Caen to Cannes in 9 days to kick-start ColaLife’s Globalization plans – ride reports

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If you are looking for the donation page then thank you and that’s here:

Day 9 – 30-Sep-17

It’s the last leg today – they should be in Cannes by late afternoon. ‘Only’ 100km today, and mainly downhill, but with a bit of a challenge, hill-wise, at the end. Simon and Nigel will be announcing the TOTAL raised when they get there! Watch out for the video! If every one of our contacts pops in the price of a bottle of wine by 5pm, we could break through the £6,000 barrier and make it into 5 figures! Donate or there are more options here: Follow the ride on Strava on your phone or your PC here:

Day 8 – 29-Sep-17

Pre-Ride Report: Today should be easier: A few hills, but under 100 km. Fingers crossed for no more breakdowns! Follow the ride here!  Less than £200 in donations needed to break the target of £6,000. Thanks to all who have helped them on their way. You can donate here:

Day 7 – 28-Sep-17

Pre-Ride Report: Today Simon and Nigel started early, with 30km to make up from yesterday. Today’s ride to Salon de Provence was always going to be tough – with some big hills and 127km to cover. Now they’ve got close to 160km to do… Boost them on if you can with shares and a donation –
every little helps!

Day 6 – 27-Sep-17

Today’s report has to be brief. It was a long, tough day.

We were on the back foot from the outset.  My bike had a puncture when we woke up this morning. No problem I thought. But when I reached for my (very flashy) pump it wasn’t there! It had fallen off! No problem. I’ll use Nigel’s. But I find it’s for the wrong sort of valve. It wouldn’t even work on his bike! So my estimate is we have been riding for at least 3 days with only one pump and that pump would fit neither bicycle!
Well you need some luck in this world.

All this meant a delayed start and a diversion to a bike shop to buy pumps. This meant we did the planned distance for today but we finished a lot later (around 8pm) and didn’t reach our planned destination (Montélimar). We are about 20km short. So this 20km needs to be added to tomorrow’s ride which means we’ll start in the dark at 7am.

Here are some picture highlights from today.


Nigel and I on the change of plan (about 3  hours before the end of today’s ride)​

As usual all the banter is on the Facebook Group. 

Pre-ride report: A long ride today – 160 km to Montelimar. But after yesterday’s mega-climb, it is mainly all downhill!

We are still a few hundred pounds short on the donations target: every little helps! or:

Day 5 – 26-Sep-17

Today I felt a lot better at the end of the ride than I did at the start. I’d woken up with a very dodgy tummy from a very rich meal the evening before (it was the food -honest). By the end of the ride I was fine! Another extraordinary thing is that I can now move my neck properly again. For a few years I’ve had a problem looking over my shoulder. Physio has helped a bit but not sorted the problem. Today I went to look over my shoulder and I could! The only explanation for this is that I have been paying special attention to my back during the ride – moving it, paying attention to twinges etc – as I am aware that it could let me down on this ride and this seems to have sorted out my neck. Joy!

Anyway, enough about me, what about the ride? It started with a great breakfast spread (which is unusual in the places we’ve been staying) but I focused on the consumption of copious amounts of natural yoghurt (see above). We then had a straight forward ride to La Clayette for a good coffee.

Things then went quite smoothly to our lunch stop in Chamelet.

And then it started to get a bit more challenging as we started our climb to the summit near Courziel. This was a hugely challenging climb.

We were following a Google Maps cycle route which put us on steeper roads than the main roads in the area and then dumped us at the bottom of gravel tracks that were impossible to climb on a road bike.

As with the Tour de France these hardly look like hills at all but believe me, they were steep. We turned on both occasions. Then we had the brainwave of telling Google we were a car and got a challenging but cyclable route on tarmac. All in all the last 5km took us about 90 minutes to complete. The compensation was that the views were terrific.

So we arrived exhausted but chuffed that we’d made it.

Tomorrow’s ride is long and very flat by comparison and we start with a massive amount of potential energy that was hard earnt today.

We are now over half way.

Thanks those who donated today. We are now close to our target.

Onwards and upwards.

Pre-Ride Report: Could be a bit of a shocker today! 120 km to Yzeron, with a some serious climbs! Follow their progress at I don’t like the look of that hockey stick hill! Please give generously to spur them on at

Day 4 – 25-Sep-17

Today was always going to be easier than yesterday and although we spent 5hrs 39minutes in the saddle and covered 122km (76miles) it did feel like a walk in the park! Having said that, neither of us could have contemplated cycling 75miles in one day before we started on this adventure.

Virtually the whole ride today was along the tow path of the Canal Lateral de La Loire. So we only saw traffic when we had to come off the tow path from time to time. However, we were riding “up” the locks so climbed an in credible 400+ meters.

The canal was 3 or 4 times the width of a typical canal in England and there were relatively few boats. Aqueducts were a key feature and most of these went over natural rivers. The most impressive of these was at Digion where an aqueduct carried the canal over the River Loire.

We arrived in Paray-le-Monial at around 4pm which gave us time to go to a launderette – imagine the excitement! Having clean clothes will be a moral booster tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a bit of an unknown. It’s about the same distance as today but we will climb about 1,500m. Google thinks we will be in the saddle for 8hrs, 2hrs 20mins longer than today which is a daunting prospect. We are hoping Google is wrong.

Please click on the link published on this page in the morning to follow our progress LIVE.

We are still £300 short of our £6,000 target so please give if you can. Here’s the link: (there are other  donation options here:
Oh. And don’t forget the Facebook Group. We are updating this as we go along.

Onwards and upwards!

