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!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Day 18 Piacenza to Fornovo di Taro

Well I couldn't get a reasonably priced room in Fornovo so I'm a couple of miles out of town in a places called Sant'Andrea Bagni. The thermal springs here must have been a massive attraction once because the hotel I'm in is huge 50 rooms but there's hardly anybody in it. Massive dining rooms all managed by one lady who is also covering reception.

Not much to report on my way here which I think good news for me! I followed the SS9 out of Piacenza, long straights, sometimes with a cycling hard shoulder and sometimes without. This is a busy road with big lorries so lots of concentration involved. This cyclist helped me through one little town because she didn't laughed at the ideas of one way streets!Eventually I headed off onto a quieter road at Fidenza and I had suddenly had time to think again. I haven't forgotten why I'm doing this ride and I haven't forgotten all you kind people who pledged and donated money. It is a good cause and I carry your good wishes (and prayers) with me through the rough and the smooth parts of my journey.

It has been a great adventure up to now and I'm sure that when I hit tomorrow's mountain that your kindness will carry me over like the grumpy old man in "Up". If not then I will just have to buy loads of helium balloons!

You kind people who've made pledges and signed sponsorship sheets should be prepared to receive a phone call. As I am approaching the end they have their fingers on the dial and will be after your promised gold! Give generously because it has really hurt at times!

Total mileage today was 40 miles and the Grand Total so far is 924 miles!

Wherever there's shade and somewhere to sit there are old codgers who turn up on bikes. This is a great idea for when I get home! 
Gateway to where I don't know but those mountains in the background are where I'm headed tomorrow. 
Someone please tell me what this flower is. I have seen loads of these bushes and want one! 


  1. It's a hibiscus I believe, Tom!
    Keep safe!

  2. Myself and Claire were only talking yesterday about the Novel and film The Colour Purple, named because of the Purple Hibiscus in the story so be sure you by a purple one of these. If I can find one I will buy it for you :)

  3. I thought the hibiscus was more tropical? However these are in the mountains as well. I'd love to have a purple one if you can find it!