miles across Europe - averaging about 70 miles a day.
We do this in the memory of one of my oldest friends, John Spearman, who I recently lost to Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Doddie Weir - ex-Scotland rugby international - is currently fighting the same terrible disease with bravery and good humour and is raising funds for research into MND via his My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.
All the funds raised from our tandem ride will go directly to the Foundation.
What we would really like is if everyone could get behind us and sponsor us for each mile we cycle.
The story so far :-
Mark, James and Richard tandem and cycle from Buckingham Palace, London to Lyon.
We are expecting quite a peloton of friends to wave us off and join us on the first day's cycle to Newhaven - they will all come back by train when we jump on the ferry!
at Lyon Richard leaves and Andrew joins
Mark, James and Andrew then cycle from Lyon to The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
at Genoa - Charlie and Teddy join for the last 2 days.
This is our plan to date but we are still talking to guys who may want to join - so although we have a definite core this may grow before the day.
Our proposed route is :-
Day 1 - London to Newhaven - 60 miles - Newhaven to Dieppe by ferry
Day 2 - Dieppe to Rouen to Evereux - 76 miles
Day 3 - Evereux to Chartres to Orleans - 95 miles
Day 4 - Orleans to Sancerre - 72 miles
Day 5 - Sancerre to Moulins - 72 miles
Day 6 - Moulins to Roanne - 70 miles
Day 7 - Roanne to Lyon - 51 miles
Day 8 - Sunday - a day of rest!
Day 9 - Lyon to Valence - 65 miles
Day 10 - Valence to Avignon - 85 miles
Day 11 - Avignon to Aix en Provence - 50 miles
Day 12 - Aix en Provence to Frejus - 76 miles
Day 13 - Frejus to Nice - 40 miles
Day 14 - Nice to Imperia (Italy!) - 60 miles
Day 15 - Imperia to Genoa - 76 miles
Day 16 - Genoa to La Spezia - 50 miles
Day 17 - La Spezia to Pisa - 70 miles
...and we know this only adds up to 1068 miles but in reality it is always longer than the stated miles....
The actual distance travelled will be registered on our bike daily and at the end of the trip will be used for the sponsorship - definitely not more than 1200 miles!
We will issue maps and photos along the way via Instagram so you can all share the pain and pleasure.....
In reality it may take us longer - but be sure - we will get there whatever it takes!
Will you support us? - I hope you will.
With my very grateful thanks,