Saturday, 26 September 2009

What's the big idea?

It is all Dave Gorman's fault, well that is what I tell myself. Well blaming Dave entirely is a little strong, it was twitter, the social networking site, and then Dave.

I got into twitter in August, 2009. For those who don't twitter, Twitter is a web based site where the intention is that in 140 characters or less, you are intended to simply state what you are doing. Other people, including many not known to you, can elect to follow you. That is when they sign into the site they see a list of the latest comments that those they are following have twittered. You can also contact people direct, sending both open messages, which everyone can choose to see, or direct messages, which only the named person can see.

It was during the Tour de France and it was Lance Armstrong's during his comeback year. He had won seven in a row, had a few years off and then came back to promote his cancer charity Livestrong. He was well known for being on Twitter. From there I started following other pro cyclists. I had also been to a lot of comedy stand up gigs, and started following some of the stand up acts, or which Dave Gorman was one.

Dave is doing a cycle ride, from the furthest south to east, west and you guessed it north. He was cycling 50+= or so miles during the day and doing a gig in the evening. A big ask. I had a ticket to the gig in Taunton, 3 nights in. He was doing pre shows and cycled from Bethnal Green out to Andover. The tweet I saw was I related to how hard he had found the ride, I replied and hence a conversation by tweet and email began.

Denise, my wife's, good friend had died only three weeks before, and it had brought the world into focus. It is one thing for the elderly to die, but not a friend, not when you were just over fifty. She was one of our own. We sat the evening after the funeral. What do you want to do? Not now, but is there anything you want to do before it's too late. I want to End to End - cycle Land’s End to John O’Groats, and Denise was keen on visiting the Artic circle

I have been putting off the end to end due to amount of time needed, it was something that I would do, but later. Denise has only limited leave, and I don’t want to be selfish and use it up following me cycling across the country. I would have to save any energy left on the day, so it wasn't like I could ride my bike and then go for a walk with her. Dave Gorman & all that made me decide to do it. Denise was supportive, “if you want to do it then we will I will support you”. She thought end to end, but I wanted the same ride, but am I strong enough, it would be a year away, I would be nearly 45, but why not? I had the year to prepare for it, I could always turn left in Somerset?

I suppose the other elephant in the room, was, is, that I am getting older. Something that I didn’t and don’t want to come to terms with. Before I had always taken the view that there was always next year, but conceivable there wasn’t always going to be a next year, either from a physically able to do it, or just plain might not be here, a sobering thought and one which I really am not happy to face up to.

So that is the plan. Lizard Point to Lowesoft in the east. Track across and up country to Ardnamurchan point to the west of Fort William, then on up to Dunnet Head, just west of John O'Groats. Places I had been before, but not one after the other and only Dunnet Head by bike!

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