Day 10 – Bodmin to Lands End (63 Miles, 4200ft Climb, 12.4 avg mph)

Open eyes, open curtains, you know the drill – except…today is different. The sky is blue, there is a car park outside and there’s a pub too. But we’re in Bodmin and about to complete an absolutely epic 921 mile journey (hopefully) arriving in Lands End at around 4pm.

The scale of the challenge has been both physical and mental. The latter, far more than I expected. Getting out of bed and cycling 90 miles a day for 10 days is beyond normal and ‘dealing’ with that has been hard. And we have to do it, just once more. Yesterday was brutal for climb, today is not much better, let’s just hope the adrenaline pulls us through.

Neil’s birthday today, so we sing Happy Birthday on the start line – that was different! Then we’re off, only 63 miles today but loads of Lewis-friendly climbing in store. As it was his birthday, even Neil was enjoying the hills.

A stop at 25 for second (or third?) breakfast and the pace continues. Two groups today (almost a team?) with Peter scouting well ahead. Lunch stop at Penzance and suddenly we’re within 10 miles of the finish. Lewis has one more trick up his sleeve for a picturesque if slightly over-hilly detour (thank goodness for the phone) and before you can blink, Lands End is in sight. A pretty significant crowd awaits us at the finish line, mostly tourists curious to see what nutters are coming in next. Big cheers, applause and we’re through.

Photographs and then more at the sign post – ‘we’ve only gone and done it!!’

I think there was more relief than elation, this has been the hardest thing that any of us have done, or will probably ever do again. It felt like it would never end, but it has now. Someone described it as the ultimate stag do without alcohol, there was very little of the latter – might catch up on that tonight – but seven guys with support from Rose and Terry and friends from across the industry did somehow pull it out of the bag.

The words ‘Thank you’ seem so inadequate when we have had such incredible support from so many people. The team at Roland, Janine, Helen and Martyn and many others, have worked incredibly hard at fund raising and all of the administration behind the ride. We could not have achieved this without you. Terry and Rose, you are the best surrogate Mum and Dad and we would all adopt you. Terry looking after the bikes and driving, and Rose rebuilding bodies and filling them with calories! Great fun too. And then the team. Everyone pulled together when it was needed, but special thanks to our resident pro-cyclist SImon Lewis who has been a great coach to us all and kept us safe. No one died!! A few got injured….

Lastly I must thank everyone who has donated money. Your generosity will help to change people’s lives, we were just the catalyst to make that happen. Thank you, thank you.

So what next for Three Men on a Bike? Well, as I write Simon is depositing his bike over the cliff at Lands End.

For me, JOGLE 2012 is the right time to retire from such events. It doesn’t get much bigger than this and what better than to go out on a high. I can’t speak for Peter as he’s so far ahead of our peloton he can’t hear what I’m saying. I am sure though, we will all continue to ride for pleasure (but only on a sunny day). I’d like to say that there was some pleasure in this last ride, but the bruises and aches sustained during day nine are still too raw. Maybe next week we’ll reflect on that. It has been an enormous privilege to be part of this team, but most of all, so humbling to be able to be a part of raising so much money for two fantastic charities. As I write the total is over £40K with more money still to come, we could end nearer to £50K.

Tomorrow it’s back to normality (what’s that?) – we leave early for the annual car park that is the Bank Holiday M5. It’ll probably be quicker by bike….

Day 9 – Taunton to Bodmin (108 Miles, 7500ft Climb, 12 avg mph)

Open eyes, open curtains, blue sky, lots of cars, I spy a beefeater pub, must be a Premier Inn then, give up guessing and go for iPhone GPS. Still in Taunton and about to embark on day nine.

The normal routine kicked in with the planned departure at 8.30. The rules say 8 for 8.30. This basically means getting all your stuff out to the van by 8am, leaving half an hour to get the bikes ready, polish your helmet and prep for the day. Checking tyre pressures is also a critical part of this prep and, as you can see here, it normally takes around three people to help Peter sort his.

It still hasn’t sunk in, just what we’ve achieved so far. The last major emotional moment was crossing Scotland and getting to the English border sign. Somehow now, we’re in Somerset, 750 miles into this epic and we’ve cycled every mile. The physical and emotional strain is now showing on all of us. Injuries and frayed nerves have taken us all to places we didn’t expect to be.

And that strain was showing this morning. No guest riders today, so the core team only, and within minutes of the ride starting we’d split into separate teams. Sat navs were on the blink so various different routes were also taken today. The only common goal was getting to Bodmin, alive!

