I'm a double cancer survivor, cyclist and walker who does various challenges for different charities, mainly cancer-related.

My latest trip was a three-week tour of Tasmania in February 2015; amongst other things, I've cycled from Land's End to John o'Groats (2003), Rotterdam to Lemvig (Denmark) (2005), walked the Pennine Way (2008) completed the ascent of all 214 'Wainwrights' in the Lake District in only 55 days (2009), cycled 4,500 miles around the coast of Great Britain (2011), cycled all 42 of the accessible Western Isles of Scotland in under a month (2012), twice abseiled 230 ft from the top of The Big One in Blackpool, cycled the WWI Western Front from London to Compiegne via Ypres and Arras (2014) and cycled 750 miles in the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton (2014).

Altogether I've raised over £70,000 for my charities including The Christie, Cancer Research UK, the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and ABF (The Soldiers' Charity) and I was mightily chuffed to receive the British Empire Medal in the 2014 New Year's Honours List.

I'm a Rotarian and give illustrated talks about my adventures in exchange for a donation to charity, so if you're looking for a speaker leave me a message. I am also Event Organiser for the Ribble Valley Ride Cycle Sportive, to be held this year on Sunday 14 June 2015 - more details at www.ribblevalleyride.org

You can also follow me on Twitter - @CancerBikeMan and on Facebook - just search for Bill Honeywell

Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research, whilst The Rosemere does fantastic work for patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Now for the detailed route...

This is a bit more complicated but if you follow the instructions you should be OK.
I’ve plotted the route on an on-line programme called bikehike which is at http://www.bikehike.co.uk/. The whole route uses about 30Mb of memory so I’ve divided into 17 sections which are saved as .zip files. You can download these individually by going to www.honeywell.co.uk/Cycle_Britain. The route titles are a bit abbreviated but they are numbered 1-17 in order around the country and once you get the idea that pool-jog = Poolewe to John O’Groats and mont-sun = Montrose to Sunderland you shouldn’t have any problems! Select the section of route you want, click on it and then select Save in the box that pops up. You can then save the .zip file anywhere you like on your computer.
If you aren’t already familiar with how to unzip files, it’s pretty straightforward – double-click on the file and in the box that pops up, select Extract all Files: this takes you to the Compressed (zipped) Folders Extraction Wizard, after which you should have the route file ready to use on your pc or laptop.
Now go to http://www.bikehike.co.uk/ and go to the Course Creator page. From the choices in the lower right quadrant, select Upload Route, then in Browse… choose the file you’ve unzipped and away you go! It may be a little complicated but it’s easy once you know how!!

If you're keen enough to do this, let me know how easy or difficult it was.  You can play around with the route on your PC but you can't alter the original unless you are an expert hacker, and why would you want to anyway.  BUT - if you have any suggestions as to how to improve the route, or if there is anything en route that you think I should visit (including you, if you like!), feel free to let me know.


The Route - but in not much detail..

If anyone is interested in the route I've produced some maps which will give you a brief outline. Obviously it's going around the coast of Great Britain, but you'd be surprised how many different alternatives there are.

I decided not to cycle around islands, except... just to be awkward I thought I'd nip over on to Walney Island at Barrow-in-Furness.  Then in NW Scotland, in order to keep to the coast as much as possible, it makes sense to go from Loch Aline to Mull, then from Tobermory to Kilchoan on the mainland Ardnamurchan peninsula, and also from Mallaig to the Isle of Skye and back over the Skye Bridge, thus avoiding a considerable distance far from the coast.

There simply isn't space for the maps on this blog - they would run to several pages - but if you are on Facebook then you can find them at
http://tinyurl.com/3x4qfde

I will shortly post some instructions so that if you do want to see all or part of the route in the finest detail you will be able to, using an on-line program called http://www.bikehike.co.uk/

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas Cracker Cancelled

...or rather postponed until early next year.  Pretty inevitable considering the current weather conditions.  What a shame - over the last few days I've been looking forward to dealing with freezing cold, numb feet and hands, 'orrible snotsicles and general severe hypothermia.  Seriously though, it's not easy to keep fit in this weather unless you go to the gym, which is OK - just deadly boring compared to speeding (?) through the countryside.  I have an old bike set up on rollers in the spare bedroom; I could always try pedalling away on that whilst watching DVDs of the Tour de France. But not yet!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Why I'm Supporting Cancer Research UK

Whilst there are many really worthwhile charities providing palliative care for cancer patients – Macmillan Nurses, Marie Curie, the Rosemere Foundation, and many more – I think it is also vital to support ground-breaking scientific research which will lead to lasting benefits both in terms of treatment and preventing cancer in the first place.

