the day of the ride
Sunday 22 July 2007 - 0545
- for most people, this is an unknown time of the weekend, normally tucked
up in bed enjoying the final hours of sleep.
Not today for 58
intrepid cyclist all representing the Red Pouches.
The group gathers at
Cambridge Delivery Office to collect their bicycles, uniform and of course
their red pouches to carry their mail from London back to Cambridge.
People from all
parts of the Royal Mail in Cambridge are represented - postmen and women
from the Delivery Office, collection drivers from the Mail Centre, managers
from both sites, honorary posties joining us from other organisations,
former employees, people from Sales, staff from Saffron Walden and many
other offices, youngsters not even out of school, they're all here to make a
difference and to have a damn good time.
Sunday 22 July 2007 - 0600
- the convoy leaves Cambridge on its way to Waltham Abbey and the start.
It's an impressive sight - a 56 seater coach, three 7.5t Royal Mail lorries
and a people carrier start the hour or so journey to the starting line.
Tension is building - have we
trained enough ? Have we trained at all ? Will the bike hold up - will I
hold up ? All these thoughts run through the mind, and then we arrive.
We're quite early. There's not
many people here. Plenty of time to get ready. Unload the lorries, find my
bike and do those final adjustments to saddle and pedals.
The group is a magnificent sight
in the distance and already we can hear other cyclists commenting on the
size of the team, how good they look in their high viz waistcoats, and how
great it is that they're cycling on Royal Mail bikes.
And then we're off to Cambridge.
Here are a few personal messages
from members of the team:
It's four o'clock in the morning
and it's Sunday and I am wakened. Today's the day, when despite putting
absolutely no training in, I am going to cycle 50 miles on a bike that
weighs more than some of the competitors, has only three gears (which
didn't work Rodders!) and a very attractive helmet and high viz combo.
Am I mad, probably, did I enjoy it, not at the time, will I do it again,
I am very proud to be one of the original Red Pouches
and it was brilliant to see so many other people joining in this year.
Thanks to Alan Baldock and Chris Clingham for everything you have done
and the support you have given.
My goal next year? To train and beat Benton, in that
My main feeling taken from
Sunday's three and a half hours in the saddle was what great fun it
Yes it was a bit hilly,
especially at the beginning, and yes that Elmdon hill was like going up
Everest with a sabre tooth tiger strapped to your back, and yes there
was far too much brightly coloured lycra being warn by blokes who should
know better, but seeing 50 odd other like minded people coming together
to take part in a great event was very rewarding and I look forward to
next year with hopefully even more Royal Mail employees and friends
A special thanks to the
people behind the scenes who made the day run like clock work which I'm
sure contributed to making it so enjoyable.
Well done Alan for all
your organizing –it must have been a nightmare! It was a brilliant day – I
really enjoyed being a "Postie" for the day – lots of people waved and
smiled at me – it was great – count me in next time…..I had a super day and
really glad I took part. The organisation was excellent.
looking forward to doing the whole thing again next year,
although I hear you will not be arranging a team, never mind I can take my
own bike, ha ha, but seriously Alan, it will not be the same without you.
thank you for all your help
Thoroughly enjoyed today, will probably be aching all
over tomorrow but that's another day. If it's on next year I'm definitely up
Regards, Tony. :-)
And so you should be, well done to you, because without
you none of this would have happened.
Everything ran so smoothly from the training rides to the
transport and logistics on the day – WELL DONE ALAN, you’re a star.
Personally I had a great time –enjoyed every minute and
got quite attached to my trusty Pashley (in more ways than one) over the 4
hours 10 mins we were together.
Sorry I wasn’t there when you got back but I had my hubby
and little one to meet me and they had been hanging around for quite a while
so we headed home.
Would love a copy of the team photo so let me know when
they are available.
Hope you are recovering well and didn’t have to have the
saddle surgically removed!
Morning Squadron Leader
I feel surprisingly fine this morning and even cycled to
I just want to thank you and say how much I enjoyed the
day. You have had such a lot of organising to do. I hope everyone
appreciates all the time and effort you have put in.
Thank you for being so supportive. See you this
Well done squadron leader
It takes a lot of doing to organize so many people, you
did well. Took me 5 hrs and I enjoyed nearly every minute of it, as I'm sure
Good team to do it with. I look forward to flying with
Pippa's second piece
Thought you would like a few words from one of the non
Posties amongst the team?
"Wanting to support our local Postie Alan Baldock, I made
an unusual ’on the spur of the moment’ decision to take part in the London
to Cambridge Bike ride with colleague Lynn Tilley. It was only when I sat
back and thought about it, the whole idea of cycling 50 miles hit me. I am
fairly fit and jog and visit the gym, but have rarely cycled further than
round my village or into Cambridge from the Park and Ride!
