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!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Day 10 Lausanne to Martigny

The best way out of Lausanne is to follow the shores of Lakes Geneva. The coastal road goes past the yachts and the cuckoo clock chateaux before you eventually arrive at Vevey and Montreux. All the while you can see the Alps looming over the scene.

Along the coast there is a giant fork stuck into the lake to represent the serenity of Lake Geneva. It does look a bit like someone is having fun with the King Arthur legend.

Montreux hosts an annual film festival and when that is not on there is some entertainment in watching a young woman blowing giant bubbles at children. I'm not sure who was having more fun but at least the kids were getting cleaner.

The River Rhone flows into the Eastern end of the Lake and that is where the path leading the blind and foolhardy into Italy begins.


Just along here is the World Centre for Cycling presided over by UCI. This little organisation has been in charge of cycling since 1900 and has been accused by many of ignoring the performance enhancing exploits of cyclists such as Lance Armstrong. I should point out that my performance on this journey has been enhanced by many a bottle of Coca Cola as well as a knee and an ankle support. The only drugs involved are for asthma and to reduce the effects of old age. 

There were many kids outside the Centre practising on BMX bikes but I guess they have to train hard to reach the supreme level of fitness that allow one to take on a long distance pilgrimage.

As the cycle lane moved deep into the Rhone Valley I spied a sign that blew my mind. Goa Masala and other world food. Having two parents born in Goa, I had no choice but to investigate. I asked if food was possible because I'm from Goa and therefore their serving times were not relevant! 

A large, white man sitting at the bar spoke to me in Konkani, the language of my parents and was disgusted to find that I spoke very little of it. He was Swiss, his wife English but she was the cook having learned her skills loving in Goa for 20+ years. They even have a daughter still living in Saligao, my father's home village. To be quite honest I felt ashamed that this "white" man and his wife were more Goan than I am and so I left with my tail between my legs.

Anyway I find myself in a 4* hotel in Martigny - my last stop before the big one tomorrow. I've been fed and watered and have had a good look at the stuff in my luggage which feels way too heavy. I have my suspicions but I think it might be this guy... His name is Hannibal and he tells me that some guy from North Africa carried one of his ancestors over the Alps. Anyone got a history book I could chuck at him?

Another 50 miles today. 

1 comment:

  1. That's uncanny that you've travelled all that way to be reminded of your roots - what a small world and a reminder that there's no hiding place. I hope that elephant is prepared for the challenging terrain ahead of him. Take care of him. I really want to go back to Switzerland now! Carol