First stop today was Silverton, the village where Jules lives. Quite a reception committee awaited us as we arrived, with several of Jule’s family and friends taking the day off work to greet us.

Here on in, the group split further, the main challenge being to complete a gruelling day of climbing, with every force of nature trying to get in our way. This wasn’t ordinary rain, or even M and S rain: this was the kind or rain where each drop is the equivalent of a bucket of water. It was brutal and the course the toughest that anyone of us have ever done. Here’s the map and elevation graphic for the day.

I have never seen so many climbs. Steep and long and repeating over and over. I cycled up rivers, down rivers and through them and still Bodmin always seemed to be 10 miles away.

The last of the group came in well after 7pm. Few words were spoken, I think Peter’s face said it all.

Bradley however seemed to have had a great day. He’s been busy the entire trip checking out all kinds of sights and joins us wherever we start and stop. Here he is just cruising into Cornwall. His full photo album will be published on the three men site after the ride.

The evening saw our last (ever?) Premier Inn meal and I think ’shell-shocked’ best describes emotions around the table. Tomorrow is our last day together and we will (I hope) complete an extraordinary challenge. It’s a 63 mile route and yes, there are plenty of hills, but I think the weather is ok……

Roadside news

  • Cornish Ferret – will miss the Bank Holiday
  • Woolly Mammoth – Griffiths reckons he saw one, just as he came into Cornwall
  • Vera at the old farm shop – reckons it’s flat all the way to Launceston, ‘except the hills’

Day 7 – Crewe to Gloucester (100 miles, 3900ft Climb, 13 avg mph)

Open eyes, open curtains, check location. Yes it’s Crewe Premier Inn. A relaxed evening yesterday at the nearby pub. It was quiz night so in addition to us shouting out all of the answers, Peter stole the mic and raised £55 for the charities from the various quiz teams.

Another grey morning today, thankfully no rain. We seem to be very lucky recently, this luck will probably run out by the weekend. Guest riders today include Paul from DV, Neil Cowmeadow and Myke from Bonners. A big day ahead as none of them has cycled 100 miles yet! Here we all are, raring to go?

The guest riders (fresh legs) definitely gave our younger core riders a run for their money this morning. Lewis sorted this out later, reminding everyone ‘who wears the white shoes’.

Having trawled eBay last night for a replacement leg and failed to win any of the auctions (you’d be amazed at what goes on on eBay after midnight) I had to resort to drugs today to ‘manage’ my knee pain. We’re all gradually succumbing to the stresses and strains of this massive endurance marathon and there’s barely a man on the team without issues. Sorry, that should read, without health issues.

Firmly keeping the family together (quite literally) is the multi-talented Rose. One moment she’s running Ruth’s Rolls, the finest lunch van on the JOGLE run, the next she’ll be rebuilding someone’s legs in her physio capacity and then without batting an eyelid, she’ll turn into expert bike mechanic. Girl power has nothing on this!

So the ride: painful, ouch, long, kinda sums it up. First stop was outside a McDonalds for a rare coffee stop. We then sped down the Ironbridge Gorge (just beautiful) into Ironbridge itself. Photo of the team here in front of the bridge. (I was behind the camera, just in case anyone thought I was having the day off).

There are two ways out of the Gorge, both are up but one is really quite steep. The Three Men chose the long gradual haul out of town, the rest of the support riders abandoned us (!) to show off to each other on the really steep one and compare the size of each other’s bikes.

Reunited at the top and ‘King of the Mountains’ awards completed (Lewis) we set off on a frustrating, undulating section of road which seemed to go on for ever, en route to Kidderminster. I’m even beginning to actually recognise some of the places we’re cycling through! Lunch, then Stourport, Worcester and Tewkesbury and we’re in sight of home. Well, I say home? Premier Inn has become home, but the one here in Gloucester is a bit more like a kennel. Our worst by far: I could hardly fit the bike in the room.

After today’s ride we clock up 650 miles and over 27,000 ft of climb for the ride so far. Everest is 29,000, so we should probably nail that tomorrow, assuming that ‘Make up my Ride’ gets the numbers wrong again. We’ll be joined by the Boyz from PMT (and tandem) and Paul from the MIA – anything could happen….

