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The Gold Post Box Cycle Blog

Golden Post Boxes

T-1 day  

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7









After the boxless day 21, we had two boxes to find first thing.  But first, it was breakfast thanks to Alexa and Russell, who'd been great hosts and made sure we were well fed before we left (and Lucas returned 5 minutes later to get his phone!)  Ten minutes cycling and we hit Hanover Street in central Edinburgh and Sir Chris Hoy's Gold Post Box for his Men's Team Sprint gold.  Up the hill and his second box marks his Kierin cycling gold medal - the record breaking sixth gold that made him GB's most successful Olympian.  On route we got great views of the Castle and city before heading down the Royal Mile to Meadowbank Sainsburys, who supplied food for the day whilst we canvassed for more donations, many thanks to the store.


Edinburgh was our sixth and final capital of the trip and now also means Lucas has cycled and run in five of them (Douglas the only one he has yet to run in).  We headed out of the city via Holyrood Park and on over the Southern Uplands to Peebles.  There was some steady climbing meaning we timed our arrival just as the local Beltane festival was in full flow.  This meant we had to push our bikes through crowds for quarter of a mile to reach the box and then struggled to get the usual picture due to the crowds! The festival is of local legend, history and tradition. Beltane is a festival that marks the return of summer with the lighting of fires; where people could burn their winter bedding and floor coverings, ready to be replaced afresh. Referred to as a Gaelic ceremony, this type of festival has been celebrated for thousands of years throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. 


Day 22 - Edinburgh to Jarrow (Edinburgh, Southern Uplands & Northumbria)

Beltane done and after a cup of tea, we carried on down the valley of the River Tweed to Hawick - a larger section than intended as Lucas misread his split of miles on the route plan - so we did 33 not 22!  But it got us to lunch and near enough half the mileage done. So much so, unusually Chris felt de-energised and proved he's not a robot! Lunch in a supermarket car park before carrying on the trek over the Southern Uplands and then Cheviot Hills to cross the border from Scotland to England.  It was a long route and involved a lot of long slow hill climbs.  Another lengthy section without a break from the Keilder Forest to Ponteland in which Chris headed off at his own pace (having had a fresh energy surge) and Lucas finally had a boast with 15 miles still to go.  The scenery is impressive but yet crossing Northumberland on the A696 is not exciting when on your own as it's fairly sparse.  

The good thing was there were no issues with lorries or buses following us up hills or through traffic lights whereby Lucas feels under pressure to speed up to enable them to get through - and usually over powers his legs!


We had a tea break at Ponteland and on checking twitter, Lucas was chuffed to bits to have not only had Sir Chris Hoy retweet his box pic but also sent a tweet stating "keep it going".  Our biggest retweet and response (and quite frankly unbeatable for London 2012 gold medallists!) A much needed boast after the tough cycle.

Back to the road and a short trip into Newcastle upon Tyne for venue 27 - football in the Olympics at St James Park.  Then over the Tyne Bridge and into Jarrow for the final box of the day - Young Sports Personality of the Year 2012 and Paralympic world record breaking gold medallist, Josef Craig for swimming Men's 400m Freestyle - S7 at the age of just 15. Josef was in Manchester with Team GB and unable to meet us.  We reached his box having covered over 130 miles for the day at gone 10pm.  Pete, who was doing his final day as support, never made the box but did go through the Tyne Tunnel 3 times for reasons best left untold! A short ride up the road to our hosts for the night, Sherdian and Ged Dixon. We were warmly welcomed and well fed and watered despite the late arrival.


We must thank Pete Meagor and Morphed landscapes, one of our main sponsors, for his support over the 5 days travelling round Scotland as well as a day in Hampshire and a day cycling on day 2.  Pete has done a great job, even though he hates city driving!  But he has enjoyed his first trip to Scotland and taken some great pictures.


Day 25 - Macclesfield to Mount Tabor (The Pennines)

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Day 26 - Mount Tabor to Newark on Trent (Leeds, Sheffield and Nottinghamshire)

Above: With Helen Hynd at her son’s box in Kirkby in Ashfield

Right: With Gerry and Tony in Headingley

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 23 - Jarrow to Oxenhope (County Durham and Yorkshire Dales)

The warm welcome from Sheridan and Ged Dixon extended over breakfast, with Chris also spending some time with Sheridan's father, Ray, who has Pulmonary Fibrosis.  He was very interested in what we are doing.  We said farewell to our support for five days, Pete Meagor, and were greeted on arrival of day 22 support - our youngest driver for the event, Theo Brace (18 years old).  Lucas dealt with a plethora of emails etc before they left bound for Ingleby Barwick.  Only 5 miles out and Lucas took a turn into Newcastle city centre and then thought he'd lost his phone - to find it in the bottom of the pannier.  Re routed back to the correct course, took a slow plod near Coxhoe due to workmen laying loose chippings, and eventually made Stockton on Tees (with a stop during which Lucas' speedo got knocked out of line again!) and a warm welcome at the Sainsbury's store, thanks to Peter Harris for organising.  A similar message of support was received at Sainsbury's in Yarm by Steve Anstay and between them lunch etc was provided for the day.  


