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.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Last minute hiccups

I had a bit of a scare last night – I’d been looking into the routes in more detail and found that the ferry times from North Uist to Skye seemed to have changed.  The day’s only ferry wasn’t at 1800, but 1600, leaving us a bit short of time because on that day we have to start with Vatersay at the southern end of the Outer Hebrides and pedal our way to Lochmaddy in the very north – all of 74 miles.  Whether I’d read it wrong the first time a few months ago, or whether it had been changed since then, I’m not sure.

At first I thought it might not be possible to get around the problem, but after another look at the early part of the route I realised it should still be possible. Now some of you may be thinking “What’s the problem with 74 miles before 4 pm?”, but there are two problems. Firstly, 74 miles with a fully-loaded touring bike is harder work than an luggage-free racer, and I have to make allowances in case there are strong headwinds and pouring rain.  Secondly, there is a ferry earlier in the day from Barra, which arrives on Eriskay at 1005 – so unlike mainland cycling, there is no way we can give ourselves more time by having an early start.

Never mind – we WILL do it!

Still, it meant that I’ve spent all day double-checking every single ferry timetable to make sure there are no more banana skins, and also looking at each day’s route in more detail to make sure they’re not impossibly long.

As a result I’ve reminded myself how big Lewis and Skye are!  Three days on Lewis still don’t give us enough time to visit all the places I would like, given that we must take in the islands of Great Berneray and Scalpay (both are islands but are now accessible by modern bridges).


Portree, Isle of Skye

Just as last year, I’m beginning to think maybe I should have planned a more relaxed schedule, to give myself chance to see more. But the tour can’t be longer than four weeks as I have to be back home by the last weekend in May, for reasons which I will disclose in a future blog – I’ll leave that as a bit of a mystery for now!

Right. My next job is to make sure the bike, everything that goes on it, and all clothes and other equipment, are in tip top order.  And contact all the people who are giving us accommodation to remind them of the dates and make sure there are no last-minute hitches.  And make sure things are straight before I go.  As usual, Val’s going to be busy looking after everything whilst I’m away!

Oh, by the way - if you are an avid reader of the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times you'll find an article about the tour on page 3. I wish they'd find another photograph!

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