We Made It! Nick and Ewan’s Grand Union Canal Adventure for the Neuroblastoma Society

Just to let you all know that we both successfully completed our cycle ride down the Grand Union Canal on schedule on Wednesday raising over £6,750 (plus a gift aid supplement from the Tax Man of  more than £1,200) for the Neuroblastoma Society.

If you donated, thank you for your support. We plan to keep the Just Giving page open for a few more days and will send you one last email when we know the final total.

If you have yet to donate (perhaps you thought we would not make it) this will be possible for the next few days www.justgiving.com/nick-ewan

We cycled from the start of the canal at Warwick Bar in Birmingham to the very end of the Paddington Arm. This is 140 miles of towpath and we cycled 160 miles in total between leaving from and returning to my home in Leamington Spa. We did about 45 miles on the first three days and about 25 on the last day.

We found the ride challenging, as significant sections of the towpath are hard going managing to be variously soft and dragging, bumpy, muddy and/or overgrown. The best sections are generally those through built up areas the worst in the countryside (particularly between Napton Junction and Braunston) although surprisingly the first half of the Paddington Arm in West London was very poor. On good sections we managed to average about 10-12 mph while on rougher sections we were down to less than 5 mph. The forecast had been dreadful, but the weather panned out better than we could have hoped and we only did about 5 miles in the rain including the last two miles into Paddington in torrential rain (if it had been like this for more of our trip I don’t think we would have made it).

Nick fell off his bike once and both of us came close to ending up in the canal on a couple of occasions (we declined my daughter’s suggestion than we should stage a canal plunge in Paddington for the benefit of Youtube) We did not suffer any bike problems with our specially purchased Kevlar reinforced tyres fending of the many thorns and some broken glass.

We said hello to everyone we passed on the towpath and those who passed by in boats. The response rate to our greetings feel significantly South of Berkhampstead confirming Nick’s Geordie view of unfriendly Southerners

We are now both home, aching slightly, a bit fitter and maybe a tiny bit less fat. Apart from a pint a lunchtime on the first day (which we regretted) we can confirm that the suggestions from some of you that we would stop for a beer at every pub were ill-founded and we resisted the temptation until the end of each day by which time we too tired to manage more than a couple of pints.

Thanks to all of those that supported us, particular Ewan’s wife Alison, for collecting us from Braunston at the end of the first day and returning us there the following morning, Neill Jones for meeting us at our dreadful hotel in Bletchley and taking us out to Bistro Blanc in Milton Keynes for dinner and Ewan’s daughter Iona for waiting in the pouring rain to photograph the end of our run. Also thanks to those who joined us on route or on Wednesday evening in London and us course all of you who generously donated to the Neuroblastoma Society.

You will find various photos on Nick’s blog www.nick-booth.blogspot.com

We have some thoughts of a challenge for next year, we shall see?

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