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Originally, this day was due to be the longest of the journey with us going all the way to Manchester, well in excess of 100 miles, giving us a rest day tomorrow. As it was we started the day bikeless and without a clear plan.
We awoke after virtually no sleep and Carole attempted to contact BBC Radio Leicester via Twitter and Facebook. Loads of people had already commented on her original post on Facebook, but more immediate local help was urgently required. David was telling Carole that comic friend Jayde (Babs) Adams had set up a Go Fund Me crowdfunding page and money was already pouring into it from all over the place.
Still early, around 8am, Carole had a phone call back from Radio Leicester from their roving reporter, Rob, who asked if he could come over and interview us. “Of course!” we said. We needed help and we needed it fast.
Very soon we were going live on BBC Radio Leicester explaining our predicament and having our photo taken in front of our bike stripped car, broken promo flag in hand. Rob wished us all the best and left to his next story.
We’d been informed by the hotel reception staff that the manager would be in at 8 am, and we would be able to request access to CCTV and try to figure out what else to do to rescue the situation. Luckily, the manager(ess) was very understanding, offered us another night’s free accommodation, breakfast and anything else we needed. Shortly after this she came back to us and Carole viewed the CCTV which showed a youth in a hoody and rucksack, coming down to the back of our car around 9 pm, fiddling around at the boot end. The CCTV doesn’t show exactly what he’s doing, but he must have been cutting off our lock at that point. Then, a minute later, another camera shows him wheeling one bike off up steps at the rear of the building, and around the corner behind a high wall. A few seconds later, he’s back to get the other one, does exactly the same thing and then he’s gone. We think he must have had an accomplice, or a van behind the wall. Trying to wheel two bikes on your own isn’t easy!
We went back to our room on the fourth floor and spent the next hour or so on social media, angry at this halt to the ride, angry at the thief, trying not to take the theft personally, but not completely succeeding. To steal from a charity is just about the lowest of the low.
Meanwhile Jayde Adam’s crowd funder total (huge target of £2000) was steadily climbing, as was the STEP4Mind page total. Messages of support were coming in from all over the country – we were trending! We could see already that we would have enough cash to buy new bikes, but where were we to source them, and how quickly could we get this sorted out? Time was of the essence. To keep up with our gig schedule, we needed to be in Manchester for XS Malarkey the following evening, having completed a very long cycling stint, over 100 miles between us.
Radio Leicester came back to us again just before 10am. Could we please come around to their studio and be interviewed live on air with Monica, their stand in morning presenter. Their usual presenter, Jo, was on holiday. The radio station said that, thanks to a caller, Rutland Cycles, they might be in a position to help us out.
Of course we said yes, and we were around at the station by 10.30 am, being signed into the rarefied atmosphere of Auntie Beeb, and ushered upstairs to the studio. Monica was lovely and pre-interviewed us a little before we went live, getting the gist of our story, and then explained about the headphones, microphones etc. Suddenly we were on air, explaining out situation again for the benefit of the listeners and then, AND THEN, the fabulous Stef Brooks from Rutland Cycling came online through the phones offering us free cycle hire for the rest of our journey. To say we were relieved was an understatement.
Once out of the studio, we soon had the arrangements in hand to go over to Rutland cycles at Rutland Water to be fitted with our new steeds.
The location was beautiful and, on arrival, we asked for Stef as instructed, and were soon trying out a bike each and having lights, water bottles and spare tubes showered on us, “just in case”. That neither Dave nor I had had any practice at changing tyres was not something we wanted to bring up. We would handle this issue if and when we needed to!
Back in Leicester, we ferried our new rides, one by one, up in the lift to our hotel room. In the days to come, the bikes accompanied us to our room, no matter which floor, or however many lift rides, or how disapproving the reception staff looked. Those bikes were guarded like they were our own children.
Later in the day, after food, Carole declared exhaustion (lack of sleep the previous night had taken its toll) , and went to bed early. Dave took the opportunity to go back to The Cookie (it was Rhod Gilbert’s second night there) to let them know about our misfortune.
Rhod did a bucket shout for us and Dave collected £70 for the fund.
No miles covered, very little sleep, rest day lost and prospect of longest ride of the journey tomorrow.
PREVIEW OF THE DAY
This will be the longest day of the entire journey. Originally we were going to split this and finish it the following day, but have decided to do it all in one go so we can have a recovery day on the 31st.
So this is now in three parts.
Leicester – Derby (36 miles, Dave)
Derby – Buxton (41 miles, Carole ps. Buxton is the highest village in England)
Buxton – Manchester (29 miles, Dave)
Gig will be in Manchester at the Frog and Bucket – the legendary open mike night Beat the Frog. TICKETS