In Stockton we were also joined by Ian Howse, a friend of Lucas', who cycled to the box in Ingleby Barwick, where the Town Mayor, Phil English, alongside the town clerk, Paula, greeted them along with a group of local residents.   A lovely reception and included John McGee, who asked to cycle with us to Northallerton.  We were happy to have an extra as it meant, with Ian's help since Stockton on Tees Sainsbury's, Lucas had 20 miles off navigation duty.  John took us to Northallerton on a different route which worked brilliantly and gave us some speed too.  (No doubt also motivated by lunch, provided thanks to the aforementioned Sainsbury's stores).


The second half of the day took us on over the Yorkshire Dales, as we began to climb again from Masham.  We also saw plenty of Tour de France Grand Départ evidence as the area became covered with bunting and yellow bikes as we passed through some of the route where it starts on 5 July.  However, the route doesn't go through Pateley Bridge and up the very steep Greenhow Hill that we did take (after dropping down a very steep hill into the town and the Nidd Valley).  This is the hardest hill we have climbed so far and Chris was down to his bottom gear - which is very rare! We finally got to the village of Hebden and located the "newest" gold post box, for Andrew Trigg Hodge's gold medal in the cycling Men's Four rowing.  By newest we mean that it is a brand new post box and the new plague has yet to be fitted. Whilst there Theo rang through to confirm our eta at our accommodation.  A confused message about "him" having a fall but his daughter was there came through.  Then a call back and a voicemail about the carer arriving in the morning.  We had a further think on the mixed message and Lucas checked the number they had to discover he'd transposed two digits.  As a result some poor chap in Keighley area thought Theo was confirming the arrival of the carer!!  Problem solved and correct people called, we carried on our way!




We headed to Skipton and from Grassington the route took the road that will be part of the Tour de France route on 5 July, given us a sense of what they will see - but at a more sedate pace.  Through to Skipton and our final box of the day for Paralympic Archery gold medallist, Danielle Brown (Women's Individual Compound).  It was then onto Oxenhope, near Keighley, for our overnight stop.  This was a challenge to reach as we had a climb to Oakworth from Keighley, then dropped into the valley to climb into Haworth, dropped again then climbed to get onto the road for Oxenhope, which had a further climb to the village. Unusually, Chris was burnt out as we headed over the hills - the Dales had beaten him.  Once there and given it was dark and we were out in the dales still, we finally found the gates to lead up the drive to our accommodation by Lee Shaw Reservoir. We greeted Mick and Fran Shaw, who had already hosted Theo and unloaded the support car.  At 11pm, we were pleased to arrive and their hospitality was very welcome. Our thanks to Theo for his support, as he headed off back home (having already been fed) but after showering and food, it was bed and no blog - Lucas was a bit too tired!

Day 24- Oxenhope to Macclesfield (Lancashire and Cheshire)

Breakfast and Lucas fired off more Press release emails before the support crew for the day arrived in the stunning valley we were staying in (not noted last night).  Ange and Paul (Lucas' sister and husband) and friend, Lesley Boyle were support plus Ali Hall joined us cycling.  Ali cycled West to Eats with us in 2012.  We thanked our excellent hosts, Mick and Fran, and headed on out of the valley over some tough climbs to drop to Colne and the first box of the day - Steven Burke's Olympic gold in cycling Men's Team Pursuit.  We were also welcomed by local council staff, which was much appreciated.  The day was another warm one and with several stops due we headed on for Chorley.


The route was more undulating than expected with some climbing through the valley to Blackburn before heading on to Chorley where our second box of the day was one of two for Bradley Wiggin's Cycling time trail gold.  Finding Chorley's box was a mission as Lucas had info for Market Street, Adlington, Chorley - 2 miles down the road, and then when we got to Chorley, we seemed unable to find market street - finally pushing our bikes to it due to pedestrian zones and one way systems.


A few miles down the road to the Eccleston box, where Lucas' friend, Alex Newton, met us with Eccles cakes (seemed appropriate for Eccleston!).  We also got our provisions for the co-located Sainsbury's Local.  No sign of Mr Wiggins though, just very warm weather!  On the way to Bolton, we made our tenth and last crossing of the LEJOG route taken in 2011 - in Aspull, before arriving in Bolton and lunch.  Jason Kenny's two boxes are in central Bolton, for his cycling gold's in the Men's Team Sprint and Men's Individual sprint.  We did one box either side of lunch - eaten in the shade of the car park.  