Not deterred though, I
set about gearing up my trusty mountain bike with road tyres, a pump and a
water bottle and nervously set off with a group of professional looking
riders on sleek racing bikes on the first training session of 15 miles –I
somehow survived. Since then I caught the bug and never looked back and
became a regular on the training rides on a Saturday evening (that’s
dedication for you) to ride ever increasing distances and ever increasing
hills. One very memorable 30 mile ride encompassed a broken bike chain, an
overhead electric storm, flash flooding which killed off my mobile phone and
a dire need for a beer and a long hot Radox bath!
However all the training paid off as I had a really great
day with a lovely bunch of people and finished the 50 mile ride (and 17
hills) in just over 4 hours on a Post Office Bike complete with post in the
basket on the front.
My best and fondest experience of all of this though was
the privilege of getting to know Alan who is an absolute star and an asset
to the Post Office. He is great at his job, he is lovely with people he is
fun and entertaining and his unrelenting enthusiasm is unsurpassed. If you
need me to ride for you again Alan, I would be honoured to be a Postie again
for the day"
Marketing Manager, Peters Elworthy & Moore
Thanks to everyone involved in organising Sundays London
- Cambridge bike ride it was a really good day, we didn't have to worry
about anything we just had to turn up on the day at 6.00am and transport for
us and our bikes was taken care off.
I would particlarly like to thank Alan who also gave up a
lot of time at weekends taking groups of us out to practice, I would have
really struggled without the practice rides. My son Tom and I had a great
day the weather couldn't have been kinder and we were both delighted to
finish the course in one piece and raise some money for charity.
Cambridge Electronic Design Limited
Just a quick line to say how
much I enjoyed the London to Cambridge Bike ride this Sunday.
I thought it was a very well
organised event and everyone involved, be it organisers, marshals or
riders had a smile on their faces, those of the red pouches turning to
grimaces after about 20 miles!
I was also pleasantly
surprised at the welcoming reception upon crossing the finish line and
the refreshments and entertainment provided.
Alan Baldock deserves a
special mention as without his tireless efforts there would have been a
significantly smaller presence of Royal Mail red pouches.
I also wish to thank
yourself for your commitment to the cause and for supporting the process
throughout, until its eventual conclusion with the photo call.
Tony's take 2
I can't remember if it was in March or April, on
either a 1st Aid refresher day or Competition training day, that the
London to CB bike ride was first mentioned to me. At the time i said
yeah why not, it's all for charity etc, so i put my name forward to Sqdn
Now as time went on i thought no more about it until
I got the e-mails from Sqdn Ldr about the training rides, I ride a bike
every day on delivery & think that I'm reasonably fit, but for one
reason or another i couldn't make the training rides.
As the day drew near i began to think was this really
a smart idea or not but i was still up for it, i was just going to take
it easy on the day & take as long as it takes.
Sunday 22 July, Alarm went off at 4.30,must be mad on
a day off, got myself sorted, just after 5.00 left home & drove into CB,
picking up Angela on the way. Arrived at P.D.O at about 6.00 & got on
the coach with everyone else, felt really positive, but still had the
thought that are better things to do on a day off.
Arrived at Lea Valley Park just after 7.00 & couldn't
believe how many people were there already, said hi to Chris Clingham,
Esther (from Ware P.D.O.), got my bike, had the photo's taken & at about
7.50 headed off to CB.
Phil (Saffron Walden) Angela (Quy) & myself rode
together, although at first i went flying off, after about 40 mins I got
a phone call saying that Angela had a puncture & was walking to the 1st
repair point at Roydon. We stopped there to get it fixed & while waiting
Sqdn Ldr pulled in & swapped bikes with Angela so that she could carry
on & he would wait for her bike to be repaired very nice man!!)
Apart from that we had a very enjoyable journey back,
scenery is beautiful, the camaraderie is GREAT from all the other riders
& the public cheering you on from the roadside.
All told it took us 5 hours at a leisurely pace, with
a few stops for food& drink & the feeling you get when you get back to
Midsummer common, with the crowd cheering you on is brilliant. If this
event is organised next year i will definitely be up for it & would
recommend it to anyone,
Thanks once again Sqdn Ldr for your hard work in
organising this event,
Regards, Tony Watkins.
Dear Mr Clingham
I am one of people who joined your Royal Mail staff on
the 22nd to do the London to Cambridge Bike Ride.
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the day and how I
appreciated the support given by Alan Baldock during the training sessions
and on the actual day of the ride. Alan has kept in touch with us by email,
phone and on his visits to collect our mail and seems to have endless energy
I agreed to do the ride in a rash moment. I have a friend
suffering from breast cancer so it didn't take much persuasion, from Alan,
for me to agree to do the ride. It was then that I thought about the fifty
However, I was determined to succeed and enjoyed the
preparatory trips and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the ride on the
I would just like to say what an impressive "Squadron
Leader" we have had over the last few months and on behalf of Peters
Elworthy & Moore I would like to say what a fantastic Postman Alan has been
during all the time he has been coming to PEM.
Lynn C Tilley
Office Manager, Peters Elworthy
& Moore, Chartered Accountants, Salisbury House, Station Road, Cambridge CB1
2LA Tel (01223) 728222 Fax (01223) 461424