That’s why I am supporting the excellent work being carried out by Professor Margaret Frame at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, which will help cancer patients now and in the future throughout the UK and beyond.

A lot of planning needs to go into the Cycle Round Britain’s Coast Challenge: the start of the ride is still five months away and I’m going to be kept busy the whole time between now and then. But if you don’t want to wait and would rather help this vital work by Cancer Research UK right now, go to

http://myprojects.cancerresearchuk.org/group-giving/cycle-britains-coast,

where there is lots more information and an easy way to make a donation. Unlike the JustGiving web site, every penny of your donation will go directl to Cancer Research UK. (Even if you don’t want to donate now, it’s worth looking at the site!)

If you put my Giving Group page in your favourites you can keep up to date with progress before, during and after the ride around Britain. And if you have any queries or can offer any help, all you need to do is post a comment and I’ll get straight back to you.



Monday, 22 November 2010

The Christmas Cracker Draws Near

Last year I was persuaded to do the Epic Events Cumbria Christmas Cracker Cycle Sportive – 60-odd miles of country lanes in South Lakeland in the middle of December. The weather was bitterly cold (and boy do I feel the cold) – so bad in fact that the first section over Red Bank at Grasmere was cancelled due to ice and the ride re-routed through Ambleside. Having arrived at the start all warm and toasty, the hour’s delay left me frozen to the bone and it wasn’t until I’d been going ten miles that I began to feel my fingers again. I don’t think I felt my toes all day. So this year I’m doing it again (I’m suffering from a severe lack of brain cells – or was it the promise of free Christmas Pudding at the finish?) It’s on Sunday December 5th and starts at Grasmere Village Hall, and joining me from Clitheroe will be Richard Dugdale, Mick Bryan, Steve Hollingsworth and Alan Taylor. Of the 500+ entrants, only 25 will be older than me, although two of those will be Richard and Steve! Then we’ll see if the recent gym training has done any good… Somehow I doubt it – not that Steve at Lee Carter has been doing anything wrong, but, as the saying goes, you can’t make silk purse of a sow’s ear. My body seems to be built for long, slow plods and doesn’t appear to want to change! Meanwhile I’ll be putting some information about Cancer Research UK on the Blog soon, and I had a flutter of excitement last week when Chloe from Motorhomes and Motor Caravans Magazine emailed me sounding very positive about the Round Britain Ride and optimistic that we might find a motor home somewhere. I’m now waiting for news from her Editor, so keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Getting down to work

Now I’m back home for the rest of the year and need to make some real progress in several areas. Firstly, to flesh out more details of the route. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that I seem to have lost the section of route from Newport, South Wales, back to the finish! That’s the problem with using a PC and a laptop at the same time – I must have overwritten the newer file with an older one. Never mind, that won’t take long to rectify. Then there’s publicity. So far I haven’t made progress with BBC's Inside Out or the One Show, but I’ll keep trying. I might have more success if I concentrate on the regional BBC News and Radio programmes. I’ve definitely decided that I will be raising funds for Cancer Research UK and yesterday I met their Area Volunteer Manager supporting local fundraising, Sarah McPhee. She couldn’t be more enthusiastic, which is brilliant. She will be my main link with CRUK and hopefully between us we should be able to maximise the amount raised by the bike ride. She couldn’t promise to find a motorhome but I’ll keep working on that!! Finally I need to get myself fitter. Vicky Lee from Clitheroe’s Lee Carter Health Studio kindly promised that Steve Backhouse will knock me into shape. I met him this morning so that he could put me through my paces and realise what a big job he has!! Suitably inspired I went out and did a fast 26 miles in this afternoon’s fantastic weather. Tomorrow morning (weather forecast dire) will see me in the gym trying to remember all the squats, lunges and what-have-you that Steve (not realising the short-term memory loss of a 58-year old brain) tried to show me this morning. There's going to be some blood sweat and tears...

