Today was about picking up the rest of the team who flew over to Copenhagen then driving up to Gothenburg. All went to plan and we arrived for the 6:30 live linkup Grand Depart. I was a hot drive up, but when we eventually set off riding it was a nice 7 miles to get the legs warmed up to the camp.

Tonight we head to our Sweden Arctic to Africa correspondent Keven Dat who interviewed Dave earlier.

Dave also born and bred in Harrogate.

So Dave why did you get involved in this mad adventure?

“My mate Sean got me a bit drunk one night and said I have a cunning plan! Like Baldrick off Blackadder when Sean says I have a cunning plan, it involves a lot of pain and even more beer”.

Dave, you look like a cyclist unlike Sean, do you do a lot of cycling?

“In the past, I have done a lot of mountain biking including racing in Portugal. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do as much training this year as I hoped but I am sure I will be ok”.

How long have you known Sean?

“I met Sean and Kathleen 25 years ago at Crimple valley golf club. We played a lot of golf in those days but over the years we got more into the cycling. I knew Kathleen’s Dad Eric through Sean and Kathleen and thought this was not only a great challenge but a great opportunity to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK”.

Which part of the ride are you most looking forward to?

The End!!!!!!! No seriously Stelvio Pass! I love the challenge of climbing one of the most famous passes and the 2nd highest in Europe. I have seen the pro’s do it so many times on the Giro de Italia.

Thank you, Dave, for your perspective to his great cycle ride.

Swedish Arctic to Africa correspondent Keven Dat

Tomorrow we start the ride in earnest 90 miles down the Swedish coast to Halmstead. The forecast is hot about 30 degrees. A different challenge from last year. Hopefully, we will have some great photos for you.

Hi All Kathleen here,

First day completed of our drive to the start of Arctic to Africa Phase 2. After being rudely awoken numerous times by the wonderful ferry tannoy announcements we headed off in glorious sunshine. The day just got hotter and hotter. We are all now relaxing and enjoying a cold beer. As these first few days are taken up with driving we thought it was the perfect opportunity for you to get to know our 3 cyclists so tonight we head to our Arctic to Africa correspondent in Germany – Nansed Clamtrap who interviewed our very own Sean McPartland.

Sean – Harrogate born and bred and then moved out to Birstwith in 2007. Married to Kathleen for 27 years with two children Jonathon and Kayleigh. This madcap challenge was Sean’s fault apparently.

So we asked Sean what got him into cycling?

“Well it all started about 12 years ago. I was doing a bit of off road cycling with my pal David when we came up with the idea to cycle the coast to coast from Whitehaven to Sunderland. Four of us did the ride, David, Jonathon who was 12 years old at the time, my Uncle Andy and myself. It was a great and eventful trip but that’s another story for around a camp fire”.

That is great, but how did this develop into what you are doing now?

“A couple of years later we moved to Birstwith. After a few months once we met the crazy Birstwith possie and near the end of a boozy Friday night I was chatting to Birstwith’s one and only Amy Holmes about our first Coast to Coast and came up with the idea of doing it again and getting a few of the other villagers to join in. That we did! Mountain bikes were popping up everywhere, there were regular training rides and the group just got bigger and bigger. In the end there was a group of 22 cyclists and about the same back-up who did the trip. Again there was many a tale to be told from that trip! What we also did on this trip is bring in the charity element and in the end we raised over £12,500 for worthy causes including St Michaels hospice and Cancer Research”.

Great causes and a huge amount to raise! These events were on mountain bikes, what made you move into road bikes?

By this time I had the bug. Again after a few beers at the station, I came up with what at the time I thought was going to be the pinnacle of my challenges. Birstwith to Rome! A change of bikes now we were on road bikes. This wasn’t going to be easy and it took some planning. There were four riders, Dave again, Paul (one of Jonathon’s school friends), and Heather with a backup crew of Kathleen, Jonny, Kayleigh and Dan. We completed the 1400 mile ride in 2 weeks and were greeted at the end by a group of friends from Birstwith when we arrived at the Colosseum. That year we raised £13,700 for Yorkshire air ambulance”.

Wow you really raised the bar there. Why then Arctic to Africa?

“It had been 5 years since the Rome trip and we were ready for a new challenge. How could we beat the Rome trip? Cycle round the world??? I wish! We all have jobs, we couldn’t just drop everything and go cycling for a year. We had to come up with something else. Top of Europe to the bottom was an initial thought. Had it been done before? We believe it probably has but we couldn’t see much in the internet about it. Then it came to us Arctic to Africa! From Nordkapp to Casablanca. Yes we don’t think it has been done before”.

Why Casablanca?

“Why not? And there was a film about it so it sounded a great place to complete the ride”.

You are completing it in three phases why not all at once?

“We would have loved to do it in one go, but as I have said earlier we all have jobs and getting the time off would have been unreasonable. Then there is the back up as well. The other reason was down to the fundraising as we thought spreading it over three years would create more exposure and raise more money for the charity”.

Yes, you are doing it for charity again, tell us more about the charity?

“Yes, we wanted to use the opportunity to raise money for charity. We choose Alzheimer’s Research UK following the passing of my father in law Eric who suffered from the disease. To date we have raised over £13,000”.

