Sabbatical preparation Comfort Camping

As I have demonstrated before I like comfort when camping. So my Sabbatical preparation includes comfort camping issues. I’m going to be camping for about 5 weeks in total so comfort is important. On the other hand for 4 of those weeks I am going to be cycling up to 65 miles each day, so lightweight and small volume are also important.

I have one new toy since I went cargobike camping. A fantastic lightweight chair. The Helinox Chair One which we bought in Cotswold Outdoor. At 960 grams it is tiny and yet also very comfortable. Ideal for the comfort loving cycle tourer seeking a refreshing sabbatical :-)

helinox-chair-one-bag helinox-chair-one


Epworth Pilgrimage tyre upgrade for Jane

Our Epworth Pilgrimage at the end of May includes a number of gravel sections and some huge potholes. Jane’s bike still has the original 23mm tyres on it so I have just ordered her an upgrade to 25mm Schwalbe Durano Plus Rigid tyres. I used the 28mm version on my Lands End to John o’Groats ride and didn’t get a single puncture.

I am hoping that the mudguards she has will still fit!

For the actual ride I am going to suggest I remove her rear rack and instead lend her one of my Bridge Street saddlebags (I’m very pleased with these!) that will save a bit of weight to make up for the heavier tyres. ;-)

I need more sponsors or I’ll be embarrassed. Please help

At the moment I am doing better at recruiting extra riders for our Epworth pilgrimage than I am at getting sponsors for me! We are up to 8 riders, 1 walker and 1 runner so far.

Now I want some more sponsors! We are raising money for two great causes:

Youth Cafe in Syston. We want to convert part of the Methodist Church Centre into a self contained, youth friendly venue. The first target is to get the work completed (new entrance created by reconfiguring the toilets) so that we can open as many evenings each week as possible. Later we want to be able to open during the day too as a Community Hub. Syston is really lacking places for young people to go.

The Development Work at Epworth Old Rectory. This great museum has been having lots of work done to make restore it and making it a better place to visit. The place where John and Charles Wesley grew up is an important piece of heritage, not just for Methodists but for us all as the Wesleys had a profound impact on the whole country, indeed the much of the world.

The total I raise will get split 50% to each of these causes.

You can sponsor me here.

Please do so because it is starting to get embarrassing as all the others leave me behind ;-)

Bike for Life tweaks

So I have actually done some Bike for Life tweaks!

One bit was some maintenance and I got a Bike Shop to do it for me! The back brake seemed to have gradually lost hydraulic fluid so that the lever was pulling all the way to the handlebar. As I had it bled just after Christmas this seemed to indicate a leak. So I got the Leisure Lakes Bike shop at Long Eaton to have a look. They found the ends of the hose were damaged so have cleaned them up. Hoping that fixes it for a long time.

I have also done a couple of things myself.

VO Rando Integ Dec-1I have this neat little front rack. The horizontal bar is fixed to my bag and lifts off. So to fit the bag you just drop the two rods into the rack uprights. However, the uprights were a bit long so a) the bag didn’t rest on the rack itself and b) it was tricky to get the bag on due to the lack of clearance under the stem.

So I took it all off (fiddly because the wheel and mudguard have to come off) and cut the rack uprights down by just over 1cm. All fits much better now.

When putting everything together I decided to move my front light to this rack instead of the top of the low rider. To be honest I can’t think why I didn’t do this from the beginning. It means the light is about 20cm higher which is good for visibility.

As an aside I am getting an extra one of these horizontal attachment bars for the rack (they are called Decaleurs). The UK supplier is FreshTripe. My cunning plan is to see whether it might be a way to quickly attach my tent or other camping equipment to the rack which might be more useful than the randonneuring bag when on my sabbatical trip.

Sabbatical Routes Stage 1

Stage 1 of my 2015 Sabbatical is from Syston to Lindisfarne.

I am looking at taking 5 days for this first stretch. As this will be the longest fully loaded ride that I have done I am being very cautious with the daily distances. After all to rush would defeat the point of a sabbatical!

Day 1: Syston to north of Lincoln (56.5 miles)

Camp at Kellaway Park Campsite

Day 2: North of Lincoln to Scholes (63.5 miles)

Stay with Family

Day 3: Scholes to Barnard Castle (63 miles)

Bowfield Farm Campsite

Day 4: Barnard Castle to north of Morpeth (64.5 miles)

Camp at Forget-Me-Not Country Park Campsite

Day 5: North of Morpeth to Lindisfarne (41.5 miles)

Camp at West Kyloe Farm

Sabbatical Planning

I am enjoying myself doing some very early planning for my Sabbatical which is in approximately 12 months time. In the Methodist Church the sabbatical is a wonderful gift to ministers, one that is not optional. We get our first after 10 years and then every 7 years after that. This will be my first sabbatical.

