London to Varese

800 Miles from London to Varese for Luke and Leukaemia

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A note on Courage by Lieutenant Edd Holliday


‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but one who conquers that fear.’ – Nelson Mandela

Courage can manifest it self in several ways.

The courage to get up on a cold wet and windy morning to go for a ride. The courage to do repetitions up and down your least favourite hill knowing that each time you get to the bottom that next climb will hurt more than the last. The courage go a do a long ride by yourself. This is physical courage to keep physically pushing yourself, even though your body is telling you to stop.

Traditionally moral courage is known as the courage to do and say the right thing, to face up to what you believe is right. Shackleton, one of the worlds greatest adventurers ‘Optimism is true Moral Courage’ to know what you are doing right and that you can complete what ever task lays a head of you.

Physical and mental courage can have a time frame, making it a little easier to go the distance knowing that the end will come, even if you are not to sure when. However when you have to keep working, fighting, when you don’t know if there will be an end, it takes a different kind of courage. An Enduring Courage, where you keep going despite not knowing if your struggle will ever end, a hill that you may never reach the top of. Moral and physical courage build on each other to become enduring courage.

Luke’s fight against leukaemia incorporated a need for all these types of courage, and especially the enduring courage to battle on with a smile, never truly knowing if he’d ever reach the top of that hill. And this is why we ride, not just in order to raise money for the family room, but also in solidarity for what Luke went through in 2012 and still lives with, and in order to come to some sort of appreciation of the fight that he had to go through. During our ride to Varese, all the members of the Handsome but Rowdy team will need to demonstrate mental and physical courage. In order to prepare ourselves for this our training is also going to have to take on and overcome our fears.


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Speen II (including 220km with a broken arm)

This weekend saw Handsome but Rowdy’s second trip to Speen, this time there and back over two days. It’s fair to say that we learned a lot, had some highs and some lows and ate an ungodly amount of food.

Particular highlights included Tim stacking it off the side of a road in a picturesque village somewhere in West Berkshire (much to the amusement of passing drivers and the rest of the team) and JP and Gabes taking peloton-rotation into the bathroom with an inspired (and slightly weird) wash-and-rinse rotation strategy for the post-ride shower (there are photos, they won’t be posted).

Man-of-the-ride undoubtedly goes to Luke however, who managed to introduce himself to the tarmac in a big way about 10 miles into the outward leg, breaking his arm in the process, but nevertheless completed the outward leg AND the inward leg, hardcore. As we speak he’s in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital getting it sorted, as if he hasn’t spent enough time in hospital recently…

Here are some choice snaps from the ride:



Arrival in Speen after the outward leg.


Modelling the Handsome but Rowdy team lycra, Victorian style.


Gabes attempting to solve his nipple-rub…


And finally, Luke in hospital, not for the first time.