Arctic to Africa on a bicycle! What a challenge, four and a half thousand miles cycling from Nordkapp the most northern point in Europe through the continent and into Africa finishing in Casablanca in the summer of 2019. There are five riders, who are completing this challenge in three two-week phases over a period of three years.
As in previous cycling challenges, we are using this opportunity to raise money for a worthy charity Alzheimer Research UK! A charity very close to a lot of the riders hearts.
The plans are in place; the training is well under way; the fundraising has begun and we are ready to set off or the Arctic.
The challenge will begin at Midnight on the 18th of June 2017 from Nordkapp finishing the first stage two weeks later in Gothenburg.

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 Station Hotel in Birstwith has kindly agreed to continue to support the A2A team.

The Station Hotel is a family-owned country inn located in the beautiful village of Birstwith.

Located on the edge of Nidderdale – an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” –  lucky enough to have stunning scenery and amazing walking routes right on our doorstep. Located just 6.5 miles or a 10-15 minute drive from Harrogate, the “happiest place to live in Britain” and certainly a great place to visit whatever the time of year.

Dine at the Station

The restaurant serves food daily and their experienced chefs take great pride in creating beautifully presented, unfussy yet full flavoured food, letting clever combinations of fresh, seasonal
ingredients really shine through. Vegetarians are well catered for and many of their dishes can be produced gluten-free; with a little warning, dairy-free dishes can be provided too.

The menu changes regularly and whilst they do serve traditional pub classics such as fish & chips and sticky toffee pudding they also serve a la carte dishes to tempt every palate; Their seafood dishes are particularly popular.

Stay at the Station

They have 4 fantastic guest bedrooms located on the first floor of the main pub building and a 2 bedroom family / accessibility suite located on the ground floor in a separate annex to the pub.

All the rooms are furnished with traditional oak furniture, comfortable beds and have lovely en-suite shower or bathrooms.  The rooms also all have tea and coffee making facilities, an alarm clock, free Internet access and flat screen freesat TV.  They offer free on-site parking and a hearty Yorkshire breakfast is included in the price of your stay.

Booking a room can be done via the “Book Online” tab on their accommodation page or better still call them on 01423 770254.

We are happy to confirm that Vantage Motor Group has kindly agreed to be a Main Sponsor for Phase two of the Arctic to Africa Challenge.

Vantage Motor Group is a family owned business who have a Passion to Please. They pride themselves on their specialist knowledge in the sale and care of Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Honda, Citroën, Kia and SKODA vehicles across the North of England and the Midlands.

The company’s purpose is to pursue excellence by always doing their best to meet the needs and expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s customers; they aim to achieve this, every day. Complete customer satisfaction is, and always will be their goal.

Mark Robinson – Founder and Managing Director – said “We take great pride in supporting local communities, Charities and events including The Prince’s Trust, St Michaels Hospice and many more. The Challenge of this epic cycle ride from the most northern point in Europe to Africa while raising much-needed funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK must be encouraged, and we are very pleased to be supporting this great adventure. I look forward to hearing their daily blog and wish all the participants all the luck in their endeavours.”


End of Round Two Games

Update 25th June 2018

No trippier up as England Kane Panama 6-1!!!! What a weekend of Football? Germany scrape back into the competition with a last-second goal from Kroos to snatch a win over Sweden and Nigeria’s win over Iceland put Argentina back in the fold. You just know it is going to end up a Germany v Argentina Final???

The football forecast is changing daily, and we have a new Leader, Grumpy Leverton leading Simon Armitage by two points.

World Cup Forecast Top Five
Pos     Player                     Points
1           Grumpy Leverton      42
2          Simon Armitage        40
3          Emma Yates              39
4          Dancing Hatters      38
5          Adam Wilkins          37

This week sees the final games of the group stage and the most points available for the forecast. As a reminder not only do you receive points for a win or Draw but there are bonus points as detailed below:

Group Winners        6 Points
Runners Up             3 Points
Bottom of group      – 3 Points

Then there is the number of goals scored in each group stage where you can pick up an extra 5 points.
World Cup Top Scorers (Golden Boot contenders)

Pos               Player                              Team                      Goals
1                  Harry Kane               England                            5
2                 Romelu Lukaku        Belgium                            4
2                 Cristiano Ronaldo     Portugal                          4

Our man Harry Kane is the new Golden Boot leader, and looks in great form to continue scoring goals for England!

