Into Ukraine

Fundraiser for Aylesham boy and Little Mix fan Charlie Golden, 8, hit while playing on scooter

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Wishing all the best for Charlie and his parents during his long recovery

As followers will know Dave, a team member for the ride to Krakow, was hospitalised on a training ride and found himself in King’s College Hospital: he’s now recovering well and out of hospital, but will require further surgery before recuperating fully.

At about the same time this young boy was knocked over in our village and was in the same hospital. Our families are well known to each other.

More details on Kent Online here.

So we are wishing young Charlie all the best during his long recovery and all the best for his parents Paul and Lauren and brother Joe during this difficult time.

Lee Tonk, who has started a JustGiving page, said: “The reason for raising money is to help them with mortgage and bill payments, help them with the train fares or to even put towards a holiday with Charlie and his 11-year-old brother Joe once he’s back on his feet.”

Please help if you can here.

The Bike Rugby Japan team will dedicate their ride on August 31st to the young boy and his family (wherever they will be on that date!) and will be honoured to make a contribution to Charlie’s charity.


The Slide Away bear at the Ukraine border
The Slide Away bear at the Ukraine border

Charity Update

We cannot express enough our appreciation and many thanks to those that have donated.

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Chuffed to recieve a personal thanks from Michal of Kalno, Poland

 


Week 2 Summary: from Krakow into Ukraine

502.1 miles, 12,435ft and 40.32 hours riding

Day 10: Sunday June 23rd: 1st day on the Touring Bikes

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Day 10 June 23rd – First day on touring bikes as they leave Krakow

Video, map and photos of the first day on the road.

Here they are wobbling off to Shanghai: only 7000 miles to go!

And here they are somewhere down the road.

Bingo, Linford and Dale all looked a bit apprehensive at the start of the touring, and the bikes looked over-packed.

Off we set with Linney leading the way through the busy streets of Krakow. We were soon on our way out of town steadily getting used to the weight and feel of the bikes.

With the weather very hot and sticky we all realised we will need to keep our water bottles topped up. Luckily we managed to find a small shop open on a Sunday, about the 30 mile mark where we stopped for a cold soft drink and filled the water bottles up.

We carried on through forest trails that seem so much better on a touring bike. Next up was a lunch stop at a weird pizza restaurant, though the proprietor was helpful, ordered a massive pizza each, then ended up strapping the left overs on to Linneys bike for tomorrows breakfast.

From here we only had approx 20 miles to go, though inevitably Dale had his first fall on a sandy trail! We managed to re-route and we all got back to our first over-night stop. The place was deserted when we arrived, though Bingo called the owner, he duly arrived within 10 mins. All in all a good days riding.

Day 11: Monday June 24th: Pilzno to Przeworsk

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Day 11 June 24th – working in the heat

Video, map and photos of Day 11 (9 days to Krakow with Carl & Cathal and 2nd day out.

We set off around 08:15 after filling up our water bottles and grabbing a banana in a local shop. None of us could face the leftover pizza we had in the apartment fridge. All of us still a little bit fussy, which I think think this will change very quickly.

We are getting used to the bikes and how they handle surprisingly well, even on the dirt and forest tracks. We had breakfast in a MacDonalds: just a coffee and a pancake thing  – obviously nothing special.

We then pushed on through quite nice roads and trails, and then stopped for an ice cream and cold drink with about 24 miles to go. Soon we were on the busy A4 road. It wasn’t pleasant but we all kept together for the last 10 miles and made a quick stop for more cold drinks and a plate of chips: originally we tried to get the soup but failed to make the lady understand! We arrived at the hotel around 17:00.

Day 12: Tuesday June 25th: Przeworsk (Poland), Korezowa (Border) to Yavoriv (Ukraine)

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Day 12 June 25th: Into Ukraine by truck

Video, map and photos (if any) as they ride(!) into Ukraine.

First road in the Ukraine
First road in the Ukraine

Crossing into Ukraine.

It was the best meal of the Tour so far for Dale last night: Horseradish & egg soup followed by cabbage filled with risotto in a mushroom sauce. Early start for today’s stage, all of us a bit wary of the Polish – Ukraine border crossing.

We made really good progress to the crossing, first road had traffic lights and a barrier, so turned around went up another side road, you could see the border crossing on left.

The a Polish border control guard shouted at Linney “get away this is a border crossing”.

We then went back to the original barrier waited about 5 min until a big lorry came. The barrier opened so on we went, through tto he next barrier, then down the outside lane past 100 or so lorries. We came to the original Polish guard, who then arranged via his boss to allow us to put our bikes in the back of an Ukrainian guys van. Great result managed to get through the border in around an hour, which was a relief all round.

We had ice-cream and cold soft drink to celebrate our first major border crossing, and then a steady 17 miles to the digs.

Dale at the Ukraine border
Dale at the Ukraine border

Day 13: Wednesday June 26th: Yavoriv to Yaktoriv and further to Zolochiv

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Putting some miles in the bank

Video, map and photos of Day 13.

After an early start at 07:30 as we knew we had some extra miles to put in. Had quick breakfast from supermarket oranges, bananas and a peanut butter thing. Made good progress to the outside of the city Lviv, then the cobbles took over for the entry into the city: it makes Paris – Roubiax look like tarmac. Had a quick snack in the city centre, and then pushed on up the steep cobbled exit road with trams and traffic, great fun! Finally got out of the city, on to rolling roads, stopped for an ice cream and soft drink 18 miles out, then rolled into town past the Ukrainian Infantry memorial, got into town and it was still 30+ degrees. Cooled down with a few beers, then on to the Hotel, not good but heyho. Another good day in the saddle.

