Days 4 to 9: Germany & Poland

Charity Update

Many many thanks to those that have donated.


Arrival in Kraków

After 9 days riding the team have arrived in Kraków. They will now be joined by wives and girlfriends for a few days R&R before Dale, Keith and Linford embark on the cycle touring stage to Shanghai and on to Japan. 1000 miles down and 7000 miles to go.

Day 4: Saturday 15th June: Dortmund to Lüthorst


Video of Day 4 route.


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Dave posts in his photo of his new bike. Let’s hope you get to ride on it soon Dave.

Day 5: Sunday 16th June: Luthorst to Querfurt


Video of Day 5 route.


Day 6: Monday 17th June: Querfurt to Coswig


Video of Day 6 route.


Day 7: Tuesday 18th June: Coswig to Jelenia Gora


Video of Day 7 route.


Day 8: Wednesday 19th June: Jelenia Gora to Krapkowice



Day 9: Thursday 20th June: Krapkowice to



Video of Day 9 route

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It’s a wrap. Completion of the first leg to Krakow. Back row (l to r) Cathal, Roger and Dale, Front row (l to r) Carl, Keith and Linford. Good job team.

Days 1 to 3: France, Belgium, Netherlands & Germany


After a hectic last night packing the minibus and loading the bikes everyone convened at 5:30am in the White Horse carpark. Wives and girlfriends and sons were there for farewells. We were also surprised to see our Auntie Joyce to see everyone off. A superb effort as she is CXXX years old. Astonishingly she was off for a swim in the sea afterwards (she swims everyday in the sea from April to Novemeber!)

Dave, Carl, Dale and Keith as Dave is released from King’s College Hospital, London

The best news though was that Dave was released from hospital yesterday: some of the lads went up to London to fetch him and so Dave was on hand this morning to see his comrades off.

Back row (l to r): Rylan, Joyce, Linford and Lyle. front row: Keith, Dale and Steve. In Dover at the farewells.
Farewells at Dover. Back row (l to r) Dave, Cathal, Carl and Roger. Front row: Keith, Dale and Linford.

Grand Depart


After a full breakfast on the ferry two riders rolled off and they and the minibus met at the famous Calais Hotel de Ville where the remainder of the bikes were unloaded, the departure photographs taken and they hit the road for the first leg of the tour.

Grand Depart at the Calais Hotel de Ville. L to r: Roger, Carl, Cathal, Dave, Linford, Keith and Dale
Grand Depart at the Calais Hotel de Ville. L to r: Roger, Carl, Cathal, Dave, Linford, Keith and Dale

Day 1: Wednesday 12th June: Calais to Ghent


As tradition dictates the first day turned out to be wet and cold. After a brief rendezvous in an obscure village the team arrived in Ypres at the famous Menin Gates for a lunch of hot soup and cheeseballs.

By the time they arrived in Ghent however the sun made a rare appearance and when Roger and Steve finally found the hotel after a delay in traffic the boys (and bear) were tucked into a deserved beer.

You will have noticed that Dave (inflatable version) is with the riders. It’ll be interesting to see if he makes it to Krakow.

In the evening the team went out for some pasta in Ghent after having survived a torrential downpour on the way.

Day 2: Thursday 13th June: Ghent to Schinveld


Here is a video of the Day 2 route. The video is labelled Ypres which is wrong: sorry.

Just to be contrary today decided to be be windy, but at least it was dry.

The first rendezvous was at St. Amands on the banks of the river Schelde, which is still tidal at this point. The tide was low and consequently the ferry the boys arrived at was not running. Fortunately another ferry was close by further downstream and the ferryman ran the boys upstream to St. Amands anyway.

They didn’t have to pay: these ferries are free in Belgium the ferryman pointed out and explained they only charge in Scotland and the Netherlands! Dale disgraced himself by cleaning his shoes whilst on board and received a deserved admonition from the ferryman.

The lunchstop was at Herentals on the Maas-Scheldekanaal. The cafe here didn’t do lunch so Roger and I ran into town to get some sandwiches. After lunch it was time for me to leave the team and Roger left me at the railway station to go home.

