Jack Jiggens, 19 from Binfield heath. Gap year student and barman at the Baskerville arms in Lower Shiplake.
Tony Knights, 19 from Shiplake Cross. Trainee wooden boat builder from Henwood and Dean Boatbuilders in Hambleden.
Nick Pole, 19 from Wheeler End. Gap year student and cycle mechanic at Saddle Safari in Marlow.
So what’s the story?
Well it all started last year with my mate Jack having a mad idea of cycling from John o’Groats to Lands End. When he told me I said I’d be up for it but like many of these mad ideas I doubted that it would ever become a reality, especially when he said he wanted to do it on a tandem!
Anyway fast forward 8 months to the end of May this year when I received an eBay link from Jack to the tandem, or pile of bits that you see in our photos. On looking at the link and reading (DISMANTLED SOME PARTS ARE MISSING) I dismissed it and looked through the other, regular, assembled tandems which were actually mostly cheaper. However there was one thing that this pile of bits had going for it over all of the other tandems and this was the fact that it was the only one with delivery rather than pickup only. This was a pretty important factor to us as the average tandem of around 8ft x 4ft would not have been easy to collect in either my 1966 Morris Minor or the 1972 VW Beetle that Jack owned at the time!
As a result of this tiny advantage, that weekend after a few drinks, getting “on the sauce” as Jack would say, the mad decision was made to place a bid. After a total of 9 bids with 3 other competitors, the ‘PASHLEY TANDEM’ or pile of bits, was ours on Monday night for £78.07 with £22.00 postage, making a wide eyed grand total bits of £100.07!! At this point we told our mates what we were planning and funnily enough not many people were up for coming along but our mate Nick agreed to join the mad escapade but on a more sensible modern solo road bike.
Nevertheless the big box arrived the following weekend as promised and after a little research to find out what it was exactly we were trying to build, we found that the bike was actually quite old, most probably being made in the late 60s. Anyhow the eBay description was not wrong and we did indeed find ourselves sourcing and replacing many missing or broken parts from bearings and brake cables and handle bars and tyres. There were even parts that my dad, as an engineering hobbyist, had to make up from scratch! But armed with our Google images of other Pashley tandems, a Haynes bike books, the ability to nag my dad and even a local at the Baskaville arms in Lower Shiplake, we have finally managed to assemble that box of bits despite it taking nearly 2 months longer than expected!
As a result, that original mad idea has finally become a reality with a van lift for the bikes as far as Kirkcaldy and flights for us to Edinburgh on Saturday 14th August. Things are all very last minute but nonetheless the 3 of us thought it would be good to try and raise some money for both a local and national charity along the way so if you think that…..
3 teenagers on push bikes crossing the country the hard way with the wind against them….. With 2 on a home assembled late 1960s tandem weighing rather alot with only 5 gears….. Having all had no real training….. Who will be camping out in a tent most of the time….. And just simply going with the flow…..
…..might just be worth sponsoring to meet a total target of £150 for Camp Mohawk (The Woodland Centre Trust) (a day centre in local Wargrave Berkshire that provides holiday activities for special needs children which in term time becomes a venue for special needs support groups and schools) we would be very grateful.
Tony, Jack and Nick