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USING THE BIKE FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF 'SPINNING'

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Ten minutes after the medic removed the wide-gauge needle from my arm, I was stamping on the pedals, surging away from the clinic through rush hour traffic – head held high. The fresh, bloody, track mark on the inside of my elbow was concealed by a strip of medical tape and a plaster. But I was making no attempt to hide the fact that my inner arm had recently received a jab.
This is not a stark, Armstrong-esque, confession. I’m no amateur blood doper. I’m certainly not a pro cyclist!
In truth, I’d just spent an hour and a half at the NHS Donor Centre, at St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, south London, while a very large needle, drew out and returned, small quantities of blood.

No hiding on the floor of a team coach for me. In plain sight, I’d been hooked up to an apheresis machine which separated platelets from the rest of my blood – aptly enough, by spinning it - before pumping what remained back into my body. This process is repeated, over an hour or more (typically 90 minutes in my …

DEIL TAK' THE HINDMOST - Commuting through London’s Richmond Park after midnight

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Nothing beats cycling round south west London’s Richmond Park. I commute through it twice a day at all hours. We take our nephew and niece there for two-wheeled adventures. And we spin round its perimeter with hundreds of other Lycra wannabes whenever we can spare the time.

Anyone with two wheels in west London knows about the park. It's a splash of cool green in the middle of suburban concrete.

STRIKE A LIGHT

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We're ALWAYS fund-raising to beat blood cancer with Bloodwise


“If only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes.” This unlikely quote from the sublime eighties sci-fi cult film Blade Runner pops into my head every time I don my new bike helmet before pedalling off into the heart of London. For some reason my futuristic Torch headgear reminds me of the reimagined version of LA which is the setting for Ridley Scott’s superb film. I can easily see myself as one of the extras populating this city whose dominant characteristic is the abundance of neon lights; on buildings, on vehicles and on people’s clothing.
The Torch bike helmet has been a revelation. Several people have commented on it as I’ve pedalled from west London into the city centre on my way to and from work. A taxi driver even pulled up alongside me at some traffic lights – atfive in the morning no less – wound down his window and said he really liked my ‘lid’. I’d been expecting an anti-cyclist tirade.
So what’s all the …

LE TOURBO CHALLENGE

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You can help beat blood cancer here

Why would anyone want to pedal hundreds of miles without travelling a single millimetre in distance? Raising money for a cause like Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research is the perfect reason. It's the motivation which spurred us on at any rate, when pedalling furiously on static bike trainers in Kingston's busy Bentall Centre. 


We are very grateful to have raised just under £250 from passing shoppers - many of whom had their own tales to tell of how blood cancer had touched their lives in some way. A Chinese lady stopped with her family to tell us that back in her home village she would have been told by the doctors merely to go home after being diagnosed with leukaemia. Instead, she lives in the UK and had received a bone marrow transplant which appears to have been successful.

Another group were keen to talk. Yaser explained how his daughter Margot had died at a very young age from blood cancer despite getting a bone marrow transplant. Yaser becam…

ON HOLD - 'APPARENTLY FOREVER'

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If you enjoy this post - please consider helping us raise funds to beat blood cancer with Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research - just go to bit.ly/19qHQR3



If you thought riding from London to Paris was an energy-sapping slog, try getting permission to set up a turbo trainer in a shop, public street or local gym for the purposes of fund-raising…

Of course, lots of you have. And ‘chapeau’ if you’ve had more luck than me - so far at least.
“Just putting you on hold, sir.” Cue banal lift music – apparently forever. “Just putting you through to the relevant council department, sir.” Cue recorded options’ message, “Welcome to Kingston upon Thames, Children’s Services…”
“Please can you first send us an email, sir.” Cue fruitless wait for a reply – lasting weeks and weeks! “You sent us an email when? I don’t have a record of that – could you send us another one please, sir?” Cue losing the will to go on – almost.

“You sent an email to the address on our website?” Cue thought bubble, ‘Yep, and that was…

ALL ROADS LEAD TO PARIS

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STILL FUNDRAISING FURIOUSLY FOR LEUKAEMIA & LYMPHOMA RESEARCH - YOU CAN DONATE VIA JUSTGIVING HERE - GURNING GRIMPEURS

The frantic preparations were over. No more ‘to do lists’, last-minute bike-shop purchases, excruciating spinning classes, weekend training rides, caffeine-gel binges or endless, experimental, chewing on so-called ‘energy bars’.




We were finally on the start line at Greenwich Park, suspiciously weighing up the prospect of 500km on two wheels. The Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, London to Paris 2014, charity cycle ride, was about to begin. And we were doing it!



The mass peleton moved through central London traffic as one. We had motorcycle outriders who shepherded us along but were not permitted to close the UK roads. 


It was more akin to a bike commute than a mass participation sportive. By the time we reached the south coast, our forearms and faces were caked in urban grime. Our distressed appearances thus vindicating the moto rider who’d prophetically told a pedestr…