In full-flow on the Nihola trike contraption

I’ve just had an idea that I fancy attempting to cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in Molly’s school holidays this summer. It will be a single-handed unsupported ride as Gary (the building husband) is too busy building to come too – though he may make it to meet up with us for the odd weekend or two (as long as his undersquinted abutments are holding fast – it’s a carpentry term in case you were wondering). So it will be just me, 5 year-old Molly and 2 year 2-month-old Daisy.

I’m planning on doing it on a Circecycle Helios Tandem  which I have got from a very helpful Zaynan at Practical Cycles in Lancashire. I’ll be up front on the helm, Molly will be putting in considerable input (yes, yes, I know it’s wishful thinking) on the tandem rear and Daisy will be reclining in regal comfort in the Burley trailer that Molly and I will be trying to drag up and over hill and dale.

I don’t know how possible it is to do this ride with a rowdy assortment of tricky children attached (not very possible at all! – so I keep being told by enough people who know how I struggle at the best of times doing non-stop child care) but I’m willing to give it a whirl well aware that the likelihood of making it out of Cornwall are highly slim. On top of this I’ll also be simultaneously potty-training Daisy – so things could get interesting.

The direct route from Land’s End to John o’ Groats is about 870 miles, but by keeping off the main roads you can do it in around 1000 – which knowing the weaving winding ways I tend to go probably means I’ll do it in about 2000. When I last did the ride (23 years ago) I cycled a wheelchair-tandem and rode 1600 miles. Some people do the ride in a week, but most spend a couple of weeks over it. I managed it in 5 weeks which was quite good going for me. This time though, with offspring attached and pulling an unwieldy road-train, I’m thinking months, possibly years. But I haven’t got months or years (like I used to in my swanning-around-the-world pre-children days) – I’ve got 5 weeks of school holidays. So I may have to come back at a later date and finish it off. But I hope not as I like hitting things on the head in one fell swoop.

My idea is to raise money for Dreams Come True – a children’s charity that helps makes dreams come true for children with both life-threatening and long-term illnesses. The charity liaises, coordinates, organizes, funds and often accompanies the children – ensuring that each child has an unforgettable experience fulfilling their dream, whatever that might be – swimming with dolphins, riding a unicorn, meeting a Husky, meeting their favourite football team or visiting Disneyland or Legoland or grandparents abroad. The charity also provides vital sensory equipment, wheelchairs or specially adapted bicycles.

I hope to raise enough money to donate a Nihola trike  (like the one pictured above) to the charity which could be used to give the children a happy burst of fresh air. (Just for a bit of background: the Nihola Trike is hand-built in Copenhagen, it costs £2275 and according to the Dutch Cycle Union, is the safest child-carrying bike around). The trike will also be used for the charity’s various fundraising cycling events  such as the London to Brighton and London to Paris and the Great South Run and Great North Run.

I initially thought about cycling the End to End on my Nihola contraption as they are very fun things to ride and it would be good to ride the actual machine that I am raising money for. But I’ve decided against it for the main reason that Daisy can’t sleep in the Nihola as comfortably as she can in the Burley trailer (the trike has a bench seat, the trailer a reclining and soft hammock one).  The trike is also a lot heavier and hence a lot slower so as I’ll be traveling slow enough as it is I don’t need to be going even slower than slow – which could well be the equivalent of not moving at all.

Should anyone fancy sponsoring me, Molly and Daisy then please go to:

www.virginmoneygiving.com/dewuk

Or you can text DCTC08 followed by the amount of your donation to 70070

Eg:  DCTC08  £10  to 70070

Meanwhile,I’ve finally found my pictures of cycling in the Netherlands. Only three months late!

Welcome to the Netherlands - Molly doing a spot of early morning fresh-off-the-ferry limbering up for a day a-wheel.

More signpost posing. And it's not raining. Yet.

A short pedal from Hoek van Holland and a fat and lovely bike path all to ourselves!

Small car, big trike.

Greenhouses galore! There are a lot of cucumbers in there.

Perched with a trike on a dyke.

Wheeling past a windmill en route from Zoetermeer to Zevenhuizen.

Our small cargo of livestock didn't let us pass a playground without stopping for a play.

And so another hour passes...

Getting nowhere fast - again.

More seas of greenhouses.

More windmills.

This may look like a main road but it's another impeccable bike path - this one running alongside the A12 motorway.

Bikes in Holland come many and various.

Yet more varieties of bikes and trikes.

More trikes perched on dykes.

The wonders of Gouda.

About to be mown down by Daisy outside Gouda's City Hall.

All aboard for take off.

A Molly-matching mount.

Molly and Daisy making friends with fellow trike travellers.

Bike path nappy-changing in progress.

These Dutch have strange-looking chickens.

The very lovely North Sea sand dune cycle route.

Beach and boats.

Some fine Dutch beach-side architecture! Noordwijk aan Zee.

Do not let your dog do this!

And if it does: scoop that poop!

Daffodils and more daffodils.

A cycle path on-board tea break.

This looks promising!

Everywhere in Holland there is water.

Riding away from the ferry in a damp dawn back in Harwich.