London to Varese

800 Miles from London to Varese for Luke and Leukaemia

Leave a comment

The Finishing Line

First and foremost, apologies for the 48 hours of radio silence, we have been busy getting to the finish line and getting some R&R.

We made it!

We left beautiful Lugano yesterday morning accompanied by various locals, including the local Avis cycling club and none other than Olympic and World road race champion Nicole Cooke.
Bl_LGBfIcAAlw7o.jpg-large Bathed in glorious Italian sunshine, it was a fairly short and easy ride to Varese, made even easier by the accompanying police outriders who ensured that the roads were cleared in front of us and that red lights were just something for other people to worry about.

The first stop was the Mayor’s residence, where we were greeted by the Mayor, local press and various supporters.
thb.aspx After lots of photos and a fantastic impromptu speech from Luke after he was put on the spot, we put in the final, very short leg to Ospedale di Circolo, where we were greeted by more supporters, family and friends, the fantastic medical staff that looked after Luke and patients currently being treated by the haematology unit.
tmax600x480_46727961_IMG_1739 After many more photos, some spraying of bubbly and a badly needed lunch provided by the hospital, we made our way back to Luke’s parents home where beer and lasagne were provided aplenty.
10299546_10152784603344502_5817434256284427621_n We will provide you with our reflections shortly once we’ve had a chance to reflect and tot up the total amount raised (for now, it is far more than the target we had set ourselves!). For now, we’d just like to thank all of the many people who have supported us, the list is long and we have so much to be thankful for. We couldn’t have done it by ourselves.

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!




1 Comment

Day 11 – Mountain Passes and Naked Arses.

Wow, we never thought we would say this, but reaching the end of today is a bittersweet moment. On one hand, we’re glad we have the worst behind us, on the other, nothing will surpass what we saw today for beauty.
You could say the day didn’t start well – less than 3 metres down the road and we had two sublimely graceless dismounts. Tim and Edd clearly still haven’t got the hang of balancing.

The second bit of bad news – a friendly local, no doubt with our best interests at heart, informed us that ALL the mountain passes were still closed. Ah, right.

Not be done out of a trip up and over a mountain, we carried on to see how far we could get. We’d come this far after all!

We therefore identified the most open of the high Alpine passes available to us and decided to go as far as we could. Cue a VERY long ascent. But by hook or by crook, the loss of gallons of sweat, the deep burn in the thighs, random singing/talking to ourselves and the prospect of the top, we made it to the summit. However, the descent down to our destination, on the other side of the pass remained under many feet of snow.


Whilst it was sad for us to be unable to go down the other side, we went to our slightly longer and harder Plan B – cycle all the way back the way we came, a hairy descent, with an additional 1,400ft climb and get a train through the mountains, via the Gotthard Tunnel (which cyclists are not allowed to use) and to where we sit right now, with a cold beerski in each our hands. To be clear, as a result of the fact that the passes were closed, we had to climb a lot further than planned!

A long day and one we are unlikely to ever forget. Here’s the perspective of what we climbed:

10 Eiffel towers;
34 Big Bens;
3 Mount Snowdons;
10,000 foot long bratwurst; or
1,811 average sized Englishmen.

A year ago we struggled up a flight of stairs, which makes today’s achievement all the more remarkable. And, most importantly, we are one step closer to Varese.


Lots of love


1 Comment

Day 10 – Taking scalps and climbing Alps

Today saw us leaving flat Switzerland and heading up the switchbacks into real Switzerland.

As we began to see the miles between us and Varese rapidly reduce, there was (and still is), of course, one large remaining challenge, the Alps.

We started the day in the pouring rain in Langenbruck, and made our way to Luzern in record time thanks to the fact that the bad weather made us 100% antisocial and determined to reach our destination as soon as humanly possible. Things cleared up as we reached Luzern for a quick bite and we then headed up the hills, where we were met at the end (in Hasliberg) by Luke’s parents, who kindly filled us with raclette, crepe suzette and beer.


Tomorrow we are heading into the mountain passes, most of which are closed due to snow, and we’ll just have to see where and how far we end up. In the meantime, here are some photos of (1) Tim and Edd trying to keep their heads dry whilst having lunch in Luzern,  and (2) an obligatory Alpine scene (with a lingering hint of our wish for better weather).


Nothing but love,



Day 9 – Cow bells & energy gels

It had to happen at some point – a day so very easy. So easy that our arrival almost took us by surprise, had us questioning our GPS devices, Swiss geography, town names and our minds. Of course – we’re just a well-oiled machine that can knock off 70 miles in Switzerland like it’s a simple jaunt to the shops. Maybe.

