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

In 2016 I climbed every single 'Birkett' in the Lake District - all 542 fells over 1,000' within the National Park, including all 214 Wainwrights. I've also done a three-week cycle tour of Tasmania in February 2015 and 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 (my first) 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), cycled 750 miles in the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton (2014), done a bit of sky-diving and cycled Australia's Great Ocean Road - just before lockdown in 2020.

Altogether I've raised over £120,000 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 5 September 2021 - 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.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Keeping it up...

So what’s happening?  Well, once I’d been back for a few days after the Big Bike Ride around the coast, I found that I was rather fitter than before I started. No surprise there. Not wanting to slip backwards again I’ve kept up the cycling, including two Cycle Sportives of 100 miles each, and I’m doing another – The Christie Hospital Manchester 100 – tomorrow, which also happens to be my birthday.

If you don’t know already, you don’t want to know how old I am.  Correction – I don’t think I want you to know how old I am!  I’ll give you one clue – bread, sweets and sugar were still being rationed when I was born.   How times have changed. What a cliché!

There is a breed of cyclists who, despite the obvious pain and general discomfort, love to cycle up hills. I think I’m one of them, even though I’m no good at it: on the Clitheroe Bike Club forum there’s a league table of times for Waddington Fell – a Category 1 climb in cycle racing circles: the fastest time is 15:44, I think.  My fastest time is a snail-like 20:08.  I’m no Brad Wiggins, that’s for sure. 

But this week on a grey, chilly Wednesday morning, I cycled to Settle on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, then up the 1-in-5 Langcliffe Scar, past Penyghent to Halton Gill, Litton, Arncliffe, and back over the 1-in-6 climb to Darnbrook, Malham and then back home. And afterwards, I felt really good – weird, isn’t it?  The scenery, the villages, everything about this part of the Dales, are simply sublime. Had I stopped at The Falcon in Arncliffe (I didn’t), I would have been served beer out of a jug, really.

Penyghent from the Pennine Way

I wish I could say that all motorists shared my enthusiasm for this form of two-wheeled transport, but alas, ‘tis not the case. The majority are decent, polite and courteous, slowing down on narrow lanes and giving the cyclist sufficient room when they pass.  But there are others who treat cyclists like something they’ve just stepped in. It’s a little disconcerting when the approaching large vehicle maintains a steady ramming speed as it gets ever nearer, or when a Chelsea Tractor leaves only a hair’s breadth as it overtakes. Perhaps the drivers think they are entitled to do this because I don’t pay Road Tax. Well I do, actually.

I’ll wrap this up now – the Manchester 100 starts at 7.30 am from Wythenshawe Park so I need to be out of the house by 6.00. An early night’s in order I think! I’ll put some statistics from the Big Bike Ride in the next blog, hopefully.

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