It was then a short, but busy, cycle to Leigh (busy in terms of traffic) where our only non cycling related box of the day awaited us for Paralympic swimmer, Heather Frederikson's gold in 100m backstroke S8. The route then became even more urbanised - making us realise how spoilt we'd been with wonderful countryside and quieter roads for the previous week, as we headed into Eccles.  On route, a huge lorry tooted and was very close to Lucas as he passed - so Lucas noted the company and registration mark to complain about his dangerous driving. In fairness, lorry drivers are usually pretty good when passing bikes and we  had several tail backs as they've waited to pass safely. Eccles was the first of Dame Sarah Storey's four boxes - this one for her women's C5 time trial.  It was then to Manchester centre and Philip Hindes box for the cycling Team sprint and in Piccadilly Gardens the box which is for British cycling's overall success at both games.  In between, we routed to our final venue of the trip - Old Trafford, where football took place.  Paul is a big Manchester United fan and was busy taking pictures of everything, whilst Lucas got a bit shot tempered as he wanted to get the tweet picture done and head on!  A note of thanks to Paul for the pictures he took (not of Man Utd's ground!) and his help in getting PR contacts through the trip.

Ali had cycled throughout this period, but the difficult decision was made that we needed to gain some pace for the last few stops - but Ali had done brilliantly on a tough day - as much with hills as with urban cycling and we loved having her for company. Chris and Lucas then belted down to Wilmslow and Craig McLean's box for his Paralympic gold in cycling Men's track B as the guide cyclist.  We had swopped two boxes round her as Craig had agreed to meet us - though not before Chris nearly came off his bike on the final roundabout as his gears jumped and he thankfully carried on forwards, albeit with some pain in the nether regions! Craig turned up in full gear and was great - he brought along his gold medal and also a t-shirt for us to auction off for our charities.  The support team (when they caught us up having had to repack the car to get Ali in!) were also delighted to see and hold a London 2012 medal.  Craig was also a silver medallists in the team pursuit in Sydney with Sir Chris Hoy and will be competing at the Commonwealth Games in July.  We are very grateful for his support - especially given it was 9pm by the time we arrived!


Two boxes left and we headed up to Poynton and Dame Sarah Storey's second box - this one marking her Individual C4-5 500m Time Trial before the final stop of the day in Macclesfield for her individual C4-5 road race. We created some intrigue with the Pizza Express staff here as we knocked on the glass of the restaurant to ask if they'd take a picture - once we got their attention and they realised we weren't burglars! In Poynton we missed on a welcome by the Mayor due to the time of arrival.

The day ended a mile up the road at Ange & Paul's home for the night's stay.  Lesley and Ali headed home - shattered but much appreciated their support over the day. Paul passed out almost on walking in the door whilst we ate and switched off before bed - one night Lucas didn't even attempt the blog before sleep!


Clockwise from top left:

Farewell to Pete after 5 days support in Scotland;

An unplanned passing of the Angel of the North;

Cycling towards the Yorkshire Dales;

With Ian Howse at Ungleby Barwick box;

John Mcgee, our unexpected guest cyclist, in Northallerton;

John and Chris cycle through Yorkshire villages;

Lucas and Chris on the open road;

Lucas tweets from another post box;

At Hebden - the newest box of the tour;

(Bottom right corner and bottom upper) Cycling Tour De France route;

The view over the Yorkshire Dales before Patelely Bridge;

At the Skipton post box;

With Theo, support for day 23;

With Ged and Sheridan, hosts in Jarrow

Above: With Craig MacLean at his Wilmslow box and his Paralympic Gold medal

Below: With Mick & Fran and the cat by Lea Reservoir;

The support car is ready for day 24;

At the Colne box with Dorothy of the Town Council

Above: With Lee Pearson in Bagnell

Below: Kerry at Lee’s premises and Lucas races Lee’s horse to the box


More to follow

With over 20 miles still left from day 25 to complete, our support crew arrived at 7:30.  Helen Storr and Jacqui Dickinson had the unenviable task of support on the penultimate day - nearly there but not quite but two tired, and in Lucas' case, potentially ratty, cyclists!  Our overnight hosts, Gerry and Tony, could not have been more helpful - sending us off with a packed lunch and Tony drove us back to Halifax whilst Helen and Jacqui loaded the car to head to the first box.

In fact it was Mount Tabor, a village on the north side of Halifax where we started from - and we collected our bikes and rack from the pub that kindly let us leave them there overnight (The New Inn).  Tony then headed to Horsforth and would meet us there to cycle with us on the section through the Leeds area.  We set off at 9am, and were instantly given more challenging hills as we dipped and rose to Queensbury, Bradford and Rawdon, where our first box of the day was to celebrate David Stone's Paralympic Gold medal in Cycling: Mixed T 1-2 Road Race.  Here, Tony joined us and cycled to the next the next two boxes with us.  As he was local, he took the lead too - leaving Lucas at the back as he cycled off at some pace!


