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.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A Brief Lakeland Interlude

This month Lakeland Walker magazine kindly published an article of mine about walking all the 'Wainwrights' in 55 days (2009), in which I mentioned that I had found Stuart Marshal's book 'Walking the Wainwrights' very useful, though I made various changes to his routes.  As a result Stuart Marshal contacted me with a brief 'thank you' and would I mind letting him have some comments in preparation for the next revised edition?
So for the last couple of evenings I've been going through my notes and putting comments together for him.  It's a very good book and I can't do much to improve it.  Lakeland Walker is a good magazine too - I've just subscribed for 12 months as I couldn't find it in WH Smith Clitheroe.
Well, it's made a change from preparing for the Big Bike Ride!

British Trains - An Enigma wrapped in a Riddle shrouded by Mystery...

I have to return for a family wedding after the first nine days of the Bike Ride, so I’ve just been checking out trains from Oban to Skipton (the motorhome is coming back a day before me - understandable as Alan, the groom's father, is one half of the crew!) Whichever web site I use the single price is £102.50, with changes at Glasgow Queen Street – Glasgow Central, and Carlisle.  So I checked out the train from Oban to Glasgow Queen Street - £8.90, and the train from Glasgow Central to Skipton - £20,00.  Same trains, same times - except for some reason the Oban – Glasgow train changes at Dalmuir (Dumbarton) on the ‘expensive’ route.  And it's easy to get from Glasgow Queen Street to Glasgow Central, because I've done that before.  So I’ve saved £73.60.  Can anyone explain?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Live Ribble Valley

This month's edition of Live Ribble Valley includes a full page article on the bike ride.  Well, most of the page is a photo - it's a glossy magazine, after all, sub-titled 'Lancashire's premier guide to luxury living' (so where do I fit in, you may well ask).  Good of them to publicise the ride though, and I'm very grateful for that.
I sent them a photo from last year's Christmas Cracker cyclosportive - it was a very cold day and the balaclava I was wearing makes my helmet look a bit like a pea on a drum.  All in all, not very flattering, or as Val said "It's a nice picture... of the bike."

Spring is here!  Today's ride was the first this year in cycling shorts - after the long winter I looked at my legs and wondered if I had become an albino.  But at least training is going reasonably well - 70 miles on Saturday through the Trough of Bowland then east to Settle and back in 5 hours dead;  Waddington Fell yesterday afternoon (a Category 1 climb on the Tour of Britain) and a pleasant sunny 26 miles around Bolton-by-Bowland today.  We have a weekend away in Knaresborough coming up - guess how I'll be getting there? (It's only 50 miles).

Monday, 21 March 2011

Two Ways to Deal with a Problem

When it comes to problems there are those who say “It can’t be done” and others who rise to the challenge with “How can we sort this out?”  The problem?  Several friends are planning to give up a week’s holiday to drive the motorhome, but standard insurance policies are limited to five named drivers – and we need eight or more.  It’s not always easy breaking down the barriers to solve such problems, so I’m grateful to the positive-thinking people at Sagar Insurances Ltd (John Meadows), Caravan Guard (Richard Blackburn), Wilby Ltd and Brokerbility, who got through the red tape and sorted everything out.  Thank you to everyone involved for all the support you’ve provided.





The Behemoth Cometh...

Today we went to Richard Baldwin Motorhomes to collect our back-up vehicle for the Round Britain’s Coast Challenge.  As I’ve mentioned before, Richard Baldwin have looked after us really well and we are very pleased with the 6-berth Sunlight A-70, which should be big enough to fit cyclist and crew.  Paul Heeley gave us a one-hour lesson on how everything works (most of it forgotten already) and then we had a quick photo-shoot with Gary Morgan handing the vehicle over.

Friday, 18 March 2011

More Good News!

It’s really heartening when people rally round for a good cause like Cancer Research UK. Today the Caravan Club promised us free overnight stops at all their sites. This generous offer makes a huge difference to the cost of the challenge and is also a great boost for morale!