Roadside News

  • Fox x 2, not well
  • Squirrel, not looking well
  • Pigeons, lots, flying days over
  • Griffiths says he saw a bear
  • Terry now on work to rule, as overtime for Jules’ bike clocks up

Day 3 – Fort William to Dumbarton (88 Miles, Climb 3100ft, 14.8 avg mph)

We awake to blue skies over Ben Nevis, yes…..still in Scotland, it’s a big old place. Start time today is 8.30 and some hefty climbs await us, particularly up through Glencoe. Gareth Bevan has enjoyed yesterday so much, he’s staying for more today…is he mad?

Overnight James has performed miracles and not only has our friendly receptionist not been sacked, she’s also put £10 on the Three Men on a Bike fund raising page! Thank you Fiona. Lewis says he’ll come and stay on his way back to John O’Groats. I think he was joking, but perhaps if you’re reading this and want him to do it, you can put some money on the Virgin Giving site – he’ll have to do it then!!

Excellent Curry last night. Terry and Rose really went for it and thoroughly enjoyed. Must have been a long morning in the van for them today. Jules managed to get the spiciest dish (lots of time in the bushes today) and Simon had his traditional Fahl in a mild Korma sauce, oh and 9 pints of Lager. All in all a good night, but still in bed by 10.

So Day 3….

After a few miles alongside the beautiful Loch Leven we turned inland to begin our climb up though Glencoe. The first major climb twists and turns up the Glen, quite steep but just long long. After this it opens out into long straight roads that seem to go on forever….climbing. As fatigue starts to set in you soon begin to confuse climbing with descents, are we going up or down? All the downs today, some really long ones, were ruined somewhat by a head wind. You found yourself having to pedal hard downhill! Mind you, I’d rather have the wind than the rain. In the somewhat bleak settings at the top of Glencoe today, rain like day 1…just doesn’t bear thinking about.

The long climbs today proved significant for Peter who until now, despite having had a triple fitted to his bike last week, hadn’t used it. The triple gives you three rings on the front and basically a wider choice of lower gears. Great for tough hills. Peter was determined not to use his lower ring and until now was officially a triple virgin. Glencoe proved to be the day he lost this particular cherry and I think he quite enjoyed the experience. Most of us have triples, well obviously not the pro boys Lewis and Neil, and ours are well used!

We’ve met many people on our travels so far, cyclists, bikers and walkers. Today we met our match when we shared our provisions with two marathon runners in the middle of nowhere not long after Glencoe. Their challenge was to run the three peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon) the equivalent of 16 marathons in 16 days. Griffiths said he felt a fraud, suddenly John O’Groats to Lands End didn’t seem that big a deal. Big respect to those guys anyway, I hope they raise the money for Macmillan they’re aiming for.

After various mentions of the Bladderettes, I have to report that their etiquette is plummeting. The team had to stop today at a remote set of roadworks with traffic lights at each end. Probably at least half a mile long, so long waits for the lights. We all pulled up by the normal red sign that declares, ‘When Red Light Shows, Wait Here’. It certainly did not give this instruction….

Thank you to Gareth for his support for the last couple of days. A great rider and good fun to have around. Tomorrow it’s just the seven of us, no guest riders, just a further slog through Scotland, Dumfries here we come.

Roadside News

Not well (Thrush, Rabbit, a lot of snakes)
Simon exposed himself, he claims by accident
Rolls, still the Cheese and Tomato
Tandoori Blast by Gareth attempting to propel himself up Glencoe

Day 2 (Inverness to Fort William – 65 miles, 3300ft, 13.6 avg mph)

Much promise of fine weather from our resident Michael Fish-Griffiths today. 30 degrees and the odd shower. Well, partly right, the odd shower, but nearer to 15 degrees and sunshine. Yes, patchy sunshine! A new way to view Scotland and a first for us.

First up, last night and menu recommendations for Inverness Premier Inn restaurant. Best recommendation is not to eat there. If you have to, order in a take away or eat a Snickers. Either way you’ll achieve a better result. Service bad, food worse, I think the last meal arrived at around 10pm, for our 8.30 booking. Just what we didn’t need after exertions yesterday.

Anyway, Day 2…

Joined by Gareth Bevan from Red Sub, we set off at 10am. Luxury or what? It took us a little while to negotiate an exit from Inverness as the Garmins (our bike computers) got a little confused and were clearly not coping well with the Scottish language translation.

Thereafter, today can only be described as breathtaking, spectacular, probably the most beautiful cycle ride I have ever done. Despite getting wet on occasion, the scenery was just amazing. Words can’t really begin to describe, the photos might help.

