We met at the Ricoh Arena, in Coventry, and agreed the statue of Jimmy Hill, a former footballer, would be a suitable place to meet. From the left, Graham, yours truly, Karen, Andy's wife, Ian, John and Alan.
The Core Group arrives
About 11.15, the 30 riders who were doing the 700 miles arrived from Kettering. After a short stop, the 200 support riders would be helping them on the last leg of the journey going through Meriden, Solihull, SW Birmingham to Edgebaston.
Here is our hero coming in, Andy Moss, nearest the camera, shadowing Steve Staunton ex Villa, Liverpool and Northern Ireland footballer (after 102 caps became manager of his country's side). Andy had a brain tumour removed 10 months ago and has made a remarkable recovery. To complete the 700 miles for the HHHO charity is nothing short of heroic.
Who is that with Ken Lambert
Why, Steve Staunton, ex Villa captain. It was a privilege to chat with him. What a nice chap. This was just after we all received our event T shirts. Nice touch but it made it difficult to pick out where your team mates were!
Waiting for the off
We set off in groups of about 8, 2 minutes apart. This is us waiting to get cracking. As you can see, it was a beautiful day with an easterly wind which would blow us into Brum.
On the way
After quite a long wait, we were off. Karen leading, Ken, John and Ian. What we didn't know, the first 5 miles were up hill and down dale out of Coventry on some quite poorly maintained roads. We survived though. Heading to the first break at Meriden.
After the initial hills, the stop at Meriden was very welcome with water and energy bars freely available. It was also chance to regroup as the ESCC had become a little fragmented at this point.
The next stop was at Edgebaston at the home of Warwickshire Cricket Club. Tea, donuts and energy drinks were on offer, gratefully recieved. One of the participants on the very last leg into the City centre was Joanne Malin, a BBC local TV presenter, who had chosen this sit up and beg bike for the short journey. That is two people who have met the famous Ken Lambert today!
The last 3 miles
Not far now. This is the main bunch preparing to head out to Centenary Square in Birmingham. This is going to be fully escorted by Police and other volunteers.
The entertainment centre of the second city. There was lots of encouragement from the public going down here. Only a few yards to go now.
Worth the effort
The icing on cake was getting a medal from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. A good end to a brilliant day. Graham, centre picture, looks more chuffed than I do.
The ride, as per the route map above, was just over 34 miles. Graham and I decided to travel back by train to Warwick leaving a short ride home. We were held up at the ticket office at Snow Hill station and by a family on the stairs down to the platform. When we got to our train and pressed the door open button the train moved off leaving us opened mouthed on the platform. We had to wait an hour for the next one. Grrrr. An unfortunate end to a brilliant day.