Cyclefest BIG One (Sept 2014)

September 2014: Cyclefest – The BIG One!


On Saturday 6th September 2014 eight intrepid cyclists – with Sue Ablett in her car carrying vital supplies, and technical support provided Chris Dowell (a cycle mechanic) driving the second support vehicle (with lots of spares on board, including a spare bike!).


Lots of milling around and last-minute preparation. Plus the official send-off!

Pictures of the start – taken by Georgie Roberts in the Ringing Chamber – while the bells of the Bell Tower rang out to cheer the cyclists on their way!

Fran Webb took a short home-made video of the gathering – listen to those bells!


The eight riders, with the support team (on the right), our patron Sir Peter Luff MP, and an escort from the Evesham Wheelers!
 Andrew Jackson


The team makes a move – right on the stroke of nine o’clock (or thereabout) – on the start of the journey:


Fantastic send off – great crowd, bells ringing, and a stunning route through the Cotswolds, Chilterns and Thames Valley to overnight stop in Maidenhead. Beautiful unspoilt villages, the English countryside at its absolute best – red kite, kingfisher, inviting pubs – but not much time to stop. Leaving aside the 5 punctures, and a couple of tumbles, the first 100 miles of The BIG one got off to a fantastic start!


A shorter day’s riding beckoned – just 75 miles!  For this leg we were joined by Mayor Charlie Homer, as well as two other riders, but sadly John Webster, who had organised the ride was sidelined due to injuries from his fall. First official rendezvous with support team was Richmond Park – cyclists galore, horse riders and a huge herd of deer. Absolutely wonderful. The cyclists then had to navigate the traffic to Big Ben, while the support team hopped on a train. Amazingly, we all arrived at the same time!  The Cyclefest pop-up banner was displayed and we did the obligatory photoshoot, followed by cutting of Sue’s birthday cake and a rendition of “Happy Birthday”  Then it was time to head out again – after all this was a ride to ‘Big Ben and back!‘  But the shorter ride meant time for a lovely pub lunch at a riverside pub in Barnes. Well the cyclists had earned their break. And only one puncture today!


Homeward bound, just another 100 miles to cycle!  The weather was again absolutely stunning – reversing the route was a navigational challenge, but we did it. Burning up 7,000 calories a day meant that the rest stops were always busy, but the team were in great shape. John was determined to ride the last part of day 3, and dusk was falling as he led them back to the Bell Tower, where a chilled bottle of bubbly was waiting. A wonderful experience – great to be part of the team. Would they do it again?  Absolutely!  They are already talking about where to go next year. And well over £3,000 raised in sponsorship – all in all a fabulous achievement, and a great start to the first event of Evesham’s first ever Cyclefest!

SO WHO IS ‘Team BIG One’?

This is a serious journey – 270 miles in three days through twisty lanes and busy London roads. Certainly not something for the faint-hearted! So, who are these intrepid heroes? Who is “Team BIG One”?

  • John Webster  – mastermind of the route; a veteran of long distance cycling having done the Bell Tower to Beccles (and back) last year for the Bell Tower Appeal; has now cycled every step of the way, albeit in different stages – raring to go!
  • Fiona Narburgh  – flying the sole flag for ‘girl power’, reckons to be “a steady cyclist”, but has been putting in a lot of miles – the Yorkshire stage of the Tour de France and a bit of altitude training in France. Reckon she’ll be fine!
  • Alan Grangerperhaps the least experienced member of the team, but very committed and has been putting in some good training runs. Don’t worry, Alan, you’ll have lots of team support and encouragement!
  • Charlie Homer – Mayor of Evesham, suffered an injury following Evesham 10k run, and had just had his bike overhauled, but still determined to support the team, and will be doing the Maidenhead – Big Ben – Maidenhead day 2 run.
  • Mike Hopkins – coming down from Yorkshire to do ‘The BIG one’ – no, not on his bike!  But the hills of Yorkshire are a great training ground, and some French altitude training thrown in as well. Should be fine!
  • Simon Moore  – hampered by an injury a couple of weeks ago, but has just pulled in a nice little 80 miler, with a hill sprint at the end, and raring to go!  Although Simon has done the original Coast to Coast the most he has ever done in one go until this challenge is the 80 mile training run. ‘The BIG one’ really is BIG for Simon!
  • Colin Tether  – the ‘senior’ member of the group, but a very experienced cyclist. Did London – Paris earlier in the year, as you do!  Prefers a tandem but will be riding solo this trip.
  • Robin Walker – ‘Vale Velo’ – notching up a lot of miles in training. Just pulled in a holiday but did manage to fit in some cycling and walking, and leading the way with sponsorship. Well done Robin!

And the crew?! In support was Sue Ablett (Bell Tower Appeal and Cyclefest Committee Chair) who is not a cyclist other than tootling around town. Her role is to drive the lead support vehicle, jump out at suitable photo-stops and to dispense drinks and goodies to keep the cyclists well-fuelled. Technical support was provided by Chris Dowell, a cycle mechanic, driving the second support vehicle and bringing up the rear, with lots of spares on board, including a spare bike!

Tesco supports Cyclefest!

As you’ve been walking or driving around Evesham, you have probably spotted Tesco delivery vans promoting Cyclefest. Thanks to Nick Dawe and Kim Carter at Tesco for their support for the Cyclefest. They’ve been brilliant! Many thanks!

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