I’m off training again this afternoon – now that the weather is getting a bit warmer I’m mixing longer rides (62 miles last Sunday in the Yorkshire Dales – no, make that 100 km, it sounds better) with shorter, more explosive training rides nearer home. I was trying to work out why my right thigh was a lot bigger than my left thigh, when I realised that my left calf is bigger than the right one. Well at least that balances everything up a bit. I’m going to stop looking, it only worries me!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Caledonian MacBrayne

I've just calculated that I've visited the Isle of Mull on no fewer than 44 occasions, plus Iona, Lewis and Coll, which means around 100 journeys on the familiar black, white and red Calmac ferries.  And I'm (now) slightly ashamed to admit that I've been a little critical of Calmac in the past - mainly to do with the fact that you have to pay 20p to spend a penny at the Oban Ferry Terminal, and at Fionnphort on Mull (I know, it's a grumpy old man thing).


So today I'd like to sing the praises of Caledonian MacBrayne because they have promised to carry not just me and the bike but also the motorhome on our journeys across the Clyde (Gourock - Dunoon & Portavadie - Tarbert West), and to and from Mull and Skye.  This saves us a considerable outlay on what is fast becoming a rather expensive venture, so it's a great relief.  Special thanks go to Karen Moreland at Calmac HQ for taking the trouble to arrange things for us.

All this Scottish hospitality (which after 40+ visits to Mull is not surprising but just as welcome as ever) restores your faith in human nature, and even puts a spring in your step!

I'm been working for several days on the detailed route which is actually incredibly complicated, particularly wheh you have to factor in where to spend each night.  So often what looks like a caravan site turns out to be a static home park, which is no good to us of course.  But once again I have been really heartened by the number of site owners who have offered a free pitch for the night - my thanks to them all!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Gift Aid

The previous article reminded me about the benefits of Gift Aid.  This is worth 28p for every £1.00 you donate, providing you are a UK taxpayer.  If you pay higher rate tax, you can then claim another 12p back for yourself when you submit your tax return (I think...  check this with your accountant, whilst asking him/her to send a donation to Cancer Research UK!). 
You can only do this if you are donating your own hard-earned money. 
So if you can, when you donate please do it in such a way that you can Gift Aid it - by using the CRUK My Projects web site at http://tinyurl.com/bill-cruk  or the JustGiving site at http://www.justgiving.com/Bill-Honeywell.  Don't forget though, if you donate via the first link nothing will be deducted, whereas JustGiving takes a commission so not all of your money goes to CRUK.

Drinka Pinta Milka Day

Just opened the milk bill for last month and my lovely milkman's wife has written "Don't pay us - put this into your charity fund!"  So thanks to Nicholas and Cathryn Bristol for not only supplying much better milk than you can buy in the supermarket, but for supporting Cancer Research UK.  Other dairy products are also available from NJ & CC Bristol of course!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

No Going Back Now!

Over the last few weeks we've been to various motorhome dealers and been met with a fairly lukewarm reception to be honest.  Today we found Richard Baldwin Motorhomes at Halifax - http://rbm.co.uk/ and things suddenly got a lot better!  They are keen to support the ride and help Cancer Research UK (they have supported several other charities in the past including McMillan Nurses) and so did us a fantastic deal on a great second-hand 6-berth motorhome.  So here it is...!  Thanks to Gary Morgan and Paul Heeley at Richard Baldwin Motorhomes for their friendly welcome.

We'll take delivery at the end of March and hopefully there will be time for a short 'shake-down' trip before May.

Val looks pleased (well, she'll be driving it for about three weeks!).  And the 'garage' storage area at the back will literally carry a shed load of luggage (it's even big enough for someone to sleep in).

So now the motorhome problem is sorted - with thanks also to RBS (they don't know about it yet!) - but there's lots more to do.

Caravan parks and camp sites are being very generous, in many cases providing  accommodation overnight on an FOC basis - they will all get a mention.

And thanks also to Ken Kay and Nicola at the Kay Group, who have obtained support from both Shell and Texaco to help keep the costs down.