Day 3: Friday 14th June: Schinveld to Waltrop


Here is a video of the Day 3 route.

Todays stage took them into Germany, across the Rhine and up the Ruhr valley to Dortmund. They stayed in some huts last night so it looks like Roger had the responsibility of cooking breakfast.

It explains why Dave is feeling a bit queasy and decided to ride shotgun instead of cycling. Snowflake.

You cannot keep Dave off the juice. L to R: Linford, Roger, Dave and Keith
You cannot keep Dave off the juice. L to R: Linford, Roger, Dave and Keith
After ride drinks (L to R) Linford, Dale, Dave, Keith, Cathal and Carl.
After ride drinks (L to R) Linford, Dale, Dave, Keith, Cathal and Carl.


Nevertheless by the end of the day Dave was ready for another drink!

After 3 days the team are now about 300 miles (500km) into the ride.

Charity Update

Many many thanks to those that have donated.



5 Day Countdown


He’s doing well in hospital, though obviously bored and naturally a bit down about missing the ride. He was hoping to be out by this w/e for the farewell send-off at the King’s Arms, Elhams (Sunday 9th June from 1pm – all invited), but the consultant wanted to keep a check on his lungs for a bit longer.

Fingers-crossed he’ll be out soon and on his feet (and on his bike before very long).

Charity Update

Many many thanks to those that have donated.


The team are very pleased that almost 40% of the target has been reached so far. We cannot thank you all enough. This week a special thanks to the contributions from the Fun Day that Snowdown Colliery Welfare Rugby Football Club organised. Fantastic effort.


Last week they had the fancy dress bike ride and then a well deserved rest day on the Sunday. They are ready and raring to go.

Linford’s Gear – ready to pack
What everyone fears Linford’s bike will look like


Everything is to hand. They leave on Wednesday the 12th June on the 6.40am ferry. If you wish you can wave them off at the White Horse car-park (next to the old Leisure Centre in Dover) at 5.40am!

A better bet is to join them at a farewell drinks afternoon at the King’s Arms, Elham on Sunday the 9th June from 1pm. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Dale, who is leaving work at the Dover Harbour Board today (7th June) was presented with a cake. What a beauty.

Dale’s cake
Loaded bikes

12 Day Countdown


Last w/e Dave crashed badly and broke his collar bone, a couple of ribs and punctured his lung. Naturally he’s been in hospital but the good news is that he is recovering well.

Obviously this will set him back and sadly he won’t be able to do the ride to Krakow. He’ll be missed.

We all wish him well and a speedy recovery so that he is back in the saddle as soon as possible.

Dave, Dale and Keith
Dave approaching Canterbury

Dave: before & after: get well soon

Fancy Dress Bike Ride

Saturday 1st June was the annual charity fancy dress bike ride attended by players, former players and friends of Snowdown Colliery Welfare Rugby Football Club.

We’re hoping that these photos will cheer Dave up:

If only they’d ride to Japan like this!
Good turn out: well done girls
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Some old birds at the Griffin’s Head
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They’ve all taken a Wrong Turn somewhere along the line

Charity Update

Many thanks to those that have donated.



Last week the boys did the usual loop around SE Kent. Here is the live map, with photos.

Use the link if the video doesn’t show in your email.

And here is the map with some additional photos.  Use this link if the map doesn’t show in your email.

And here are the photos.



Everyone went and collected their China visas.



If they get into China it will be a miracle, but not as much of a miracle as if they get out again.

All the visa requirements for the tour are now done.


If you remember the frame of Keith’s road bike broke. He’s now rebuilt this Felt to take over road bike duties until Krakow.


19 Day Countdown

Charity Update

Many thanks to those that have donated.


In particular thanks go to those who have contributed in the collection bottles in various pubs around the county: the Ratling Club, the Royal Oak, The Two Sawyers, the Red Lion, the Fitzwalter Arms and the King’s Arms.


Probably time to remind our riders to set phones, cameras and bike computers to update timezones automatically if possible.


EU through to Poland is ONE hour ahead of the UK.

Ukraine & Russia are TWO hours ahead of the UK.

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are FOUR hours ahead of the UK.

Kyrgyzstan is FIVE hours ahead of the UK.

