Welcome Home 2

WhatsApp Image 2019-12-22 at 16.23.15
Keith, Dale and Linford. Bike Rugby Japan Team re-union at the Two Sawyers, Christmas 2019

Keith Returns

After a marathon 44 day, 2937 mile ride across the USA (in 210 hours of riding) Keith flew home to a Christmas welcome.

Trans-American Ride

In total this means Keith rode for 165 days (with 907 hours in the saddle) for a grand total of 11,838 miles for his round-the-world tour.

Around the World in 165 Days

Charity Round-up

As you can see the team managed to raise almost £12,000 which was about twice the original target of £6,000 (it is £12,673.94 including Gift Aid). A great and much appreciated effort all around. We know this will make a considerable difference to the Slide Away and Fight for Sight Charities and of course The Alzheimer’s Society needs continuous support. They have all passed on their thanks from them to you.

The donations page closes on New Year’s Eve: last minute donations can be made here.

[We’ve extended the donation deadline until after the 6 Nations on the 14th March: Ed]



We give our heartfelt thanks to all the following for being so generous and also those who contributed via various collection boxes or donated anonymously.

Mick and Carol, Fitzwalter Arms, Red Lion Bridge, Two Sawyers, Rochelle Amos and Jodanna Farrow-House, Penny and Martin Harman, Vicki Jago, John Higgins and Wendy, Mike Phillipson, John Y, Shirley, Jenny and Keith Etheridge, Maria, Tim and Jane, Karen and Alan Middlemiss, Sean, Aaron and Jill, Chris O’Sullivan, Peter Uyl, Michele Bisdee, Tracey and Ian, Trev Croft, Terry Garrity, Tony, Deborah and William, Euro Diamond Drilling Ltd, Jim, Jas Rana, Courtney, Mum’s Art Class, Angela & Co, Joy & Seamus, A Maxwell, Lucy, Dave and Sarah Wilmshurst, Shane Rhodes, Harv, Roger, Max, Tony and Jill Rawlins, Christine and Gary Fordham, Joyce Neary, Harwood and Ben Cheeseman, Mike Fanthome, Arron Ross, Tom Flaherty, Ashley Smith, Danny Sullivan Group, Dougy, Krysia, Gareth & Kellie Weston, Courtney Brown, Kindred Family, Neil, Stuart McMahon, Roger, Big Rog, Tommy and Brenda Johnstone, Kath and Pete Stow, Linda Cann, Pete and Angela Sutcliffe, Alan Tucker, John and Sylvie Horwood, Jaimie Mcdonald, Tony Bartolo, Dave Osborne, Pierre and Caroline, Arthur and Moira Moses, Ayleshamsmang, Eoin, Rylan and Dungerness, Patrick Meathead, David G, Budgie Nigel and Lenny, Jackie and Nick Farrow, Caroline EYC, Andy and Liz Gladin, Danni, Dianne Oxenham, Salljg, Gary Pain, Keith and Christine Gill, Ben Simmonds, Dave and Cheryl, Auntie Wendy Shelly, Steve Martin, Dave Robbins, Lynda and Jamie, Snowdown Colliery Welfare Rugby Football Club, Vernon Print, Glen Cullis, Mearl Dale Frost, Maureen Dunn, Bradleys Solicitors, Sparklez Tattoos, Martin James DCB Kent, Royal Oak Capel, Richard Malone, Clive Green, Peter Smith, Jodanna and Tim Farrow-House, Dave Ward, Sharelle, Arvind Patel, Nigel Cole, Dianne Oxenham, Ara Environmental Ltd, Gma Groombridge, Jeannette, Dan & Debbie, Abby Bradshaw, Alan and Doreen Williams, Jo Westrip, Clive, Lohane Petch Bob Sleith and the Ratling Club, Pickle, Colin Inett, John Clutton, Symcox, Kevin and Michele Wood, Glen, David McWilliams, The Donnachie family, Margaret Samson, Lauren, Sarah Pask, Neil and the Dambusters, E Hadlow, Daran Wilkins, B Walledge, Aylesham Parish Council and all those who donated as Anonymous.

And we’d like to thank all those who gave us encouragement as we started and as we progressed and for all your congratulations when we arrived in Shanghai.

Here are some of your words which we much appreciated; then & now.



Some Maps and Stats

Calais to Shanghai: 8240 miles in 111 days

You can catch up on the adventure by reading all about it here – click the links for more details.

