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, 21 July 2015

Day 9 Pontarlier to Lausanne

I marked my last night in France with a traditional Chinese buffet. I'm following the dietary advice of an expert who said, "Have plenty of protein and carbohydrates and don't forget to add salt to replace the loss through sweat". Well the buffet had plenty of protein, carbs and possibly sweat as well because the owner worked tirelessly to top up the food bowls that a certain long distance cyclist was rapidly emptying. No profit for her tonight I don't think!

I left the discomforts of the Formule 1 heading towards Lausanne hoping for a less tiring day than the one before. After a brief climb I was cycling along the scenic shores of Lac Saint-Point. I must be a cycling God now because I actually overtook other cyclists even though they were on nice road bikes without the cumbersome luggage that I seem to have accumulated.

The divine serenity must have touched my normal instincts because I sat for 30 minutes looking over the clear, mirror lake without calling and annoying the hardworking people in Purley - you know who you are!

I must have been a very good boy indeed because after another brief climb I was in cyclists' heaven. Two hours of beautiful downhill gliding into Switzerland. I was so lost in the moment that I barely registered the skiing resorts I passed by.

Eventually I just had to stop to take in the view and a few calories. Another 26km to Lausanne proclaimed the stone and that seemed simple enough. What was beginning to frighten me though was the sight of dark shapes in the distance behind where Lausanne must be. The Alps are going to pay me back with interest for all the casual pleasure I've been enjoying.

Finally arrived in Lausanne and checked into my hostel. Situated very close to the train station and a view from the toilet seat that train spotters would die for.

The washing machine has kidnapped a set of my cycling clothes and I have a long night in a dormitory, sharing with three complete strangers, ahead of me.

God knows I miss those gruffalo nights...

Distance today was 50 miles. 


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  2. All the busy people in Purley had a lovely day today watching "Blast from the Past" at the Cinema Club followed by an yummylicious pea & mint soup + bread roll lunch made by Frances & Barbara.

    Sadly, it didn't stop there; Carol & I had to eat a delicious vegetarian Indian lunch specially cooked by kind-hearted Darshna who clearly felt sorry for us hardworking full-timers! She cooked for an army so Carol & I have to eat all that lovely food all over again tomorrow...! Did I say she made delicious Chana Masala, Patra, Basmati Rice & home-made perfectly rounded soft Rotis?? It's a hard life indeed.....!!

    Good luck with crossing the Alps; they will be the peak of your adventure - literally!!

  3. Am really enjoying reading your blog. All good here; we are having meeting tomorrow re calendar so will give you an update. Callum and Keira delighted to be in the newspaper; they feel very famous. Enjoy the Alps!!!!!! Love, Jennifer.