China is SEVEN hours ahead of the UK.

Japan is EIGHT hours ahead of the UK.

The summary table on the home page as had a timezone column added. Links in the table will take you to a website where the local time is shown amongst other time & date information.


This weeks training ride took in a loop to the seaside. The intention was to try and fit photos to the map & video. It almost worked except the clocks on the various devices were not synchronised. Hence The ‘Timezone’ section above. Another attempt to manage this will be made this w/e.

And Dale sent me some photos (with gps data) which I placed on this map of his ride from Dover to West Hougham along the cliffs.


The Chinese Embassy visit is on the 28th May for visa applications.


No news here.

Other News

Uzbekistan featured in the news this week concerning a Museum of Art at the city of Nukus, which is passed on Stage 37 which should be reached towards the end of July.

This part of the world is also where the boys will cross the legendary Oxus ruver.

Here are the notes from the Uzbekistan page about these two days.

Stage 36 Hotel UGCC Kyrkkyz – Stanciya Shumanay


Nothing is known about this place except it is close to the Turkmenistan border and has a railway station, and surprisingly, is close to the Amu Darya river. This is the River Oxus of legend. Alexander the Great crossed it three times. At 2,500km it’s the longest river in Asia.

This is the country of Oxiana: Robert Byron’s “Road to Oxiana” (1933) is sometimes said to be the greatest travel book ever written.

Stage 37 Stanciya Shumanay – Nazarhan


You cross the Oxus river today at Nukus, which is Uzbekistans 6th biggest city with a population of 300,000. It was a former site for chemical weapons manufacture and testing, now known more for it’s Museum of Art.

This is what the Guardian had to say in May 2019

“This museum in a bleak outpost has one of the world’s greatest collections of avant-garde art, rescued from Stalin’s clutches by an electrician. But now it needs a rescue of its own”




26 Day Countdown

Charity Update

Many thanks to those that have donated.20190518_CharityDonations


Aylesham Garden Village Newsletter May 2019


Linford trains in his own inimical way.


Keith had his first ride out with panniers on his bike.


Here is the fly-thru of this meander around SE Kent. Also you can see he visited his Mother – on Mother’s Day too!


All three Houses are booked into the Chinese Embassy on the 28th May for Visa applications.


Keith continues to look for a new road bike but meanwhile …

Linford has set up his Surly bike with panniers
Linfords new shoes

Other News

Taldyk Pass 3615m, Kyrgyzstan

The Uzbekistan page (with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) has been updated with stage notes.

Kyrgyzstan: Alison Tetrick on a bikepacking tour


Training News 7

Charity Update

A bumper week this week – many thanks to those that have donated so far.



Linford was still in Las Vegas.



Keith had a disaster as his frame broke on his road bike whilst out riding.


This will mean a search for a new frame, but no doubt it’s some compensation that it didn’t happen halfway to Poland and did happen quite close to the Two Sawyers.

Dale and Dave did a little ramble around SE Kent.





Dale has his Russia Visa.


Why does everyone look shifty on passport style photographs?

At least now they know how to spell their names phonetically in the Cyrillic alphabet:

Дейл Хауз is Dale House, and Кит Хауз is Keith House.


And the team took time out at Chaps Grooming in Canterbury for a full waxing and haircut courtesy of Charlie and friends. I’ve refrained from showing you some painful waxing videos.




The Slide Away Bear got a set of badges for border crossing photo opportunities.

Other News

The Food page summarises some of the cuisine they may encounter once they leave the safety of Europe.

A platter of horse meat served traditionally as an appetizer

The Kazakhstan page has been updated with some notes on each days stage.

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Sherqala in the Mangystau Region of Kazakhstan


Training News 6

Charity Update

Donations continue to arrive – many thanks to those that have donated so far.


Bears get thirsty too


Linford naturally is doing his own thing!

Linford: This is what I call training

Some of the team went out on Saturday and Sunday last w/e.

Here is the map from last Sunday with Dale’s route shown and a couple of photographs.

And this is a fly-thru video of Keith’s route on the same day.


Roger: listening to some cyclists at the bar


Dale picks his Russia visa up next Tuesday.