Stage 1: where the 5 left Dover on the 12th June and rode 9 days and about 1000 miles to Krakow with Carl and Cathal riding with Dale, Keith and Linford and with Roger driving the minibus.

Grand Depart at the Calais Hotel de Ville. L to r: Roger, Carl, Cathal, Dave, Linford, Keith and Dale
Stage 1: From Day 1 (June 12th) to Day 9 (June 20th)

Totals for the first leg to Kraków: 1003 miles, 25185ft climbing and 65:49 hours riding

Stage 2: where the Dale, Keith and Linford started cycle-touring for proper and wobbled out of Krakow across the rest of Poland and into Ukraine with a mere 7000 miles or so to go. Ukraine produced some eye-popping moments (or quite the opposite for Dale) and a dalliance in a war-zone before they finally stumbled into Russia.

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Keith, Dale and Linford ready for the off
Stage 2: From Day 10 (June 23rd) to Day 25 (July 8th)

Stage 2 totals: 1196.8 miles, 29,395ft and 94:47 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 2200 miles, 54,580ft and 160.36 hours riding

Stage 3: Crossing Russia at a much higher route than originally planned. They head east but have to think about how they might re-join the original route.

Dale at a WW2 monument
Dale at a WW2 monument
Stage 3: From Day 26 (July 9th) to Day 34 (July 17th)

Stage 3 totals: 727.1 miles, 16,505ft and 59:00 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 2927.4 miles, 71,085ft and 219.36 hours riding

Stage 4: Kazakhstan. Into the desert, blistering heat and head-winds. They follow the Oral river south to Atyrau on the Caspian.

Family dinner - crossed-legs on carpet.
Family dinner – crossed-legs on carpet.
Stage 4: From Day 35 (July 18th) to Day 43 (July 26th)

Stage 4 totals: 660.0 miles, 4,428ft and 53:00 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 3587.4 miles, 75,513ft and 272.36 hours riding

Stage 5: Uzbekistan. More desert. More water to carry. Some legendary Silk Road cities to visit: Nukus, Bokhara and Samarkand. Then they were turned back at Tajikistan and forced north again on another detour.

The Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand. Built by Tamerlane in the 15thC, destroyed by an earthquake in 1897 and restored by the USSR.
Stage 5: From Day 44 (July 27th) to Day 60 (August 12th)

Stage 5 totals: 1269.1 miles, 16,597ft and 97:57 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 4855.5 miles, 92,110ft and 370.33 hours riding

Stage 6: Kyrgyzstan. This is when the climbing got really serious as they battled up the Taldyk and Alay Passes at about 3600m as they headed toward China.

Keith, Linford and Dale at the Alay Pass
Keith, Linford and Dale at the Alay Pass
Stage 6: From Day 61 (August 13th) to Day 63 (August 16th)

Stage 6 totals: 190.6 miles, 17,105ft and 19:55 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 5046.1 miles, 109,215ft and 390.28 hours riding

Stage 7: Into China and across the Xinjiang Province. Starting with crossing the border issues and continuing with an almost complete police presence as they are virtually chased across the land. Straight roads and dodgy hotels and some dodgy campsites.

Evening dinner
Evening dinner
Stage 7: From Day 64 (August 15th) to Day 79 (August 31st)

Stage 7 totals: 903.7 miles, 16,358ft and 76:47 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 5949.8 miles, 125,573ft and 467.15 hours riding

Stage 8: Central China. Finally the restrictions on where to stay ease up. They still have plenty of straight roads and desert to cover. And mountains. They encounter nomad tribes with ponies and ride yaks! But a bear is stolen!

Dale and Linford riding again!
Dale and Linford riding again!
Stage 8: From Day 80 (September 1st) to Day 94 (September 14th)

Stage 8 totals: 1061.0 miles, 26,307ft and 80:27 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 7010.8 miles, 151,880ft and 547.42 hours riding

Stage 9: East China. The team are joined by Rylan at Xi’an for the final run-in. They encounter some broken roads and manage to get separated for a while too.

Pitstop with terraced mountains
Pitstop with terraced mountains
Stage 9: From Day 95 (September 15th) to Day 107 (September 28th)

Stage 9 totals: 904.1 miles, 18,332ft and 70:58 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 7914.9 miles, 170,212ft and 618.40 hours riding

Stage 10: Arrival in Shanghai. Finally the team enter the final straight and plough through the huge cities near the coast. Success! But not before a final encounter with the police as they attempt to ride through a tunnel.