You can also follow the updates and comments on Facebook or the website

World_Cup_2018_Forecast 25-6


Round One Games

Update 19th June 2018

All teams have now played their first game of the 2018 World cup. We have had a few surprises, Germany losing to Mexico and Brazil’s Draw with Switzerland. There have been plenty of goals with the help of VAR and Nine Penalties. To top it all off, we have had a win for ENGLAND! Once again they kept us on the edge of our seats until a winning goal in injury time from that man Harry Kane!!!

The football forecast is starting to take shape and looking very close.  With four players in joint top spot on 22 Points. There is still a long way to go and a lot of points to be had.

World Cup Forecast Top Five

Pos     Player                     Points

1         Emma Yates            22

1         Clive Francis            22

1         Dancing Hatters      22

1         Shadan Noori          22

5        Jake Nicolaides       21

The Facts

We have only had one red card with Carlos Sanchez of Columbia sent off after only 2 minutes 56 seconds into his world cup. That meant that those who chose Columbia as one of their teams lost three points.

World Cup Top Scorers (Golden Boot contenders)

Pos     Player                     Team                      Goals

1          Cristiano Ronaldo  Portugal                 3

2        Denis Cheryshev      Russia                     2

2        Diego Costa               Spain                      2

2        Harry Kane               England                  2

2        Romelu Lukaku        Belgium                  2


Todays Game

The First game of Round two is the high scoring Russian’s taking on Egypt with Europe’s top scorer this year Mo Salah. This promises to be a high scoring game!


You can also follow the updates and comments on Facebook or the website

World_Cup_2018_Forecast 19-6-18




Update 15th June 2018

Here we are again! How time flies, it doesn’t seem two minutes ago since Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in extra time in Rio.

It is great to see so many people sign up to this years World cup forecast. In total we have eighty one people signed up! The good news is that the prize fund is £200 and we have also raised the same amount for Alzheimer’s Research UK! Thank you all who have taken part.

This year there will be three prizes as follows:-

1st Place £150.00

2nd Place £30.00

3rd Place £20.00

For those of you who are new to the forecast I will explain how it works. From the form you filled in it states how the scoring works and without boring you too much I will go over the stage scoring first. In each game the teams receive 3 points for a win, 2 points for a score draw, 1 point for a no score draw. There are also deductions of 3 points for each player that gets a red card. I will explain the rest of the scoring as we go through the competition.

I will be sending updates and the current league table every couple of days so you can see how you are doing.

The Stats

This year the favourites for the competition have been chosen fairly equally with Germany slightly more popular. It is good to see that a lot of faith has been put behind England as they have had the most selections. The other most popular team was Costa Rica! The two least favourite teams were Iran and Croatia.

Yesterdays Game                                                                

After the opening ceremony we saw the hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia. What an opening game! Russia put five past Saudi Arabia to record the biggest win by the host nation in the opening game of a world cup since 1934.

Todays Games                                                               

Today we see 3 matches. First up in group A Egypt take on Uruguay where we have two stars on display    Mo Salah and Luis Suarez, this promises to be a high scoring game!


Then we see Morocco and Iran battle it out in the tough Group B The loser of this one will struggle to progress.                 


Finally the game of the Stages Portugal against Spain. Can Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal capitalise on the disarray of Spain and the recent sacking of their manager.

You can also follow the updates and comments on facebook or the website

League Table 15-06-2018

Have you got what it takes to pick out the winners from the losers in this years World Cup?

If so Prove it!! Enter the 2018 World Cup Forecast!

This year the profits from the event will be going to Alzheimer’s Research UK the chosen charity for my bike ride “Arctic to Africa”

The cost to enter is £5.00. Half will go to the prize money and half will go to the charity. As usual, I will be sending out daily updates as the competition goes along and updating the league.

Four years ago Angela “Motty” Healy won a closely fought completion by only one point. The total prize money was £192.50!!!



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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