Horsforth's box is near Tony's Pet Shop, so we were provided tea after we had reached the box, which is for Alistair Brownlee's Triathlon gold - one that Lucas saw first hand in Hyde Park.  Tea drunk, we carried on down into Leeds City Centre and Nicola Adams post box(es) on Cookridge Street - celebrating her historic Olympic gold in Women's Boxing flyweight. Nicola retweeted later in the day too.  Whilst there we generated quite a bit of interest from passersby and a local homeless man who accused us of stealing his patch!  An interesting moral and social debate about begging versus cycling 3,000 miles for charity could have ensued but we merely informed him we wouldn't be long.  And by box(es) it is because there are two boxes in the same location, box gold - one being a square franked mail post box - the only one we have seen that's gold.


Tony parted from us here so Lucas was back to navigating (ironically he knew from Horsforth to Leeds anyhow from travelling through to uni).  The next stop was Sheffield, 35 miles down the road.  We had planned to take a break around Barnsley but somehow missed the support car and by the time they caught us up we decided we'd just get to Sheffield and have lunch.  This was the downside of a lot of urbanisation along the A61.  The road was also very undulating with few levels, so quite a challenging section and Lucas had forgotten how hilly Sheffield was with three big hills to master in the city to reach the City Hall and Jesscia Ennis-Hill's box marking her Heptathlon gold on Super Saturday. With a central location, it worked well for lunch and generated some passing interest.  Apologies to those who came down before we got there and missed us.





Day 27 - Newark on Trent to Kingston upon Hull (Lincolnshire and Kingston upon Hull)

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Sheffield didn't get any easier as we left and had a very long hard climb out of the city to Arbourthorne before more undulating roads through to Mansfield.  This included ending up on the A617 dual carriageway for 2.5 miles in rush hour due to a road closure.  In Mansfield we were given a warm welcome at the Sainsbury's store, who provided us with more refreshments and Jacqui and Helen had been collecting donations whilst waiting for us.  Many thanks to Becky Hayes, who sorted it all, and to the deputy store manager, Gary, and his staff for the posters and welcome.  It was much needed as we were struggling with motivation today as we had had enough of hill climbing.


A few miles down the road to Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Ollie Hynd's post box for his Paralympic swimming gold in Men's 100m backstroke S8.  Ollie's Mum, Helen Hynd, came out to meet us with not only Ollie's gold medal, but also his silver and bronze.  Ollie's brother, Sam, also won a medal in London, asking them the first siblings to do so in Paralympic swimming.  Ollie was in Manchester training for the Commonwealth Games, but we had a lovely chat with Helen, who talked of how the swimming had turned things round for Ollie and how ParalympicsGB had been crucial in helping things happen. Ollie hopes to be in Rio, with Sam.  Helen also purchased one of our mugs that we had produced for the tea stops - we will be selling them after we finish if anyone else is interested!


One box left for the day and it was off to Lowdham - with a headwind picking up as the hills finally started to disappear - although we had one nasty one out of Calverton.  Today also seemed to be the day for close shaves with vehicles, with several overtaking far too closely and Lucas also being in the wrong turning right at a junction in Leeds oblivious to the fact of an oncoming car as he was focused on getting going with a hill start - giving Helen and Jacqui palpitations in the support car just behind! But, no incidents actually occurred and we arrived in Lowdham in and our 109th box - Paralympic gold medallist, Richard Whitehead - 200m T42.  13 miles left and we made it to Newark on Trent, where we were hosted for the night by Ruby & Garry Beech, who fed and watered us, despite only returning from holiday the day before.  Just 67 miles left!  


Many thanks to Helen and Jacqui for coping with us on a day we found mentally draining.  With Chris' chain giving him some concern's and Chris even stating he wasn't feeling very motivated much of the day, (which is unheard of) we appreciated their support along the route - and loved Helen's Mum's lemon drizzle cake!

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Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Epilogue



Above: Chris does some bike maintenance before setting off

Below: With Alex & Russell, hosts for day 21/22

Above and below: Sir Chris Hoy’s gold medal boxes in Edinburgh

Below: The long and lonely road ove through Northumbria

Clockwise from top left:

Lucas & Chris cycling through the Southern Uplands;

At Scott Brash’s box in Peebles;

Baltene in Peebles;

Chris battles the crowds with his bike by foot in Peebles;

Pete does the same with the bucket;


Views over the Tweed valley;


The river Tweed;


St James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne;


Approaching the Tyne Bridge;


Josef Craig’s box in Jarrow





Left: View of Arthur’s Seat from Meadowbank Sainsburys in Edinburgh

Above: The party that welcomed us at Ingleby Barwick

Below: A warm welcome at Sainbury’s, Stockton on Tees

Lucas' updated blog from two days hence before breakfast and the arrival of Kerry Tankard, our support for the day.  Ange provided breakfast before the smallest car of the support team was loaded - a Ford Fiesta - this included items that had been left in Cheshire when we'd diverted to the Isle of Man.