At the Great Wall of China. Dale, Keith and Linford.
At the Great Wall of China. Dale, Keith and Linford.
Stage 10: From Day 108 (September 29th) to Day 111 (October 2nd)

Stage 10 totals: 326.6 miles, 4,095ft and 25:38 hours riding

Accumulated totals: 8241.5 miles, 174,307ft and 644.18 hours riding

What Next?

From the tour I got a sense of team resilience, through trying circumstances and great accomplishment. Knowing we had the support from all our family and friends around the world and realising that people are really nice irrespective of their creed, colour or any thing else. All their kindness transcends any language barriers. It made me realise that long distance tours are what I am made to do. Watch this space, Greece, South Africa, Argentina who knows. Dale

Previous Tours 2012 to 2019

Greece 2020

Dale has already suggested that Greece is the destination for this years Hougham Huffers ride. The plan is to welcome Dave back into the fold after his monster crash and injury and subsequent recovery last summer.

No route has yet been designed or dates assigned. As usual the aim will be about a 1000 miles in about 10 days.

Two major questions arise: does the team do the tour unsupported by the minibus and therefore carry all their own gear as cycle-tourers (bike-packers) bearing in mind that many have not tried this mode of cycling. All previous tours have been supported by a minibus. Naturally we are grateful for our sponsors who have supported us on all our previous tours.

Is the tour to or from Calais/Dover as all previous tours have been or do the team fly or train somewhere and do a loop on arrival?

The first option is a Calais to Bari (Italy) ride of about 1200 miles and a ferry to a holiday in Corfu.

Calais to Bari and onto Corfu

This “Loop of the Adriatic” 2nd option would involve a train to/from Trieste or Bologna and then a loop around the Adriatic sea with a ferry from Corfu to Bari (or vice-versa). It’s about 1500 miles though.

If by train it would be Eurostar to Paris, then TGV to Milan and onward to Bologna. Bear in mind catching a train to Milan from Paris has form (who remembers 6 Nations Rugby in Rome in 2000?)!


This “Loop of the Aegean” 3rd option would involve a flight to/from Athens and a ferry between Bodrum and Athens to finish. Holiday options would be Mykonos or Patmos. It’s about 1000 miles.


Rugby Lions Tour 2021

The British & Irish Lions is the greatest rugby tour of all and in 2021 the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will converge on South Africa. It will be a tour of huge impact, emotions and significance, evoking memories of the invincible Lions squad of 1974.

These are the warm-up dates.

Saturday 3rd July 2021 DHL Stormers Cape Town Cape Town Stadium
Wednesday 7th July 2021 South Africa ‘Invitational’ Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Saturday 10th July 2021 Cell C Sharks Durban Jonsson Kings Park
Wednesday 14th July 2021 South Africa ‘A’ Nelspruit Mbombela Stadium
Saturday 17th July 2021 Vodacom Bulls Pretoria Loftus Versfeld

These are the important Test dates.

Saturday 24th July 2021 Springboks Johannesburg FNB Stadium
Saturday 31st July 2021 Springboks Cape Town Cape Town Stadium
Saturday 7th August 2021 Springboks Johannesburg Emirates Airline Park

This is not a suggested route. A lot of thought would have to go into a route: safety, deserts, favoured countries, etc and so forth.

It’s unfortunate that Johannesburg to Cape Town is 870 miles and slightly too much for a 6 day ride to get from one match to another.

Calais to Cape Town

The distance is remarkably similar to the Calais to Shanghai ride. So I guess 120 days would be a reasonable estimate of the time taken to achieve it.

For those doing the first 1000 miles I would suggest a route through western France perhaps crossing the Pyrenees in the middle or at Biarritz. This is because a previous tour went on the Barcelona route. Going via Biarritz to Madrid would be about 960 miles.

So if you were to aim for the opening tour match on the 3rd July the start date would be Friday 5th March 2021.

If you were to aim for the Cape Town Test on the 31st July then the start date would be Friday 2nd April 2021.





2 thoughts on “Welcome Home 2

  1. Enjoyed reading all the posts. I would like to wish all involved all the best for the future , Africa looks amazing (Stuart Mcmahon would like to link up with you there).


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