Pre-ride report: Follow the ride today from Nevers to Paray le Monial… 120 KM and its all going slightly up!   It’s 700 km to go, to get to Cannes by the last day of September – and they are still £400 short on the donations! That’s less than £2 a km to bust it! Keep giving generously!


Day 3 – 24-Sep-17

The pre-ride anxiety about today’s ride was significant. The prospect of ride 30km more than yesterday was daunting. However, it turned out that the anticipation of the ride was worse than the execution. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy for 60+ men to cycle 105 miles in a day but it was fine. Firstly, we were on the road at 7am when it was still dark. Then we took the wrong route, so instead of joining the Loire River straight away and following it all the way to Nevers, we ended up going through a mature forest. This was followed by a soul-destroying long stretch of tarmac. But this did allow us to eat up the kilometers. This knocked about 30km off the day’s route. We then joined the river at Sancerre (a beautiful place) and followed a fantastic cycle path along a levy for the Loire River.

So although we did spend even more time in the saddle than yesterday and we covered more kilometers, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.

Perhaps of more concern is that donations dropped off today and we hope this is not part of a trend as we still need £400 to reach our target of £6,000. If you’ve already donated – thank you – if you haven’t and you can, you can do it here: There are also other options here: Thanks.

The gate to Nevers – our final destination.

Pre-ride report: Today’s ride is a tough one. It’s fairly flat – but loooong. Orléans to Nevers.
Follow the ride live at

Day 2 – 23-Sep-17

Today’s ride was a challenging distance – see the stats below. We spent nearly 8 hours in the saddle but it was pretty flat. We had the wind in our face most of the way but it wasn’t blowing a gale and the weather was brilliant: sunshine and no rain. 

This was a ride of two halves. From L’Aigle we went through forest on an undulating route with a bit of off-road courtesy of Google Maps. We reached Courville just before lunch and bought French bread, cheese, pate, ham, tomatoes and grapes to make sandwiches later.

It was just as well we did, as after Courville we entered a massive, flat agricultural area with one village on the horizon after another. None of which were big enough to have any shops. The fields each side of the road stretched to the horizon.

Food is a highlight of rides like this. You need lots of it and it tastes soooo good.

About 25km outside Orléans we came across our first shop in four hours and were able to buy water – we’d run out.

Now we just had about one hour’s cycling to get us to our destination. Or so we thought. Again Google thought we’d enjoy a bit more off-road at this point.

This was the last thing we wanted after near 7 hours in the saddle! After getting through this lot we hung the the first bit of tarmac we came across and negotiated the Orléans traffic to our hotel.

The duration of today’s ride has taken us a bit by surprise and serves as a wake-up call to tomorrow’s ride which is 40km longer! So we’ve promised ourselves that we will set off at 7am with no breakfast and get some on the way. We are looking at 10 hours in the saddle tomorrow.

With that my friends, I’m off to bed! More tomorrow.

PS: The mother and baby (and father) are doing fine! Thank you for asking!

As always, there is move on the Facebook Group.

Pre-ride report: Today’s ride stretches 152 km from L’Aigle in Normandy to Orleans through the beautiful Parc du Perche. That’s around 30 km more than yesterday, but mainly downhill, with only one serious ascent. Follow progress here.

Day 1 – 22-Sep-17

Well we did it. However, the most significant event of the day was not cycle-related at all. Two hours in, I became a Grandfather for the fourth time. News (and pictures) came in via WhatsApp of the arrival of my second granddaughter, Iris Valerie Young. Valerie is my late mother’s name and she had a very special relationship with my daughter, the new Mum. 

But back to the ride. It was fantastic. It was sunny, dry, no wind and amazing coffee places and places to buy the ingredients for lunch just popped up when we needed them. I’m indebted to my co-rider, Nigel, who is fluent in French, for organising things (normally I would depend on Jane!).

We relied mainly on Google Maps for directions and they delivered an amazing route including minor roads with beautiful views and cycle-only trails. Please see the Facebook Group for pictures and more. We covered about 125km (78 miles) and it was not flat! Tomorrow the route is longer (152km / 95miles) but we descend more than we ascend so we think we can do it. We are taking David Millar’s advice (see the video on the Facebook Group) and breaking the day into 2-hour chunks. At the moment we are clear what we need to do tomorrow by coffee time!

We still have £500 to raise to reach our fundraising target of £6,000 so please spread the word! A reminder of the link to the fundraising page:

There is much more banter on the Facebook Group and you can follow each day’s ride LIVE from a link posted there at the start of each day. Please send advice and words of encouragement there too.

Onwards and upwards!

Day 0 – 21-Sep-17

Day 0 - C2C2017 Day 0 - C2C2017

In an hour we get on the train with our bikes and head to Portsmouth Harbour. We get the overnight ferry to Caen and will start pedalling. We will pedal for 9 consecutive days covering around 140km a day. Our aim is to raise £6,000 by the time we reach Cannes on 30-Sep-17. So far our generous supporters have got us to £4,800 so we’ve got just £1,200 to go!

You can follow our progress LIVE! on the ride’s Facebook Group which is here: All the banter will be found there too and words of advice and encouragement would be much appreciated!

If you are able to sponsor us you can do it here: or there are more options here:

Nigel (my riding partner – see the Facebook Group) just popped around with some very cool shirts which were a great surprise.

There was a last minute panic when I realised my saddle was moving which was recipe for disaster. I took a file to it just now and hope I’ve done enough – no time to get a new seat post at this point. Argh!

I will be updating this blog post as we go, so those of you reading this by email will have to refresh this link each day to see the latest news – you won’t get a daily email.

Onwards and upwards.