Day 109 has been mashed up with the weekend and has seen 15 miles walked, 22 miles cycled and a new bike. 

Saturday was great. I started with a 3 mile walk around the War Memorial Loop. The sun was out and I was picking up a new bike. I popped in to Wheelology in Callander off the bus to let Peter know that I was here and off to order him a Late while he finished with a customer. Then straight into the Deli Ecosse. I had to celebrate a new bike with a lactose free decaf Mocha and a seeded flapjack. They were chocker block so was happy to stand but next thing I knew the amazing Julie arrived with a small table and then a chair and as I waited for the white linen tablecloth brought by a gentleman in black tie I instead received the instruction ‘SIT!!’ I obediently sat and savoured my Mocha with a huge smile but drank it quickly as I wanted to get the bike. They had taken Peter’s coffee over for me so I paid and said farewell to the wonderful team. Peter was still busy so I browsed the shop and found a pair of cycling shorts recommended to me. Then it was my turn!! I was working hard to contain myself so focused hard as I surveyed the unblemished finish on this bike that will form such a close partnership with me as I cycle the many miles for the future, for a future! As I looked at the alien technology on this bike from disc brakes to indexed gears et al my eyes watered when I saw the slimline saddle. But then I asked for a quick maintenance lesson. Peter was so patient with me as he took me over the bike from front to back with top tips on how to maintain it. He asked me to take it off for a spin to check it but I wasn’t keen. What if I fell off it and scratched it? Peter held the door open for me. Clearly I was going. I wheeled the bike out gingerly and slowly mounted the bike like a rider mounting a new steed. I settled onto my saddle, wincing slightly as I lowered my weight on to it’s razor edge. I gathered my reins. Surveyed my route then, sure that the coast was clear, kicked her on. It was like riding on velvet. Everything worked beautifully and, as she bucked underneath me on the hill, I knew that she was ready for the tough stuff. I brought her home and led her into the shop, removed my helmet and slapped her saddle. She settled into the stable leaning against the wall. ‘She’s great!’ I exclaimed. I’ll take her!! Peter talked about grooming and hoof picking so I bought some shampoo and oil for the coat, hooves and moving parts. Oh and a bell to stop me getting told off by old ladies when I surprise them. Oh and some head and tail lights. Then the next bit. I had to pay for it. I went to the counter. Fumbled with my wallet and then dropped it!! Peter told me how much it came to and my eyes started watering. Not from sadness but from gladness. He cannot have made a penny of profit yet had given me hours of his time for nothing over the last months. I could not have been more grateful as I handed over the peppercorns for my new steed, riding shorts and grooming accoutrements. Thank you for your huge generosity Peter of Wheelology Callander. Awesome.

A view towards Inch Mickery from Day 108
A view towards Inch Mickery from Day 108

Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.

Peter held the door for me again. I led her outside. Tied her up outside Deli Ecosse and went inside to get Debbie. She came, she saw and I secured a promise. We were going riding together in the spring. Her mount is of the same ‘Cube’ breed and same height at the withers so we should be evenly matched. I leapt straight back on and with a whoop and a wave of my hand, kicked her on and headed off into the rain with a smile on my face for the 8 miles over the top road back into Doune.  I arrived home still smiling and nursed the new bike carefully in to the garage. I am sure I heard some grumbling as the old bikes in the garage were manoeuvred around to fit her in. They were going to have to go. Another 3 mile walk for Georgie and home for some admin.

Sunday started with a 2 mile walk around the new estate before breakfast and a lovely service in St Modocs surrounded by lovely people and certainly more in number than last week. Then I popped over to see cousin Nick for a blether and a cup of tea. It was lovely to catch up with him before heading home to do some more admin before another 2 mile walk up the wee road to Argaty along by the allotments and then preparing tea. Mexican Sausage Tacos again. Happy Children.

Today started with a 3 mile walk up the steps and along the Commonty track before descending to the old railway line and tracking our way back in. It was dark. Very dark but with my powerful headtorch nae dramas. I just have to remember not to look at people with it on without covering the beam because it will easily ruin someone’s night vision for quite some time. Back home and the children and I had breakfast together and then I saw the children off to school before checking one of the bikes to go to recykeabike for recycling in to reuse. It is a really clever scheme at which they take an old bike off of your hands, train young people as bike mechanics as they refurbish the old bikes and then sell the recycled and refurbished bikes from their shop to help pay for the spare parts and the wages of the trainees. I was heading there. It was in Riverside Stirling and going to be wet. All dressed up and ready to go I went. This was the old bike that Peter had given me as a stop gap until my new one arrived after my old one had become unsafe to ride any further. This was a lovely old bike but I could find no new home for it so Peter suggested I take it to recykeabike. No car and unable to drive because of the epilepsy it was an easy choice. In fact no choice. I was going to have to ride it in but despite the rain it wasn’t going to be a hardship. The choice was in the route. As this was a sort of cross bike I went for the 14 miles from Doune to Dunblane along the old railway track, from Dunblane to Bridge of Allan through the beautiful deep glen with it’s never ending downhill and then Bridge of Allan to Riverside along by Cambuskenneth Abbey and over the River Forth. It was wet but great fun. I got so caught by a lovely older lady called Dorothy who was out for a walk as I whooshed down the muddy track and through the large puddles up on the ridge between Doune and Dunblane. I am pretty sure that she even heard my childlike giggling and oofs as I bumped through the puddles because as I reached her Dorothy was in stitches. I stopped, introduced myself and chatted for a wee bit but sadly she didn’t want me to take a photo and nor did she use the internet so I am not too sure if she will come and find me one day, especially as I had forgotten my flyers, but you never know and certainly I am pleased to have provided for some entertainment for her on her walk. It was very much a delight to have met you.

