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Landsend to Maidstone

In my working life, my last employer was Kent Police. In conversations with
those around me I told them of my coaching and experience of organising
support for riders wanting to ride long distance rides, so I was not phased
when I was approached to help out on a sponsored cycle ride for the British
Heart Foundation. The goal was to ride from Lands End to Maidstone
during the week leading up to 13th August, 1983. It transpired that 8 police
personnel were intending to ride from Lands End to Maidstone, finishing the
ride during the Police Open Day police HQ, Maidstone. The assistance they
needed was in form of some coaching and training guidance, taking into
consideration these lads, who comprised of 1 cyclist, 5 long distance/cross
country runners and 2 who didn’t even own a bike. Quite a daunting task,
but over a period of 4 months I gave advice and help covering clothing, training,
eating, drinking, recovery rides and route planning, all made it safe and sound
albeit a little sore in places unmentionable. Tony volunteered to support the
goal but decided not to spread the ride over 4½ days scheduled by the police
officers, to complete the task in one ride.

Once I was confident that all the police personnel were as well equipped as
possible, I left them to organise their own accommodation and left them to
their own devices. Clearly we only needed to cater for one overnight stay.

We prepared for the journey much as for a 12 hour, stocking the car up with
the usual mobile food supplies for Tony together with quick, easily eaten food
and drink for us, the helpers, (Claire and myself), as well as clothing, lights,
spare wheels etc and a spare bike just in case. We gathered lots of pledges
which was a good incentive to ensure we made the journey in good time.

The drive down to Cornwall on Thursday made me realise just how hard the
return trip was going to be – the lumpy hills from Surrey to Dorset, the wide
open roads of the Salisbury plain area leading to the mountains of Devon
and Cornwall. We shouted ‘abuse’ to ‘our’ policemen when we crossed with
them at Crewkerne – after a quick chat they all seemed happy, riding well

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