We’re back!

Moira and I got back from Kenya on Sunday after an incredible challenge. This was the first visit to Africa for both of us, and the first time we had ever attempted a long distance cycle ride. It was tough. Believe me, we have earned every penny of your sponsorship money! On the last day of the ride we visited the project at Mumia that the International Childcare Trust is sponsoring with a local action group. The aim of the project is to build a drop-in centre and night shelter for street children . The centre will also provide adult education and other facilities to work with local women, including widows who are being supported to take on fostering projects with AIDS orphans and others, and families in crisis. The greeting we received (pictured) was extraordinary and it was an intensely moving experience. The first floor of the centre is virtually complete, funded by some of the money raised out of last year’s Cycle Cambodia challenge, and the building was opened by ICT’s chairman during our visit. The Cycle Kenya team were a great group of individuals, and even though it was tough, we had a real ball. The memories from this trip – and the visit to the Mumia project in particular – will stay with us for a very long time indeed.

A big THANK YOU again to everyone who has supported us so far. Our Just Giving site is still operational, so please, if you haven’t sponsored us already and would like to, there is still time to do so. We are also in the process of putting a day-by-day account of the challenge up on Moira’s blog, linked here


Ere we go…!

Its reached the fateful day. We leave Warwick this afternoon for an overnight flight to Nairobi and 411kms of cycling. Feeling more than a little apprehensive about a couple of the days – days two and four – which involve over 100 kms, which looks to be mostly upwards, and then 88kms with a big 25 km ascent in the afternoon. We’ve done some good mileage in training, but not enough hills I fear…..

But there’s no turning back – that’s why they call it a challenge! Thanks again to all out fantastic supporters who have helped us raise nearly £5000 already, and our major fund-raising events still have to take place. The photo here relates to one of those – a children’s charity cycle ride in Victoria Park, Leamington which is happening on the Sunday after we get back – 25th November from 10.30 am. Big thanks to Roger and hirecentres.com for sponsoring this event on our behalf and to Stephen, our Police community support officer (pictured here with some of our first participants) who has been a tremendous help with all the detailed arrangements. Come and support us if you’re in the area!

Until our return…….

Cycle Kenya

Just a short post to let anyone out there know that I’m still alive and this blog is still active!

A massive thank you from us and the kids we’re supporting to the many generous people who have sponsored us so far on our Cycle Kenya charity ride. We have reached the £3000 target we needed to raise by 31 August to make the cut for this trip. In recognition of this tremendous achievement Moira has raised our total fundraising target from £8000 to £20,000. Its the kind of thing she does when she comes back all inspired from a course, bless. So, watch this space, or alternatively don’t watch this space, but go to our Just Giving site and add some coppers to the collection 🙂

On my bike (or not)…

The observant amongst you may have noticed (if you haven’t already heard more directly) that I’m doing a charity cycle ride in Kenya in November. The last two weeks of almost incessant rain haven’t done much for the training regime, so the re-appearance of the sun this weekend provided an opportunity to hit the road again, so we (self and intrepid partner) set off yesterday morning to one of our favourite training areas, Draycote Water, near Dunchurch. It’s a reservoir with a five mile tarmac perimeter ‘road’ (mostly about the width of a single track), so its generally a good place to train without getting mown down by traffic. Generally.

Anyhow, yesterday was not that great; there was a strong head/side wind most of the way round and after 10 miles and forty minutes, though we could have done more, we’d actually had enough, so we gave it up on the basis we would do a longer ride today. Arriving at Draycote (again) at about 9.30 this morning, we found there were quite a lot of walkers and cyclists already milling around – a bit of a shock, its usually pretty quiet when we go, but I guess the good weather had a lot to do with it. But the conditions were better, so off we set, occasionally weaving through groups of walkers and families on bikes who happily milled across the full width of the path. About four and a half miles round, I found myself on one of the narrow access roads facing an approaching small car and elderly driver. I mentally paused for a bit, thinking am I going to get through or should I stop? But I figured there was room if the car pulled over a bit and I stuck fairly close to the kerb. Well I certainly got close to the kerb. The car did not pull over, the wrong instinct kicked in and, instead of breaking whilst unclipping my left foot from the pedal to come to a safe halt, I caught the kerbstone and flew off the bike onto the grass (fortunately) verge! As I picked myself up I looked back to see the driver pause long enough to see that I was on my feet before moving off again – nearly mowing down a couple of walkers in the process! Thanks, mate.

So, what’s this got to do with education? Probably not a lot really, I just wanted to tell you what a crappy day I’ve had! But that’s not really true either. Getting back on a bike after thirty odd years has been a slightly humbling LEARNING experience. Its kind of funny being a bit of a novice at something again (I think I’ve reached a stage in life where I usually avoid things I know I’m not going to be much good at!) True, you never quite forget how to ride a bike, but anything beyond the basics still requires quite a (re-)learning curve – in some ways almost more so because you still have the sense of what you could do then. So its actually a bit of a shock to discover what you can’t do now (yet) – like getting your water bottle on the move without falling off or veering into the nearest hedge/car/other cyclist. Without getting too Rumsfeldian about it, there’s definitely a process of discovering what you don’t know you don’t know about your own abilities – both positive and negative! And that’s surely what a lot of learning has to be about. I think I’m going to be nicer to my first years come September; after all there’s an awful lot they don’t know they don’t know – yet.