As easy as the cycling was though, it was tough to say our goodbyes to the Ehrhart family who had been so very kind to us over the last couple of days. After a typically delicious and splendid breakfast, we were on the road by 9am, headed for Switzerland. The amount of pork and choucroute residing in our bellies should have bent our bicycle frames, but somehow they have survived the day.
photo 2The toughest part however, was saying goodbye to Mr William Mathias. We’re not sure there are any words that can describe this man. He was an incredible support, a real Bon Homme. Cheers Will, from all the team.
photo 1But back to the ride – with perhaps a contender for the best road we have ridden down. 4 miles, straight, forest on either side. So long you would see a car in the distance and not actually pass it for about a year. Magical. More of that please.
photo 3Another milestone reached – over 600 miles covered, and we’ve hit our 6th country. It’s nice to ride in Switzerland. Unless you anger a driver who proceeds to park their car across the cycle path a mile down and stand waiting for you, legs wide and arms up on their hips. JP smiled and all was forgotten.

A quick 1,000 foot climb and we have arrived. Time for a beer. Well-earned me thinks.
photo 2Thanks for reading, and much love.


Leave a comment

Day 8 – Rest Day in Alsace

Our favourite day so far! Today we enjoyed not being on the bikes and sampled all that the Alsace region could offer us, which was very welcome indeed.

Our kind hosts, the Ehrhart family of the Henri Ehrhart wine producer ( looked after us so impeccably that we really don’t want to leave at all, let alone by bike! We started the day with a well earned lie in and then a leisurely brunch to set us up for the day. We then took in the beautiful sights of Riquewihr – an historical fortified town for a lesson in local history and plenty of wine factoids!


Probably our favourite activity of the trip so far was then our guided tour and tasting at the Ehrhart winery. We saw the production line, learnt about the bottling and fermentation processes and then performed some important quality control on about a dozen varieties of Rielsing, Pinot Blanc and Guwertzraminer! Needless to say our palettes are refined and accurate (as we expected they would be) and after this trip don’t be surprised if we go into production ourselves!


We then enjoyed a wonderful home cooked meal with the Ehrhart family and feel relaxed and full and ready to face the Alps, of a little sad to leave this beautiful corner of France.

A huge huge thank you to our kind hosts and wonderful wine producers the Ehrhart family who have made us very welcome, looked after us beautifully and have boosted our morale immeasurably!. If you are ever in Alsace or looking for a nice bottle to enjoy over dinner – look no further!

Leave a comment

Day 7 – A day of two halves

Our longest day started in the rain after an early start. 91 miles lay ahead of us and we set off in the rain with best intentions to cover the distance quickly. Only 5km into the ride however and a simultaneous puncture on one bike and spent rear bearings on another bike had us on the hard shoulder for over an hour!….nevertheless we got it all fixed and set off again for a second shot at covering the distance! After just another 5 miles however Luke’s rear wheel slipped out under breaking coming down a mountain pass and he found himself under the barrier on the side of the road!…so after another short pit stop we set off yet again to try and get to Colmar! You know what they say, third time’s a charm and before we knew it we were 50 miles down and were having lunch in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains!


After a quick feed, and a cheeky rub of cream in nether regions, by the side of the road we pointed towards the Col Du Bonhomme (949m), gritted our teeth and got on with it! Not content with our trials and tribulations so far the heavens opened and a hailstorm rained down for the last hour of what was a 9.5 hour day!


But then as we rolled into Ammerschwihr our fortunes changed entirely – a huge welcoming party with champagne and cameras and even the town journalist cheered us over the line and to our host venue for the next 2 nights – The Henri Ehrhart vineyard! We ditched the bikes, grabbed some sparkling wine and let off ‘a little’ steam (if by a little you mean, a lot) with our kind host Cyrille.


1 Comment

Day 6: Une journee d’histoire

History was the theme of the day for our 6th outing of the trip. Step aside Starky, we’re here and reckon we’d look better in tweed jackets with elbow patches.

Sad to leave Luxembourg and the city behind, but excited for a fresh adventure ahead, we soon found ourselves back in France with its glorious nuclear power plants in the distance and here it began.


First up, a lazy meander down into Rodemack, a beautiful medieval town with a classic American twist. Ancient ramparts minus two original towers, blown up to make way for tanks. “At least they liberated the town at the same time” is what we guess the locals were saying. Still, it was perfect for a photo-opp and our elevenses.

photo 3

Next up, a classic Edd and Luke GPS detour into a French militarised zone, through a forest. What should we stumble upon? No less than the Maginot Line, hidden in the woods. Hill turrets, eerie silence, and no sign of an actual road in the direction we wanted to go. Perfect setting for a nazi-zombie horror movie…

photo 2

2 miles of dirt track and a field or two later and we were back on the open road, making good with our legs along the country lanes and eating up lost time. That is until Tim had yet another mechanical failure and managed to snap his chain. But we’re pros now and had that cleared up in a flick of a tool.

So a few setbacks but we arrived to a great, if slightly creepy, village B&B. It’s a house full of dolls. Hopefully we’ll be alive in the morning to set off on our longest day yet!

Stay tuned.