You are also involved in another ride can you tell us about it?

“The Great Nidd Bike Ride is a mass participation ride around Nidderdale. Starting at The Station Hotel in Birstwith it is a 50 or 68 mile ride through some of the most stunning countryside in Yorkshire. Last year was the inaugural ride where 70 riders joined up and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I am proposing to run it for 10 years building it up every year and hopefully raising plenty of funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK”.

There you have it the story behind the Arctic to Africa challenge from Sean’s perspective. We look forward to seeing how he and the rest of the team get on over the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow we interview Dave and see why he joins in these mad capers.

It seems appropriate that the sponsor assigned to Sean would be The Station Hotel Birstwith!!!

Arctic to Africa correspondent in Germany Nansed Clamtrap

It doesn’t seem a year ago since we completed the first phase and ended up in this bar in Gothenburg! How time flies? As we are about to embark on the long journey back up to Gothenburg it brings back memories of the arduous trip last year. The Five-day drive to Nordkapp! Setting off at midnight on midsummers day in the midnight sun. A particular memory from that day was at about 2:30 am we were 35 miles into the cycle. Nordkapp is on an island off the top of Norway and is connected by a tunnel under the sea. The four riders descended into the blackness of the rough hand carved tunnel. It was a steep descent of over 200 meters getting colder and colder the deeper we went. For some unknown reason, the four of us managed to somehow get split up. I can remember seeing two dim red lights in the distance in front of me and one white light behind me. Even though we were only a couple of hundred yards apart it felt very lonely and eerie down there. I can remember thinking, It is 2:30 am on a Monday morning, I am 230 meters underneath the Arctic ocean in temperatures bordering on Zero riding a bicycle! I wonder what everyone else is doing? We eventually climbed out of the tunnel still to find it light but the blue skies had been replaced by dark rain clouds, it was then we realised what we had let ourselves in for. The rest of the ride and the following several days were full of rain and snow. The rest is history the team battled through and eventually made it to Gothenburg.

So here we are Phase 2! Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm we set off to Hull once again. This year we have a motorhome as our accommodation, which should mean less packing and unpacking every night. David, Kathleen and Sean will be driving the motorhome across Germany on Monday camping near Rodby. Then on Tuesday morning we board the ferry across to Denmark and head up to Copenhagen where we pick up Paul and Kayleigh from the Airport. It is then a couple of hundred miles up to Gothenburg where we hope to get there for 6:00 pm for a 6:30 live Facebook link and the grand depart. More details will follow.

Alzheimer’s Research UK! After all, this is what we are doing this for. How are we doing with fundraising you might ask? To date, we have just gone over the £13,000 mark which is a fantastic achievement! We all thank you for your kind donations and support. Please keep donating where you can.

Great Nidd Bike Ride. Last year we launched the first GBNR with huge success. Over 70 cyclist tackled the hills of Nidderdale and thoroughly enjoyed the day! We also raised over £4000 that day to the charity. We are repeating the event again this year on the 15th of Septemeber. Please follow this LINK to enter this year’s ride.

The route is now fully planned along with all the dates. For those who are looking to join us for a few days either cycling or sightseeing, below are the details and Garmin routes which we will be taking.

05/08/2018 Leave UK on ferry From Hull to Rotterdam then drive up to Gothenburg

Day 1 08/08 Sweden, Gothenburg to Halmstad 97 Miles

Day 2 09/08 Sweden, Halmstad – Denmark, Copenhagen 82 Miles

Day 3 10/08 Denmark, Copenhagen – Germany, Rostok 138 Miles

Day 4 11/08 Germany – Rostok to Witterberge 108 Miles

Day 5 12/08 Germany – Witterberge to Bernburg 94 Miles

Day 6 13/08 Germany – Bernburg to Rudolstadt 109 Miles

Day 7 14/08 Germany – Rudolstadt to Erlangen 100 Miles

Day 8 15/08 Germany – Erlangen to Neuburg an der Donau 85 Miles

Day 9 16/08 Germany – Neuburg an der Donau to Wank 107 Miles

Day 10 17/08 Austria – Wank to Lago Resia 80 Miles

Day 11 18/08 Italy – Lago Resia to Lago Como 114 Miles

Day 12 19/08 Italy, Lago Como to Switzerland, Lago Maggiore 63 Miles

Day 13 20/08 Italy – Lago Maggiore to Asti 83 Miles

Day 14 21/08 Italy – Asti to Limone Piemonte 76 Miles

Day 15 22/08 Italy, Limone Piemonte to France, Monaco 67 Miles

A total of 1403 miles and 55732 feet of climbing!

For those driving down, I suggest meeting up with us around the Italian lake are Lake Como and following us down to Monaco.

Should you just be want to fly over to Monaco we are going to be staying a few days in Manton about 5 miles away there are lots of Airbnb places available and a lot cheaper than trying to stay in Monaco itself.

Don’t forget this will be the height of summer and flights accommodation will get booked up quickly so you will need to act soon. Please let me know if you are planning to join us at any stage.

Please keep a lookout on our Social Media or the website for further details, comment below or email Sean to be put on an information mailing list

Don’t forget we will be continuing our fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK, so far we have raised £11,300.

This is going to be one hell of a trip!

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