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!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Day 8 Besançon to Pontarlier

Once again my exit from a French city was a hair raising experience. I followed the N57 out of Besançon and steadily climbed up into the Jura mountains. Suddenly the N57 merged with the high speed E23 and I was in the middle of two lanes of traffic merging at 60mph!

Fortunately, I managed to get off the E23 and followed the sedate D67 through the village of Tarcenay and into the town of Ornans. The climb through Tarcenay was steady at 6% and after 300m climbing the reward was that the road swooped down and around beautiful, fast curves into the Loue Valley. I slammed my brakes on when I saw a cyclepath. Out of curiosity I decided to follow it and I'm glad that I did, a couple of miles of the most stunning cycleway I've ever used led into Ornans.

Obviously, this must have once been a railway line to boast a viaduct like this one! I really loved the views across the valley to the bluffs on the other side not realising that the road would lead me up there at a later point.

Ornans had the most perfect picnic spot I've seen in years so I just lay there watching the trout and called the people I was missing. A peaceful hour went by and I'm glad that I did that because from that point it was onwards and upwards. Endlessly, relentlessly up to 900m. I know I have worse yet to come but overall I managed 1400m of climbing today on a 42 mile ride. Some of it was around 12-15% so good preparation I think.

I eyed up the evenly spaced trees in the forests - perfect for a man with no fixed abode and a hammock. However I had a date in the Formule 1, Pontarlier with a couple of tarts.

Unfortunately they ended up a bit squashed... 


  1. I'm surprised you could handle a couple of tarts after all that - you're obviously a lot fitter than you look!

  2. No time for PG Tips! Those Alps are waiting for you, so keep pedalling Tom!

  3. Thanks Agnes I really needed some encouragement!

  4. I agree fully with Agnes; give the PG Tips to the Swiss & find some Red Bull quick! Not only are the Alps waiting for you; so are we - in anticipation & trepidation to find out what happens next....!!

    Will he? Won't he?