15 miles or so cycling along side Loch Ness made me realise just how privileged we are to be doing this ride. Sure there will be ups and downs (no pun intended) and the odd falling out, and yes we have almost one thousand miles to cycle, but the chance to see some of the places we have seen today from the saddle is beyond value – if you ever get the chance to cycle near Loch Ness – do it….oh, ‘on a sunny day’ of course.

Particularly memorable was the rewarding view at the end of this rather challenging climb. Our longest and hardest so far. A category 4 climb (flippin’ long and steep to you and me).

A sweeping long descent followed bringing us out at Loch Lochy Loch Loch (I think that’s what the sign said) at which point the Garmins gave up again. Now, the house rules state that ‘the Garmin maps are always right…..until they’re wrong’. This was one of those times and Terry (our friendly support van driver), got a map out. It’s a kind of colourful thing in a large book, often with the initials AA printed on the front, and mostly used by people aged over 50. (FYI – Terry assures us he doesn’t have a drink problem) Anyway, he didn’t plug it in and there was no screen but he still managed to use it to help us navigate our way out of crisis. So the house rules have had to be changed to, ‘the Garmin is always right, except when Terry’s maps have got a better idea’.

Neil, a founding member and lead singer of the ‘bladderettes’ (we think of miles per hour, he works on stops per hour) introduced us to another of his many talents when James was having problems with his cleats. These are the clips that hold your feet on the bike pedals. If you’re a pro rider like Lewis or Neil, these allow you to pull up on the pedals and ‘go faster’….cool!? To most amateur cyclists (us) they offer massive potential for road junction and traffic light comedy moments as you fail to manage to unclip in time and gracefully keel over and fall flat on all of the bits that hurt. Anyway, James’ cleat problem was that he couldn’t, clip in. With James sat on his bike on the side of the busy A82, Neil (the farrier) was seen to be working on James’ hooves. We discovered later that James had trodden in significant amounts of Haggis poo and has Neil to thank for expertly scraping it off and reconnecting him. It’s the little things that make these days!!

A descent into Fort William, with Ben Nevis as the back drop was just….you had to be there. Ben, is the tallest mountain you can see in the photo, slightly obscured by cloud. The triumphant arrival at the (guess where) Premier Inn Fort William was somewhat marred by the ‘No Bikes in this hotel’ policy. James, using his legendary wit, charm and negotiation skills managed to completely wind the manager up in an attempt to get our bikes into the hotel. In the end she gave up and shouted ‘bring your bikes in then and don’t worry if I get sacked’ (I might have left a couple of words out) – so we did! She was still on reception as we quietly filed through later on. I guess the Premier Inn HR department doesn’t work weekends.

An incredible day for scenery, great riding by new member Gareth and at last some sunshine! Tonight we’re off to the local Indian and Simon G is in charge of the bill negotiations. (Please see Eastbourne blog for Lands End to London for previous Griffiths negotiation form!)

Roadside news

Puncture x 1 Jules

Chain Incidents x 1

Dead sheep x 1

Re shoeing x 1 (James’ hooves)

Ruth’s Rolls – Cheese and Tomato – Award winning

3 men filmed for forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster….

Day 1: John O’Groats to Inverness (120 miles, 5000ft+ of climb, Avg Speed 14.7mph)

So day 1 dawns, the forecast says, wet and windy, you couldn’t ask for less!!

Dinner went well last night, with most riders sticking to Rose’s strict alcohol rules: max of two pints before dinner, or something like that, and then I forget the rest of the rule.

One of our new riders Jules introduced himself to the group and amongst his many claims to fame that we can remember, was his intimate knowledge of the WD-40 website. Yes, there is one and Jules is one of the few that has viewed it.

An early alarm call and incredible power shower, which my head clean OFF my shoulders (quite the best thing in the Seaview Hotel) signalled the longest day of most of our cycling lives. 120 miles is a long long way – even longer in Scotland…much longer in the rain.

After the obligatory John O’Groats signpost photo and start line shot, we all piled into the van and legged it to Inverness…..I wish….

Nope, it was heads down into the wind, and it wasn’t long before we were to experience some of the most challenging of Scottish weather. At times we were soaked, at others, visibility was a low as the bike in front. At particularly special moments it was a combination of all of the above.

I can’t tell you a great deal about the Scottish countryside as we actually saw very little. One highlight in a break in the weather was Portgower where we cycled right next to the North Sea, awesome views.

120 miles had us stopping every thirty with Ruth’s rolls and Terry’s van in full swing. Great support as always, and food has never tasted so good.