An Alpine Break

I had a great weekend break in Switzerland last month courtesy of James & Jill Alpe (they really are called Alpe!). Day one was gorgeous, with blue skies above and the white tops of clouds below: a tough climb up to the Greppon Blanc at 2,700m followed by a great ridge walk. Day two was in snow and included the phenomenal Ancien Bisse de Cherve, a narrow path clinging to the mountainside with some pretty long drops off, and day three was a pleasant valley walk. Now I’m back home for the rest of the year... - see the next article!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Autumn and Winter Training

When autumn arrives and the weather gets cold and wet, it's hard to find any motivation to go out on the bike. This year will have to be different - I need to keep up my fitness so that I'm not struggling to regain it come spring time.
Val bought me some good wet weather gear for my birthday last month, but that doesn't get over the problem of cold hands and feet. Big gloves are usually enough for the hands providing I don't stop for long, but my feet - aagghh! Even with Sealskins socks, then cycle shoes, then Neoprene overshoes, and an old pair of hiking socks over the top of that lot, making me look like the Abonimable Snowman on two wheels, they are still like two blocks of ice after an hour. If anyone knows the secret of warm feet, please post a comment!
Trying to keep warm on last year's freezing 'Christmas Cracker', with Richard Dugdale
I've covered over 2,000 miles on the bike so far this year, but no matter how much I do, my leg muscles don't seem to want to get any bigger. Everyone else seems to go up hills faster than me. Do muscles refuse to increase in size at age 58 or do I need to do some strength training? Again, if you know the answer, post a comment.
I'm off to Switzerland on Thursday for two days' walking. That's three trips away in five weeks, so I'll have some serious grovelling to do when I get back, before I start some serious work looking for sponsors - food, clothing, cycle spares, accommodation, and anything else I can think of.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Hang on lads, I've got a great idea...

A few weeks ago I was enjoying a relaxing evening at home, when a thought popped into my head. ‘Liverpool to Goole 2001, Land’s End to John o’Groats 2003, Rotterdam to Lemvig 2005, British Cycle Sportive 2007, All 214 Wainwrights 2009…’ Every other year. And 2011 will be here before you know it, so am I going to break the pattern? Suppose not. On each occasion I’ve raised money for various charities – The Christie Hospital (£9,000 in total), Multiple Sclerosis (£5,000), Rosemere Cancer Foundation (over £10,000). Time to raise some more, probably for Cancer again. I got out a few books and maps. El Camino de Santiago de Compostela? Gibraltar to John o’Groats by bike? (that still has a certain appeal). Round the coast of Great Britain? How far is that then? I’d read Josie Dew’s account of cycling round GB, but she cut out Scotland (nearly half of the whole thing!), carried about 50 kilos of luggage, and camped. So whilst she’s pretty exceptional, it’s not my style - I’d prefer to travel light, in a bit more comfort (of which more later) and do the whole thing – England, Scotland, Wales. There’s scope for confusion here: to be pedantic (heaven forbid) Great Britain is the main island of the archipelago that is the British Isles. There are hundreds, thousands, of smaller islands, from the Isle of Wight and Anglesey down to tiny specks, but they can wait for another time. Maps out again. A few evenings looking at possibilities. Keep as close to the coast as one reasonably can and use ferries across estuaries where they exist – Felixstowe, Tamar, Dart, etc. A rough estimate puts the distance at just over 4,000 miles. At 80 miles a day that’s 50 days, plus rest days (at least two per week please) plus other delays, so at a best estimate it will take around 10 weeks. Booking accommodation is impractical and expensive. For LEJoG we had the use of a motorhome, on loan from a friend of a friend who was undergoing cancer treatment (I was raising money for The Christie). It would be nice to use a motorhome again. The bigger the ride the more money one would hope to raise. Publicity required. When I walked all 214 Wainwrights I got very little at the time, even though I was close to breaking records. This time, especially as the ride covers the whole country, I must make sure we get better coverage. I’ve contacted the BBC but progress is naturally slow. Not sure if a long ride fits well with national newspapers. I still have to decide who to raise money for. If I can get donations on a national basis then it seems right that the recipient should be a national organisation rather than a local one. Cancer Research UK and McMillan Nurses spring to mind but their may be others. I need to look into this some more. That’s enough thinking. I’m keeping my diary free for May – July next year: now to get back to the maps and update the blog again when I have more news. In the meantime if anyone knows where there might be a motorhome availabe for 10 – 12 weeks next Spring / Summer, please let me know!