Cramond Weir, also from Day 108
Cramond Weir, also from Day 108 (yesterday)

The descent through the Glen into Bridge of Allan was completely clear and with a good solid bike I let fly the brakes and with my heart in my mouth went for it. All was good until I started to approach some bollards concreted in to the path to prevent, I presume, motor vehicles of any description using the track. I had forgotten about them and was plummeting fast towards these bollards and the closer and faster I descended to them the closer they seemed to get. I slammed on the brakes with an ear splitting squeal of protest as the entire frame started to shudder to a slightly slower pace. I made it through. Guffawed nervously and then let go of the brakes again. More bollards but no incident and then the final descent in to Bridge of Allan. I went past a 30mph sign. There was a fair chance that I was going that fast or maybe even faster so I slowed a little and enjoyed the free ride on to the A9 and on through Causewayhead and into Cambuskenneth. Over the river into Riverside and onto Recykeabike. I was met with demolition signs. The road was closed. Recykeabike was getting demolished along with another industrial building by demolition! For a moment excitement and then sadness as I realised I wasn’t going to get a close up of a demolition. Not today. I asked a passing couple where recykeabike now was. It was back through Riverside, over the river past Cambuskenneth and into Causewayhead. I had just ridden right past it. As I found out the heavens opened and a torrential down pour ensued. It was one of those cartoon comedy moments of rain meant to accentuate the slightly ridiculous position in which a character now found himself. If I was wearing a hat other than a helmet it would have been a big cotton sunhat whose rim was to get floppier and floppier in the rain until it was hanging down around my face making me look faintly ridiculous and forlorn. I wasn’t looking ridiculous or forlorn but did have to gee myself up to get back on the bike and retrace my steps back to Causewayhead. It wasn’t very far at all but it was a very valuable lesson for me on the power of thought. I had thought that I had finished after a good ride and slightly tired, very wet and slightly cold it was going to take a bit of grit and mental determination to get up and going again. This was excellent training for me as I experience the odd knock back on this healing journey. I musn’t stand there looking forlorn with the rim of my hat getting floppier and floppier in the heavy disappointment but instead get back on the bike and keep fighting because I will get there eventually. In fact that is exactly what I did. I got back on the bike and ploughed through the rain to Causewayhead. It wasn’t recykeabike though. It was a bike shop. I had just cycled past Recykeabike again!! I got accurate directions this time and set off again. I wasn’t far away at all. Found it without the new signs yet visible but no door open. This was a toughy. I should have called first and was now going to have to ride the bike home again through this rain. I had promised the children that I would get them some last minute bits and pieces for their school skiing trip so had to go via the city centre first. Still it rained. Rained and rained. I mounted the bike and as I checked behind me to make sure it was clear to go I saw it. A door was open!! I ran over. The shop was closed but the mechanics were in and yes they would be delighted to take the bike. Result and even better the bus stop with buses to the city centre every 10 minutes was right outside. I thanked the old bike for looking after me so well this last few weeks, thanked the mechanics for taking her and jumped and dripped onto a bus. Straight in to Sports Direct and grabbed the bits and pieces the children needed even using one of the female shop assistants as a hand model for Heather by measuring the shop assistants fingers against my hand as I did with Heather this morning. It was quite intimate until I remarked about how relieved I was that it wasn’t a bra I was shopping for! but seemed to work a treat. We’ll find out this evening. 30 minutes spare before the bus home. Just time for a Mocha!!

Back home, despite being showered for the best part of the day I felt or smelt that I needed a shower. Then a 2 mile walk for Georgie around the woods at the back of the cricket pitch. As I squelched up the road on the way to the pitch I received a toot and a cheery wave from the lovely Lorna McLeod. Thank you Lorna that was great and lovely to see you too. Then tea time and this time a new recipe from Deliciously Ella: Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto Pasta which with Brazil Nuts, Pine Nuts, Avocados, Rocket, Fresh Basil, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Courgettes, Broccoli and Peas was a real power house of nutrients and better still – the children loved it!! And even better than that the children were happy with their bits and pieces and Heather’s gloves fitted perfectly – phew.

With the weather forecasting force eight gales for most of tomorrow with the storm upon us I think I will use the day for more admin and perhaps a rather adventurous run!

The challenge in numbers in total since the start:
Days completed: 109
Total Miles Cycled: 615
Total Miles Walked: 569.5
Total Miles Run: 30.3
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Ran and Rowed in the gym: 8.4
Total Distance Swum: 700 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.1230.9
Total Height Gained under own steam: 31,973 feet
Mountains Climbed: 5
Hills Climbed: 18
Days of Voluntary Activity: 6.5
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Curling Matches played in: 5
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 1
Weight Training Sessions: 8
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 4
Press Ups: 202
Pull Ups: 51
Sit Ups: 202
People Met and Hands Shaken: 352
Pots of tea shared: 22
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 2
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Pills popped: 474
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 726
And most important of all – Money Raised as at Day 96 – £5,802.77.

Considering I started this challenge 20 weeks ago very quietly with no target beyond a fiver, thanks to the brilliant advice from a friend of mine, I am absolutely thrilled and again thank you all. So far that is £60.44 for each and every day that I have managed to find the will and energy to do something worthwhile and my goodness it has been worth it for my peace of mind, for my healing and for the five wonderful charities you are supporting through your generosity. Long may it continue. May I also ask however that if you are not sponsoring me to please consider it for as much or as little as you can afford. My rate of revenue raising has slowed from £70.00 a day to £60.00 a day so please sponsor me and encourage your friends to as well.

Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.

If you see me around do please give a cheery hello and shake my hand or toot your horn and give a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.
Thank you

Yours aye