First stop was Bagnell, after a slightly different route to planned having missed a turn.  On arrival in Bagnell. we were greeted not only by Kerry but also Lee Pearson, the Equestrian multi medallist who won Paralympic gold : Mixed Individual Championship Test - Grade Ib.  Lee greeted us in full gear on his horse and was great - inviting us to his home for a cup of tea and showing us his stables where he has 7 horses and his collection of medals from Sydney, Athens and Beijing as well as London Paralympic games.  Lee was inspired watching the Atlanta games in 1996 and has become one of the most decorated British Paralympians.  He also has been awarded an OBE, CBE and MBE. Despite all this, he was very down to earth about it all and very supportive of what we are doing. Thanks to Lee for his time.


From there we headed back up the steep climb and on to Leek where Anna Watkins Olympic gold was reflected in her post box for rowing women's double skulls. A Games Maker, Pattie Tunnicliffe, met us at the box as did a local reporter and, by chance, the town mayor passed by and wished us well.  The box duties done, Lucas popped to the nearby cycle shop to have his back wheel checked as it had been rattling since Pateley Bridge, some 150 miles before.  It turned out it was a second buckled wheel, and a further hours delay ensued as we waited for it to be fixed.  Upon completion, we finally headed off for Chapel-en-le-Frith via Buxton and a steep long climb over the Pennines, with Kerry at the top of the hills to take pictures and admire the views! In Buxton we acquired lunch thanks to Sainsbury's and as we entered Chapel-en-le-Frith it started to rain for the first time in a while.  We got photo's at the box - which is for Anthony Kappes cycling Paralympic gold Men's Individual B Sprint.  We then had shelter in the nearby cafe, which is part of Kerry's Methodist Church Circuit, as we ate lunch.


The rain was still going after lunch so wet weather gear went on as we headed to Disley where two boxes awaited us for the Storey's.  Box 99 was Dame Sarah Storey's final box for her Paralympic gold for cycling C5 pursuit and just up the road we reached our 100th box - Barney Storey's Paralympic gold in 1km B Individual Time trial (cycling) as guide cyclist. It was then on up the hills towards Huddersfield, which involved three big climbs - the third one being over Home Moss to Holmfirth - one that features in the Tour De France on 6 July.  This also meant we cycled along more of the route as we dropped down into the town and into Huddersfield, where Ed Clancy's box was well hidden in scaffolding.  Ed's gold was in the cycling men's team pursuit.  We also had one of the oddest overtaking incidents in Glossop on route top this box as a VW Beetle driver attempted to pass us near traffic lights directly into oncoming traffic! We carried on and left the car and the van facing her to decide what to do (no collision happened though).  


A further hill climb out of Huddersfield and lovely downhill drop to Halifax, with a climb back into the town and the first of Hannah Cockcroft's boxes - in the town centre for her 100m T34 Paralympic gold.  It was then that we realised we were going to have to look at stopping short of the planned finish that night.  We considered the option as we took the 4 mile climb up to Mount Tabor, a village on the north of the town, where Hannah's second gold post box is in a house (an old post office) for her 200, T34 victory. Hannah sent us a good luck message on twitter and would have joined us had she been in the UK. Having tweeted our arrival at the box, we reviewed our options and having seen the two valleys to cross to Bradford decided we'd stop there and return in the morning.  


As we deliberated over our options, we decided to see if the neighbouring pub would let us leave our bikes there for the night to save transporting them to and from Leeds, where we were to stay. The New Inn pub was most helpful and with the bikes safe, we headed to Headingley, Leeds in Kerry's car - once sat nav decided how to get us there.  This was another incident of sat nav proving it doesn't avoid wrong turns etc as we have found with all our support drivers getting lost with or without it at some point. We did finally make it to Headingley, not far from where Lucas is a student at Leeds Met University, to stay with Gerry and Tony Danson.  They were very welcoming, with plenty of food and tea on offer.  Fed and watered, we'd thanked Kerry, who was staying locally with a friend, before we both headed to bed.



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Above: Arrival at first box of the day in Colne

Top left: With support crew at the end of the day

Above: Ange & lesy at the Leigh box

Top right: Departure in Colne

Right: Ali has a cuppa in Chorley;

Left: Pizza Express staff and the box oytside in Macclesfield



Right: Ali & Chris & Lucas on route to Chroley outside of Blackburn



Left: Chris arrives in Poynton













Left: At the Poynton box




Right: At the box in Chorley






Left: Chatting with Craig MacLean




Right: Sir Bradley Wiggins Eccleston Box







Left: Chris & Lucas with a gold medal


Right: Alex Newton supports in Eccleston


Left: Craig MacLean shows his medals to Ali & Lesley


Right: Lunchtime in Bolton car park








Left: At Old Trafford, the final venue


Right: The trio cycle through the urbanised North west






Left: The Piccadily Gardens British cycling box in Manchester





Right: Lucas, Ali & Chris in motion




Left: The Albert Square box - Philip Hindes, Manchester






Left: Ange & Paul do a box pose


Below left: At the box in Leigh


Below: Dame Sarah Stoprey’s Eccles box

Below right: Jason Kenny’s second Bolton box

Clockwise from top left:

View climbing the Pennines;

Chris & Lucas hill climbing;

Anna Watkins box in Leek;

Dame Sarah Storey’s 4th box, Disley;

Box 100 - Barney Storey’s box in Disley;

Views cycling over hills near Glossop;

Bottom four: Near the top of the pass from Woodhead to Holmfirth where the Tour de France day 2 cycles;


At the box in Chapel en le Frith;

Kerry taking pictures;

Hannah Cockroft’s box in Haliax centre;


Ed Clancy’s hidden box in Huddersfield;

With Kerry ending day 25 at Hannah Cockcroft’s second box in Mount Tabor


Above: Lee dismounts his horse

Below/right: Lee’s Honours and London 2012 medals

Above: With Tony at Alistair Brownlee’s box in Horsforth

Below: Nicola Adam’s box in Leeds

Above: The pub who looked after our bikes

Right: At the box in Rawdon

Above Left: On the road to Sheffield

Above: Royal Mail empty the box in Sheffield

Left: On the road out of Lowdham


Above right: Lunch in Sheffield - Lucas on the phone as usual!

Right: Jessica Ennis-Hill’s box ion Sheffield


Left: At Richard Whitehead’s box in Lowdham

Right: A warm welcome from Mansfield Sainsbury’s

Below: Jacqui and Helen, day 26 support, at Olie Kynd’s box with his medals

Below left: The deluge of our goods in Ruby & Garry’s house

The Epilogue

Although we had a later start for the final day, Lucas was still up at 7:30am to catch up on the blog.  It was going well until the web programme crashed (again) and cycling time was due! In the meantime, Chris had popped to a nearby cycle shop to get his chain checked out as it was giving him some problems. Unable to get it fixed due to the nature of the problem (chain and cogs worn) and a lack of time, he was advised to minimise gear changes,  Thankfully, the route was pretty flat for the day so made that possible.

Our final support team arrived at 10am - Paul Sorfleet and Phil Reese had travelled down from Beverley/Kingston upon Hull to keep the morale going for one last day.  The car loaded, we headed off with a thanks and farewell to Garry (Ruby had headed to work) with a wrong turn straight away as we ended up on the A17 and missed Coddington! This didn't impact on mileage just a busier road.  We followed the route up to Lincoln - Lucas having another moan at a driver unable to use their indicators at a roundabout on route to a Sainsbury's stop for a final supply of lunch - and were greeted by the store manager and staff who wished us well for the final leg. (We nearly met a director but he was in a meeting).  We were also joined by Gordy Balfour, who cycled with us up to the finish - the longest he'd ever cycled.  (Reference indicators - please use them as pedestrians and cyclists need to know car movements as well as other drivers even when you think the road looks clear!)


It wasn't too far to the last Paralympian's box, at the top of the hill in Lincoln.  The only hexagonal box on the trip, which celebrated Sophie Wells gold in Equestrian Mixed Individual Championship Test - Grade IV.  A cup of tea and then on our way north. The route took us up the B road parallel with the A15 to Kirton in Lindsay where we had our lunch.  We had been fortunate with a bright warm day to conclude, the only downfall was a headwind.  We also gave Gordy a good run for his money as he queried if the pace we'd done was our sedate pace he'd hate to be with us any other day.


We continued up to Barton upon Humber, with a final last significant hill to cross the A15 and our first sighting of the Humber Bridge. Lucas paused to tweet and update Facebook on the impending approach before a final tea stop at Barton (which Gordy found staggering how much tea we could drink!) As we made our way onto the Humber Bridge, we found the east side cycle path closed so made a sharp u-turn at which point Gordy fell off his bike as his feet are clipped in and he needed to know he was going to stop.  Chris and Lucas were just amused by the slow motion fall and the fact Gordy announced he was going to fall off.  Gordy righted and onto the Humber Bridge - our final major landmark and we collected Phil from the support team on the north bank of the Humber who joined us to cycle the final few miles to the end.


Our penultimate stop was Sainsbury's Hull - the main store where Lucas had spent 9 hours on an exercise bike with them in March and gave an opportunity for Lucas and Chris to thank Jane Richardson from the store, who'd been co-ordinating the support around the country.  The store gave us a very warm welcome as we entered the car park - distracting Lucas who nearly got squashed by a reversing car!  It was then onto Hessle Road, Kingston upon Hull and the final box.  The surreal fact that we were finishing 27 days cycling was hard to grasp, but as we arrived at the box we were greeted by a large group and applause - a lovely welcome and end to the journey.  Box 111 - Luke Campbell's Boxing Gold in Bantamweight at the Olympics.  

