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!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Where Penitent Pilgrims Lie

Previously we posted an item entitled A Long and Winding Road which was about planning for this cycling adventure to Santiago de Compostela.  It is now only a month to go before we set off on our pilgrimage to Santiago!  A couple of weeks back we received our Credentiales.  These are the pilgrim’s passports that are necessary to show that you are an accredited pilgrim.  The Credential dates back to middle ages when vagabonds, brigands and thieves preyed upon the weary traveller.  The Credential, showing that you were on a Christian pilgrimage, was supposed to ensure your safety.  Not a lot of good when most people couldn’t read, or if they did, preferred rich pickings to good will!

In order to qualify as a pilgrim you have to meet certain criteria. These include, that you must have travelled on foot, by horse or donkey.
However moving into the 20th century, it was decided by the authorities that bikes could replace four hoofed legs, so we will be cycling. If travelling on foot you must have walked at least 100 kilometres; by horse, donkey or bike, you must have travelled a minimum of 200k. We will be cycling some 700k to get to Santiago, plus a similar distance back.
To prove that the pilgrim has travelled the required distances, it is necessary to have the Credential stamped at least once a day, twice a day if cycling. Walking pilgrims can expect to travel at least 25k a day, so there are usually pilgrim’s hostels at that approximate distance where you can get the Credential stamped. To take advantage of the over night comforts of these hostels you must hold a Credential. The hostels, as befitting the penitent pilgrim, are very basic. A shared room with bunk beds and a mattress, usually a kitchen to prepare and eat a simple meal, and if you are one of the first to get to the shower, a hot shower, otherwise it is quick cold dip! But what do you expect for only 5 euros a night? Of course, roughing it a bit all adds to the experience and is compensated by seeing new vistas, meeting new people and all the other great experiences that a foreign cycling tour provides.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!And last and by no means least is the benefits that the money we raise, will bring for the South East Cancer Help Centre. At the last count, and with a month to go, we have raised nearly £2,500. And what is a fiver between friends? You could help us to reach our target of £4,000 by clicking here.