A couple of weeks ago, James Mudd emailed me after having read Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie telling me of his plans to do something similar;
I am setting off with two friends on 2nd July 2012 from Home (Leeds) to Rome. I was inspired by Jane Tomlinson’s journey from Rome to Home. As a practice last year we completed LEJOG in 17 days. Like you we will travel unsupported and camp most of the time.
James seemed a little surprised when I replied (I’m not quite Michael Palin yet James!). I had read about James Tomlinson’s ride while planning my own little European jaunt and wrote a short piece on CyclingEurope.org about Jane herself and her journey. After battling so bravely for many years, Jane died in 2007 but she inspired many who continue to raise funds for The Jane Tomlinson Appeal including James who along with two friends cycled Lands End to John O’Groats in 2011;
I have nearly always had a bike but I started cycling seriously last year when, with a couple of others (John Davies & Ian Varley) we completed the LEJOG (900 miles) which was a practice for Home to Rome… We raised £1400 for St Gemmas Hospice Leeds, the same one that Jane Tomlinson supported.
And so to the big one; from their home in Leeds to Rome. I’ll let james continue his own story;
This time I am again travelling with two companions (John Davies and Laurence Bailey). They are both fitter than me so I will be dragging along behind. We have eventually decided to roughly follow your route, it took us enough time to decide which direction to go, home to Rome or Rome to home. We have only the first two days planned and after that we will see what happens. I think that the St Gottard pass looks good I have flown over it a couple of times in Google Earth, the scenery looks great.
Indeed it is! The route that I made up as I cycled south does seem to be gaining just a little bit credence amongst those who decide to cycle from the UK to Italy. I am honoured that others should wish to follow in my tyre tracks but never hesitate to point out that I did tend to follow my nose every morning as I figured out a way of getting from A to B. That said, it’s a route that I would heartily recommend and it’s a delight when I hear that others are heading the same way. James and his friends have chosen to support Help For Heroes for this ride.
I cycled on Reggie of course and James has his own named steed;
I have called my bike Bill. This is because of a predictive text blunder, not sure how it happened but it was at pub time. I sent my son a text that said I was having a great time on my bill (bike). He didn’t pick up on that much. Bill is an old Dawes galaxy that I bought off ebay, not great to look at but serviceable and a smooth ride.
I can only wish James, John & Laurence every ounce of good luck as they prepare to set off tomorrow on their cycle south. I just hope it is a little drier than it was back in 2010. Bon voyage!
Here is a picture of John with his friends John & Ian as they prepared for the LEJOG ride; John is the one in the centre.