Picos Original Riders

Picos Original Riders
Highlights of 2010

Last of the Picos Riders - to Rome Alone!

Our first two charity rides were a huge success - raising over £20,000 for the South East Cancer Help Centre.

The Centre does a fantastic job of supporting patients and carers at the most difficult times of their lives. They make a real difference and you could help them in their work by contributing to our fundraising. Donations can be made via JustGiving.comhttps://www.justgiving.com/Tom-Vaz/ or directly into the Centre. For more details of the Centre and their work see their website at http://www.sechc.org.uk/

After 3 years of rest it seemed time to dust off the old muscles, bones and sinews and do one more spectacular ride in aid of this fabulous charity.

This time I will travel alone for 25 days, mainly following the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome, the Via Francigene, covering a distance of around 1,400 miles.

The route travels through Newhaven - Dieppe - Paris before I eventually reach the Via Francigene in Eastern France. From then on it is pretty simple apart from having to cross the Alps without an elephant!

Friday, 20 April 2012

A Long and Winding Road

In addition to our ever tougher cycle training (150 very hilly miles last week) to get fit and ready for the rigours of cycling across Spain, there is also a lot of planning involved. For example, how to travel to Spain and having got there, how to find our way to Santiago de Compostela. There are many other things to be resolved. How long will it take? How far can we travel each day? Will we find somewhere to stay each night? Over the last couple of months we have been studying maps, researching on the internet, and trying to answer these and many other questions that need to be answered.
There are 2 main pilgrimage routes across Spain, the Camino Frances (shown in blue in the diagram above), and the Camino del Norte marked in yellow and which has several options branching off.The latter is the obvious route for us because it passes thru Santander where the ferry from Portsmouth docks. In reality the Camino del Norte follows the coast more closely than shown in the diagram. It passes thru the coastal city of Gijon and many small fishing villages where we will have the opportunity to enjoy a glass of Asturian cider with barbecued sardines. Or if we are in an mood adventurous mood, octopus or some such Spanish delicacy!Having reached Ribadeo, the road inland starts a long climb, up and over the mountains where we hope to stay for one night at the beautiful monastery at Sobrado. Los mojes, shown on the diagram above, means the monks. Not too difficult to translate!
Returning from Santiago we will first head east along the Camino Frances, then take the yellow route to the old town of Lugo, famous for it’s encircling Roman walls. The route thru Lugo to Oviedo is known as the Camino Primitivo. It will be the hardest part of our journey, with 3 days in a sparsely populated mountainous region!
After that I need a rest! Hasta luego.

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