We didn't seem to leave the box for a further twenty minutes as photo's galore ensued, including the local Hull Daily Mail.   The nearby Sainsbury's local had a tombola adding funds to the pot and amongst those present at the end were Chris's Dad, Steve, who'd driven up from Bristol especially to see Chris finish - a very proud Dad, and Pam Atkins, Mike Atkins widow, to whom Lucas had dedicated the ride after his sudden passing the eve of the cycle.  No sign of Luke Campbell though.


Photo's concluded and tombola drawn, we had to cycle a further 4 miles to Lucas' home, unload the support car one final time, shower and then head to Bodyfixed for complementary massages.  That in itself was easier said than done, as when we went to collect Lucas' car it had a flat battery! We took a taxi and after discovering how much lactic acid there was in our legs, thanks to Jamie Barrington and Bodyfixed for helping us begin to relax.  Food for evening was a restaurant in the centre of Kingston upon Hull - the bizarreness being we walked more than 50 metres for the first time in 4 weeks and it was only the two of us eating!  Back to Lucas'; for a celebratory glass of wine before Lucas finally got some backdated blog's online and we passed out.  But there's one final blog to follow!




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Whilst the cycling was over, the day after we finished still kept us busy.  We both slept til late - though Lucas was up first, unusually, and playing catch up on the blog in between relocating his living room under bags of food, t-shirts, bikes and more. With rain outside, we relocated to the dining room for the afternoon, where we sorted stuff out, ate much of the same as the previous four weeks and commenced writing thank yous to various people as well as reviewing what we had done.


Over the course of our trip we had recorded various bits of information and statistics and thought this would be a great time to share them.  We will never be sure of the final mileage we cycled due to the odometer resetting most days, but we did an estimated 2951  - Lucas did 19 less as he never cycled Ballymena to Larne.  Given our estimated mileage was 2994 and we missed over 100 miles due to the time factors on day 9, 10 and 14, we made up a lot of it elsewhere.  Of the 648 hours we were on route, 54.5% of the time was spent either cycling or in transit between overnight accommodation (i.e. ferries, cars etc).  We spent 321.5 hours on the bikes in total (inclusive of stops) just shy of 12 hours a day.  Lucas averaged under 5 hours sleep a night - the least being 3 hours one night!

We owe thanks to 85 people for their support through the support team each day or/and overnight accommodation and cycling with us and several more who met us on route, did cake stops, sent texts, tweets, Facebook messages and emails of support over the 4 weeks.  The reception at people's homes was fantastic, especially as we often arrived very late in the evening and left early the next day yet still had B&B and evening meal, plenty of tea and often we'd never ,met our hosts before.  We wanted to award Alexa and Russell in Edinburgh with best shower of the trip - it seemed to just hot the mark! Smallest car to support us was Kerry's Ford Fiesta on Day 25 - which even transported us with stuff for an hour!  Thanks to the 4 athletes who came and met us and 3 lots of family as well as the many athletes or responded and retweeted  on twitter - apparently one tweet reached over 16.000 people! Thanks to our sponsors too - particularly Morphed Landscapes, who provided support for 6 days and Jane Richardson from Sainsbury's Hessle for co-ordinating Sainsbury's around the UK to feed us pretty much all the way round.  Thanks also to Syd's Landscapes, ARCO, Royal Mail, Magic Spoon, Waterstones, Philips mapping, Bodyfixed, P&O, Condor Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet Co, Cougar Security and David Richards UK Ltd for equipping us with car magnets, banners, ferry travel, mapping and transportation.


The latest we finished any night was day 3 in Bournemouth after the ferry crossing from Guernsey although we only cycled 17 miles that day, and 11:35pm on a full cycling day on day 13 in Great Barr, Birmingham.  That was also our latest box arrival, at 11:09pm in Aldridge (Ellie Simmonds).  However, the most mileage was on Day 11 in east Anglia, which included the most spectacular wrong turn and extra mileage to that planned when Lucas took us to Norwich and did 18 extra miles and 135 in total.  Our earliest finish was day 27 at Luke Campbell's box in Kingston upon Hull at 5:35pm.


On route we took 54 wrong turns (all Lucas' fault as he navigated by map the whole route), yet none of these occurred in London or Northern Ireland! The shortest section between boxes was 0.1 miles from Foresters Road to Mollinson Square in Wallington - both boxes for David Weir.  The longest distance between any two boxes or venues was 130 miles from Katherine Grainger's in Aberdeen to Sir Chris Hoy's on Hanover Street, Edinburgh.  In the process of reaching all the boxes and venues we sighted 13 cathedrals, ascended and descended 7 flights of stairs and one lift, had two punctures and two buckled wheels,  saw signs to 7 different places called Preston and between us got stung four time by stinging nettles. We lost one set of sunglasses, four mugs were broken, 3 Car magnets disappeared, 10 of 12 teaspoons acquired disappeared again, gained one fork, one pair of socks and a random red t-shirt.  The good news is Lucas found the glasses he lost, although had ordered a replacement set first.