The sabbatical is for 3 months and should include one major Christian festival. I am planning mine to start soon after Easter 2015 and so I’ll be on Sabbatical for Pentecost 2015.

The key part of my sabbatical is a cycling pilgrimage between three Christian sites.

I plan to cycle between them all. As soon as the 2015 programmes for Iona and St Beuno’s come out I’ll be looking to book something at each of them. I know I want an 8 day Individually Guided Retreat at St Beuno’s, when I know when they are I’ll hopefully find a suitable course at Iona that finishes 10 to 14 days earlier. I plan to be less organised at Lindisfarne.

After St Beuno’s I might take a detour down to Cardiff where there will hopefully be a 11 month old grandson to visit :-)

This will be my longest ever cycle ride and I plan to be camping most nights. Given that this is the UK with a need to plan routes to avoid major roads and to get to suitable campsites (ones with facilities can be quite widely spread) I will be planning the routes fully and loading them onto my Garmin.

Beautiful Syston Syclers club ride

So today I was leading a small group (3 of us) on the “yellow” Syston Syclers Club Ride. We started at the same time as the “slow” 45 mile Red group (which included some new riders as well as some progressing to the longer distance).

We had an absolutely glorious ride to Newtown Lynford, and this time we all returned on the road rather than through Bradgate Park.

My Whyte Suffolk was fantastic and I was pretty pleased to discover that I had broken 9 personal records on the ride. Seems like it must be a pretty quick bike :-)

Methodist Cycling Pilgrimage keeps growing

Latest news always at Epworth Rides.

We have confirmed this evening that we are now up to 5 full distance cyclists taking part in our Methodist Pilgrimage from Syston to Epworth Old Rectory and back. We also have one part way cyclist and a part distance walker. More are welcome :-)

Sponsor them here:


Friday ride on new bike :-)

First time I have been well enough to go for a nice ride on my own for a while.


Rode my new Whyte Suffolk, which was excellent. 40 miles at an average of 14mph (despite lots of slow stuff by going in and out of Leicester).

So I am now a happy bunny, ready fro Messy Church this evening :-)

How to join the Methodist Cycling Pilgrimage

Latest news always at Epworth Rides.

It is very easy to join the Methodist Cycling Pilgrimage

Just two simple steps:

  1. Tell me (Dave) either by email or leave a comment here
  2. Join the Fundraising event on Virgin Money Giving to start collecting money. Details below:

To get registered with our event on Virgin Money Giving

This looks like a long list because I have spelled out every step. It is very straightforward (but easiest if you use the answers I give in item 3 below).

  1. Use your web browser tot our event page  on Virgin Money Giving.
  2. Click the “Start Fundraising” button on the right
  3. As you fill in the form there are two important questions to get right:
    1. Answer “No” to the question “Has your charity contributed to the cost of your event?*”
    2. Answer “Just me” to the question “Are you fundraising on your own or with other people?”
  4. When done click “Next”
  5. If you don’t already have an account with Virgin Money Giving click “Register” to create one.
  6. Fill in your details click “Next”
  7. Give your security details (note that it will only ever ask you for 2 letters of your password eg 5th and 7th). Click “Next”
  8. You will now get to choose a unique web page address for your fundraising. Remember this, it is what you will want to tell everyone you ask to sponsor you. Click “Next”
  9. It gives you my details so you can tell me you have registered. Click “Next”
  10. It tells you about creating your own webpage where people will find out what you are doing and where they can donate (it will be at the address you chose in  step 9). For example my page is Click “Create my page”.
  11. You now get to customise your page (you can change this at anytime in the future). When you are happy click “Save” then “Next”.
  12. Now you get to control whether you are told about donations and are able to customise your thank-you. I suggest both are a good idea. When done click “Create my page”.
  13. You can now share your page on facebook, by email or through twitter. When done click “Go to my account”
  14. All done for the moment. You can come back and edit your page to keep people interested. Please continue to share it via social media and email.

Note that Virgin Money Giving is a free service for us to use and all the sponsorship money goes straight into the Church bank account!

I look forward to seeing your name added to the list of riders!


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