All China visa application forms are complete and the team apply for them in two weeks time. You need to use them within 3 months of application.


SlideAway bears new Snowdown Colliery Welfare RFC shirt

Other News

This is not the news you’re looking for. May the 4th be with you. Farewell Chewie.


Training News 5

Charity Update

Donations continue to arrive – many thanks to those that have donated so far.


A Slide Away Bear – ready for a Training ride


The ride featured in the Kent Online Newspaper this week. Many thanks to Gerry Warren and the staff at Kent Online.


A trio of rugby fans will be heading off to see the World Cup in Japan later this year – by bicycle.

They are part of a six-man team who will complete the first leg of the 8,100-mile journey to Krakow before heading on through Russia and six other countries to their destination in the Far East.

Their aim is also to raise £6,000.

The money will be divided between The Alzheimer’s Society, Fight for Sight, which funds research into blindness, and Slide Away, a Kent-based charity which supports bereaved children.

The riders are brothers Dale and Keith House and his son Linford, who will ride the full distance, and Carl Moses, Dave Austen, Cathel Bartello.

They will set off from Aylesham on June 12 and expect to arrive in Poland on June 20.

Dale, Keith and Linford, who plays for Snowdown Rugby Club, will then continue the epic journey, aiming to be in Japan for the start of the rugby tournament in September.

Dale, who has given up his job at the Port of Dover to take on the ride, admitted they had taken on a huge challenge.

But the team, who have call themselves Bike Rugby Japan, are no strangers to the challenges of long distance cycling. This year will be their eighth major challenge since 2012.

Previous tours having been to Scotland, Spain, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Hungary.

“We’ve done quite a few long charity rides before, but this one will be by far the biggest,” said Dale.

“We will also be riding in quite a few remote areas and so will need to be prepared.

“But we are training hard with fully loaded panniers to ensure we are ready.

“It’s very exciting and going to be quite an adventure.”

The group’s support vehicle will be driven to Krakow by Roger Hadfield.

From that point onwards the House trio will be on their own for the next 7,000 miles.

To find out more, click here and to support their fundraising, visit here.

Keith, Linford and Dale


Apparently Linford was out on his bike last w/e and managed a staggering 10 miles. No photographic evidence exists though.

Last w/e the Touring bikes of Dale and Keith came out for the first time for an amble around SE Kent.

Naturally the ride involves some refreshment stops: this ride featured the Tickled Trout at Wye and the Smithies Arms at Elham.

Dale, Keith and Slide Away Bear with some deserved refreshment
Cathal starts training the next generation


Dale applies for his Russian visas, but Linford abandons the trip to London at Faversham as he realises he cannot leave his passport for 5 days as he’ll need it next week to visit Las Vegas!

No news as yet on the China visa applications.

Training News 4

Charity Update

Many thanks to those that have donated so far. The team are very pleased that 10%+ of the target has been raised so far. Onwards & upwards.


Two Slide Away bears prepare for a long trip


Snowdown Colliery Welfare Rugby Football Club finished the season on a high by beating Dover 51-12. Sadly Linford didn’t finish the game but instead aquired a Yellow and then a Red card. Oops.

With only about 50 days to go until departure of the Grand Tour he’s decided now might be the time to start some cycle training.

This w/e ardent spotters of the Lesser Crested Linford will be out in force.


In the absence of any cycling photos from last weeekend here are some photos from previous outings:

3 Amigos: Dale, Linford and Keith
Dale, Linford and Keith … and Carl just gets his pants up in time
We’ll see the back of them fairly soon


Keith got his Russian visa.


Looks like any other inmate of a Russian Gulag. Dale & Linford are making an appearance at the Russian Embassy this week.

Visas for China have been applied for.


Dale went over to Beveren in Belgium to pick up Steve’s Cannondale T700 for the Grand Tour. No doubt it’ll be getting a few upgrades before departure.


Linford also managed to find himself a bike for the tour as well.


It’s a Surly ‘Long Haul Trucker’ out of Minnesota, USA. Obviously it is yet to be tooled up with racks, panniers and fenders.

Linford also blagged some Pit Viper‘s sport sunglasses.