Above: Lucas & Chris atLuke Campbell’s box - the 111th and end of the journey

Below: With Lincoln Sainsbury’s staff

Clockwise from top left: Phil Reese gets ready to cycle the last few miles with us;

Sainbsury’s Local on Hessle Road staff help with the fundraising;

With various members of the support teams fom the whole trip at the finish, inclduing Paul and Phil from the final day

The first decent sighting of the Humber bridge meaning the finish is near!

Sainsbury’s staff at the finish, inclduing Jane Richardson

Bottom right three pictures - massages with Jamei Barrington of Bodyfixed

Gordy and family (Nikki, Jake and Max)


Above: With Gordy at the penultimate box in Lincoln


Left: The trio cycling the final leg from Kirton in Lindsay

We have no idea how many calories we burned or consumed, but Dolly Mixtures, Mini Battenberg's, Mars Bars and Snickers were a major part of the diet with bananas and cups of tea (and for Chris, Custard Creams to dunk).  Our most unusual lunch stop was in Halford's car park in West Wickham, London.  Despite all the cakes and food eaten, Lucas lost 3/4 of a stone during the trip whilst Chris gained 5 pounds - bizarrely meaning we weighed the same when we finished - 11st 3lbs!


We have said throughout the blog that we have been through some amazing places, and our  five favourites would have to be the Brecon Beacons, Sperrin Mountains, A92 coastal route, Yorkshire Dales between Glossop and Holmfirth and the Grampian and Cairngorm ranges in Scotland.  They made some major climbing worth the effort and glossed over our five worst roads to cycle on: A46 from Alcester to Stratford on Avon; A406 North Circular in East London; A303 Hampshire; A580 towards Manchester and the worst of them all - the A46/M40 junction.  That all said, Harlow gets rated the most poorly signposted place we passed through and Bedfordshire, South Yorkshire, Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and East Ayrshire had the worst roads to cycle on in the country.


And what of the Post Boxes and venues?  Of the 28 venues we visited Eton Dorney stood out as the best as we cycled alongside it for the full 2km's.  Out of the 111 post boxes the Carshalton one will stand out because it is in fact red, yet the hardest to find were Chorley's on market street (as we were looking for market street, Adlington, Chorley!) and hardest of all, Egham Hill and one of Sophie Christianson's which was in fact on the University campus and not really Egham Hill at all.  The most disappointing box location was Laura Trott's in Harlow, positioned behind a sorting office on a service road and car park.










However, given this was about visiting gold post boxes, we have, compiled a list of our top ten boxes :

10: Hamble le Rice (Dabi King) - village square setting

9. Watledge Road, Nailsworth (Peter Reed) - quirky small box in less obvious location

8. Bentworth (Peter Charles) - Village setting with welcome from local school

7. Hebden (Andrew Triggs Hodge) - newest box in rural setting of Yorkshire Dales

6 Seaforde (Bethany Firth) - Something quaint about the box despite the busy road upon which it sits

5. Bagnell (Lee Pearson) - Lovely village location under a tree

4. Sark (Carl Hester) - The island setting made for a brilliant place to have a gold post box

3. Lossiemouth (Heather Stanning) - overlooking the seafront it was ideal for Chris!

2. Dunblane (Andy Murray) - in the shadow of the Cathedral in a lovely location, seemed brilliantly positioned

1. Restronguet (Ben Ainlsee) - Located in the wall of the pub overlooking the creek it had a great location and got the vote as best placed gold post box


Having - reviewed what we'd done, we went to a show ion the Friday evening called Aunty's waxworks - a local writer and on a small stage it was nice to chill out for the first time in a month before Chris headed home Saturday morning Lucas cycling to the station with him as his car was in the garage getting the flat battery sorted.  With a farewell on the platform, it closed the 29 days together, in the knowledge that our efforts have raised in the region of £3,000 so far for our three charities, Sport Relief, Tree of Hope and paralympicsGB, as well as awareness of them.  We anticipate this total will increase as sponsorship comes in now we have completed the journey.

Many thanks to everyone involved - it really has been an experience, blessed with 25.5 days of sunshine and 27 golden days.  


Supported Charities 2014

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Above: Chris at the rather laden table

Left & right: Posters from children on route wishing us luck along with the sweets we have left

Mini Battenberg’s and Dolly Mixtures = part of our staple diet!

Eton Dorney - our favourite venue

Right - Our latest box stop at 11:09pm in Aldridge (Ellie Simmonds)

Below: The red “Gold” box in Carshalton

Below: David Weir’s  boxes on Forrester’s drive and Mollinson Square in Wallington are the two clostest at 0.1 miles apart

The wost box location - Harlow’s behind the Post Office

The train takes Chris away!







Below: The Final box

10. Hamble le Rice

9. Watledge Road, Nailsworth

B8. entworth

7. Hebden

1. Restronguey

2. Dunblane

4. Sark

3. Lossiemouth

5. Bagnell

6. Seaforde

The blog was written by Lucas each night and any errors may reflect how tired he was!