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.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Cycle Tour of Tasmania – February 2015

Day 4

Sunday 8 February.  The motel doesn't do breakfast (not many do!) so it's a quick stroll along the road to the Bakehouse in Penguin for a coffee and a slice of pizza made, rather strangely, on a slice of ordinary bread. This and a coffee will do, I think, and I don't buy anything else to eat either, a decision I come to regret later as I underestimate the difficulty of the ride to come today.

Ken locks the door to our room and a split-second later realises that he's left his gloves behind.  But he can't get them back because the proprietor doesn't live on the premises, so has to set off without, looking a bit glum.

After a brief team photo alongside another big penguin, we get going to find that the road out of town is bloomin' steep! Lungs start to strain for the first time this week, chains drop off the inside of granny gears, whilst I try to stay detached from the chaos and pedal serenely, if slowly, up the hill into open countryside. Helen, who had been feeling under the weather, had decided to take the much shorter direct route to Sheffield, with little climbing but missing out the Wildlife Park at Gunns Plains.

It could be England, except I don't think we have so many cows any more
It's agricultural again, with lots of dairy cows - more than you'd see in England these days - and interesting to see that most farms have small lakes {or large ponds) all over the place, no doubt for storing  irrigation water.  Cattle Egrets, White-faced Herons, and smaller birds like Greenfinches are to be seen as we climb more gently now over the next few miles to reach 400 m above sea level and a very useful filling station / general store.

Time for a coffee and something light to eat.  Then the descent to Gunns Plains is incredibly steep and short, and I can't help thinking that it would have been a challenge in the opposite direction, to say the least!

Looking down to Gunns Plains
The sky was clear and blue, and the heat was building as we arrived at Wings Wildlife Park on Gunns Plains. After a bit of banter during which I failed to get the admissions lady to let me in for a concessionary fee, I went in with the others to look at the various animals kept in open air surroundings - a Koala (very sleepy), Tasmanian Devils (very creepy), Eastern Grey Kangaroos, a Wombat, Meerkats (African, surely?), Kookaburras, Black Swans, snakes, and so on.

The Tasmanian Devil has a bite which, pound for pound, is stronger than a Great White Shark,
Did you know there are three species of snake native to Tasmania?  All of them poisonous, potentially fatally - the White-lipped, Lowland Copperhead and the Tiger Snake.  If you get bitten by one, you need to be given anti-venom quickly, but what if you don't know what kind of snake it was?  The answer is - it doesn't matter, because the clever people in Tasmania provide a 'three-in-one' anti-venom with serum from all three species.  What a good idea!

Onwards and upwards...

I had a coffee and a large slice of carrot cake, but it wasn't large enough.  If I thought the next few miles of gentle pedalling were going to be typical of the rest of the day, I was to be sadly mistaken.  After following a very pretty wooded river downstream for a while the road kicked uphill and then went up, and up, and up. It seemed never-ending, and when it did end the descent was short and sweet, before a brief easy section - past fields of opium poppies (OPIUM POPPIES?!!) and then another long, long climb.  Followed by two or three miles of gravel road.  At one point a pick-up sped by in the opposite direction, not slowing down at all and churning up clouds of dust that had me spitting pulverised road for some time! Grrrr!

Do mine eyes deceive me?  Opium?!
There was still a long way to go and I was averaging little more than 8 mph. Nowhere was flat. Every downhill was brief and followed by a much longer uphill.  I'd run out of food - and energy, and was running low on water.  A short easy section took me to a bridge over the River Forth:  Richard caught me here and gave me an energy bar - phew!

WHERE is Richard taking us now?
Only 12 miles to go but... what a climb followed! A huge monster of a climb, past a dam and hydro-electric plant, up and up.  When this had finished and there were only 7 or 8 miles to go, there were still uphill gradients and now a headwind.  All I could do was look at my front fork as I pedalled away.  Eventually, after seven hours pedalling, I arrived at the motel in Sheffield, to a cheery welcome from the proprietors and a DOUGHNUT! Yummy!

I was one of the first there, and (almost to my surprise) the others eventually arrived, marvelling at Helen's wisdom in taking the short cut from Penguin.  A quick shower and laundry then across the road for a beer and crisps before joining everyone else at the evening meal.  Lots of pasta.

Sheffield is Tasmania's town of murals, but they would have to wait.  No cycling tomorrow as Richard has arranged a bus trip to the famous Cradle Mountain area, where we can use our walking muscles instead of cycling muscles.

56 miles today, making a total of 80 so far.

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