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.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Day 42 – Canewdon (Essex) to Whitstable (Kent)

75 miles; total 2,717 miles.

Last night we stayed on the Essex marshes, on Wallasea Island, which, like many such islands in this part of the world, isn’t. An island I mean.  The day dawned bright, a Cuckoo was calling, and all seemed well – which I think it was.

The town of Rochford leads into Southend-on-Sea, which is all office blocks, flats, and a very very long pier – I took a photo of each end but you’ll have to take my word for it that there is also a middle.  Nearby is the Kursaal, which reminded me of that group from the late 70’s – the Kursaal Flyers – and the memorable lyrics of their song which goes “Little does she know that I know that she knows that I know she’s cheating on me”. I wonder what happened to them. I know what happened to the song – it went around in my head for the rest of the day!

Southend also has some of the shortest cycle lanes in the world.  They are possibly shorter than a bike and almost certainly shorter than a tandem. Ridiculous.  No doubt they have all been measured and the cumulative length will have merited a government grant. Further comment is unnecessary.

As I arrived at Stanhope for the morning brew, Radio Essex rang me and I did an interview on their morning show, which seemed to go well.  Then, although approaching the capital, my route took me along narrow country lanes through farmland – and at one time past a quarry with a helluva lot of big HGV’s which were a bit intimidating.

Next came the River Thames, crossed by the Tilbury Ferry, a passenger-only ferry which, on my trip, hosted exactly two passengers including me, for the princely sum of £3 per person per trip.  The other side is Gravesend which has a very pretty clock tower.


I hadn’t reckoned on the Chatham Tunnel – scary – and then a fairly urban section before lunch at Riverside Country Park, where Simon was apopletic because someone had stolen the sign which we use to tell me when the van is out of sight.  Later it turned out that the park warden had removed it within two minutes of Simon putting it there – talk about a jobsworth!

Having been through Fobbing earlier, I now went through Bobbing, and by now I was engulfed in a long heavy shower, which continued through Sittingbourne.  More rural lanes to Oare, and then Faversham, which is lovely and has the most remarkable church steeple of superb stone latticework.


From here the wind got behind me and I was in Whitstable in no time at all. No need to stop as I’m not partial to oysters, so it was straight on to the caravan site for the night, courtesy of Park Holidays.


A good day in the saddle, feelling strong all day – let’s hope it’s the same tomorrow when I have 94 miles to do before I get to Hastings – on the south coast (hooray) after visiting the most south-easterly point in Britain, which arguably is Dungeness Point.

I hope you won’t mind a brief reminder that if you haven’t already done so, would you mind making a generous donation to Cancer Research UK by visiting http://tinyurl.com/cancerbikeman or http://www.justgiving.com/Bill-Honeywell - thank you!

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