I was clearly tempting fate when I posted on 8th April of this that I would be riding the length of the Loire in June to raise money for the fight against cancer. Just hours after the post went up on Les 5 my bike was blown off our Volkswagen roof rack during our journey back to the UK.
Due to a catastrophic failure of the Volkswagen roof rack my Scott Hardtail Scale 35 landed on the inside carriageway of the Autoroute A16 near to the Baie de Somme. It was very windy at the time. Moments before my bike was blown off a lorry passed on the southbound carriageway. Combined with the strong wind did it set up turbulence that somehow made the locked rack release my bike.
Suffice it say the Scott 35 proved to be too badly damaged to be repaired. By the time it was clear that this was the case it was too late to organise and promote my Loire ride, so I postponed it to September.
We are still in discussion with Volkswagen over this catastrophic failure of their equipment. Fortunately there was no traffic immediately behind us, otherwise the flying bike could have caused a very nasty and possibly fatal accident.
Now I will be starting my ride on Wednesday 18th September and expect to finish some 8 or 9 days later. This will be on my new bike: Scott Hardtail Scale 720. This has proved to be easier and more stable to ride than the 35 as it has 27.5″ wheels instead of 26″. It also seems easier to pedal uphill!
We have yet to do the detailed planning but the ride won’t be flat out as the 2014 harvest will be on so we plan to do a few visits to Loire producers on the way particularly in the Côtes de Forez, the Côte Ronnaise and probably Saint-Pourçain as well as the Central Vineyards.
I will be raising money for two cancer charities: Fondation Gustave Roussy (based in France) and Teenage Cancer Trust (based in the UK) . The ride is in memory of Esme Morris Macintyre, who died on 7th July 2013 of a brain tumour aged just 18. The tumour had been discovered when Esme was 11. An immediate operation appeared to have been successful but the tumour came back in the autumn 2012. It proved to be incurable. Esme was my partner’s niece.
Please donate to the one you think is the most appropriate.
I am hoping that I will be joined by other riders for part of the route down the Loire to the Atlantic. Firstly Carole, my partner, will be supporting me by car and on the bike. Last August Carole raised over £4100 including gift-aid riding from John O’Groats to Esme’s village in Fife.
I’m delighted that Michel Mergot, deputy mayor and previously mayor of Epeigné-les-Bois, and Charles Eric Pasquiers of Domaine FL in Anjou have already kindly expressed an interest in riding part of the way with me. Charles Eric recently completed the inaugural Bordeaux-Paris event (he finished 140th out of 792 riders who finished the 610 kilometre (379 miles) course) and has offered to ride at least 100 km with me when I get close to Anjou. Hopefully there will be others.
All donations will be very welcome – merci beaucoup!