Day 14: Thursday June 27th: Zolchiv to Pysarivka 78.6m

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Video, map and photos of Day 14.

Everyone likes a friendly dog from Ukraine.

Another early start in the morning mainly due to the hotel not providing anything. Breakfast consisted of yesterdays left over fruit and a cake brought last night. The Hotel lady was very pleasant in the morning but none of us could understand what she was saying.

The weather is a bit cooler with thunderstorms predicted. We started off on good roads and made steady progress, stopping of at the usual place: petrol station! Met two guys very interested in the ride: one gave us 50 Ukrainian things, about £1.50 for a coffee great lad. Then we made our way to the city of Ternopil just as the predicted thunderstorm arrived. We shelter in a nice cafe overlooking the lake for lunch and made plans for the rest of the day.

Decided to crack on for the whole 80 mile and see if we could book a place to stay later. It was a difficult ascent out of the city again with trolley buses and traffic all over the place, but we then got into a steady pace and arrived at a nice road ide bar 16 miles from our proposed destination. The great proprietor took a selfie with us, sorted out his wi-fi for us, while Linney ate again, and Bingo and Dale had another soft drink. We booked a place with no difficulties roughly about 16 miles away. After the selfie on we made great progress on roads that needed a lot to me desired, got to a really nice hotel. It was not ours! Ours was 500m up the road, still ok, few beers and relaxed.

Day 15: Friday June 28th: Viitivtsi to Dʼyakovtsy 72.5m

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Ploughing ahead of schedule through Ukraine

Video, map and photos from Day 15.

The day started with an early breakfast in the trucker’s cafe, with not much to choose from. Linney managed a plate of rice and meat followed by a couple of fried eggs, Bingo just had the fried eggs, I had a few biscuits and coffees. On the road for 7:30 on the best road we have had in Ukraine nice surface and a 2 metre hard shoulder: this road lasted for about 30 miles and we made really good time and so decided to have a early lunch stop in Khmelnyiskyi. However it was not much of a town centre, so we rode through and stopped at a little shop for some snacks, just outside the town. After pushing ahead again the road very soon became awful, with pot-holes and up turned tarmac: really difficult to keep your line on. Later Dale’s other front pannier came adrift, so we had to cable-tie it back into place. The we carried on to another little town.

Linford, thinking a horse and cart might be a better option
Linford, thinking a horse and cart might be a better option

Day 16: Saturday June 29th: DyaKivan to Hassyn 89.8m

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Video, map and photos from Day 16.

After an early night while the locals has a party, we could still hear the music as we drifted off to sleep. Bingo reckons he heard them close up.

We were up bright an early for the breakfast fried eggs again and made an impressive start on nice flat smooth roads covering the first 32 mile in less than 2 hours.  We tried to stop by the river in Vinnaytsia but a grumpy man said no, so we settled for a coffee and Pain au chocolat by the side of the road. It seemed like a nice city but it was a little early,

 


Overland To India

See how Ben and Jess are getting on as they take a more southern route across Asia to India.

You can follow them here: https://jezzlejournal.tumblr.com/ and here is a taster …

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Ben and Jess are currently in Austria and taking a close look at some wildlife

Grand Depart 2

Rest and Recuperation in Kraków

The team had two days rest and recuperation in Kraków with girlfriends and wives arriving from the UK for the weekend.

They managed to locate a local rugby team: Juvenia and spent some time there.

Naturally the also visited some of the cultural facilities on off in the city: amongst them Schindlers Factory in the old Kraków  ghetto.

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Farewell Party

Grand Depart 2

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Keith, Roger, Sandra, Dale, x, y, Linford and Carl
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Keith, Dale and Linford ready for the off

I’m truly gutted I can’t be there to see you off on your amazing adventure, as you know I will follow you and wish you a safe amazing journey. Look after each other.

Dave

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On the road

I am so pleased you have completed another tour , I know this was not an easy one ! I missed you all , but the stars did not align  this year for me! Cath and Moey: well done for leading these boys out to Poland. And for giving them a good platform to carry on the adventure.

And to Roger I’ve been gutted not to get to know you better: I’m sure you would have giving me a clip round the ear for something 😉 also Steven for your witty and factual posts👊

And finally to the 3 nutters: you are about to embark on a journey that will open your hearts and minds. I’m jealous and happy for you at the same time

Much love,

Dave

Overland To India

Dale met Ben and Jess in Dover as they were embarking on a cycle tour to India.

We are going to try and keep in contact with them as both teams traverse the continents.

You can follow them here: https://jezzlejournal.tumblr.com/

Days 4 to 9: Germany & Poland

Charity Update

Many many thanks to those that have donated.

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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

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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

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Video of Day 5 route.

 

Day 6: Monday 17th June: Querfurt to Coswig

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Video of Day 6 route.

 

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

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Video of Day 7 route.

 

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

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Day 9: Thursday 20th June: Krapkowice to

Kraków

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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

Farewells

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!)

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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.

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

Grand Depart

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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5 Day Countdown

Dave

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.

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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.

Training

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.

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

Planning

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.

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Dale’s cake
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Loaded bikes

12 Day Countdown

Dave

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.

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Dave, Dale and Keith
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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:

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If only they’d ride to Japan like this!
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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.

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Training

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.

 

Planning

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.

Equipment

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.

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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.

Timezones

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

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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.

Training

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.

Planning

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

Equipment

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

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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

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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”