As a team, we seemed to ride well. On several occasions, even as a group. We’ll probably crack it tomorrow. No major events today other than the ‘bladderettes’ seemed to stop quite often to check the view(!) and James decided to attempt to cross a major roundabout in reverse, it was quite funny….afterwards. Stunning view of the day came as we crossed the Kessock Bridge into Inverness.

As I write we’re slumped in the Premier Inn Restaurant about to order food, I think it’s safe to say everyone is a little weary.

A great start to the ride and only 800 miles left to go…..

Roadside News
Alive – Field Mouse / Toad (Rescued by Simon)
Not so well – Hedgehogs (2) / Toad (1) / Snakes (Lots) / Rabbit (2) / Haggis (1)
Chain Incidents (3)
Costume Changes (Lewis – lots)

Approaching the abyss: just over 24 hours to go

As I start to write on the eve of the eve of the craziest escapade ever undertaken by someone as unfit as me, I am reminded of my commitment two years ago to never do this again. As we celebrated the end of our 430-mile ride from Land’s End to the London Olympic Stadium back in October 2010, there was incredible elation, relief and sheer joy at the £20K+ we had raised with amazing support from across the music industry. It had been such a massive and challenging undertaking it didn’t seem possible that we would even consider doing anything like it again.

As James and I looked across the Olympic Stadium building site back then, no one would have believed that less than two years later, we would all have witnessed the incredible spectacle that was London 2012 and that inside that same stadium, hopes and dreams for so many came together in a global outpouring of physical and emotional achievement. With all of the gloom and doom around us, the world feels a better place as a result of London 2012 and it’s fitting that our story starts here.

Our ‘Olympic’ journey starts this Friday (17th) and we face a 900+ mile endurance ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 10 days. At 90 miles a day, this is more than double our previous achievement and it can only be that inner urge and drive to raise more money for two great causes (Music for All and Children in Need) that has tipped us all over the edge to even consider getting on a bike again. Some of us enjoy the odd short cycle ride ‘on a sunny day’, but ‘this’ is something else.

As I reflect on the last five months in the saddle, I can perhaps get a glimpse of what some Olympians have to endure in their four year quest for achievement. Since April, I’ve managed 3000 training miles in between the rain and….the rain, and sacrificed what little non-work time I have. I’m not complaining (although I did hate quite a lot of it) but it just gives me an insight into what real commitment is. And I guess, as we stood in the Olympic Park almost two years ago, it didn’t seem possible that we could have found that commitment and inspiration again to attempt another fund-raising ride.

But here we are. The same team, back together again, joined by new riders and with new levels of support from across the music industry, topped off with a new and totally mad challenge to attempt to try and raise more money. As I write today, our fund-raising total is well over £20K, but with much more work to do to get us to our target. The bags and bikes are all packed and en route to John O’Groats and we leave for Cardiff airport in the morning, using the slightly more correct and sane method of air travel to Edinburgh, then Wick.

On Friday morning we swap seats for saddles and diesel for electrolyte drinks (and the odd beer, not on the Bike, well not initially…) and attempt 10 days of solid cycling and total climbing (that’s steep hills to you and me) not far short of 26,000ft. To put that into context, Mount Everest is just over 29,000ft.

Putting this together and just getting us to this point has been a herculean task. The team at Roland, led by Janine and Helen have once again performed marketing and administrative miracles. Huge support too from across the industry: Future (thank you Clare), Peavey, PMT and Sinclair’s for the support van, to name but a few from a very long list. Midge Ure, Howard Jones, Razorlight, Al Murray, thank you guys for your incredible generosity and time.

And now it’s our time, to complete this ultimate challenge. The weather is not looking that great (30mph winds and rain) for John O’Groats on Friday…..let’s hope they got the forecast wrong….

Three Men get kitted out as the ordeal approaches

Three Men get kitted out as the ordeal approaches

Three Men on a bike 2012

The Three Men on a Bike Charity Ride is due to begin in John O’Groats this Friday, hopefully concluding 926 miles later at Land’s End on Sunday August 26th.

Taking time out to check the five-day weather forecast, Tim Walter, Roland’s Managing Director, commented while anxiously eyeing the skies:

“Well, we’re nearly ready to set off. The training is done, the bikes are prepped, our kit and the energy drinks have arrived and we’re hoping to carry on in the Olympic spirit of the past few weeks, especially with the amazing performance of Bradley Wiggins still clear in our minds: he’s definitely made an impact on all three of us. We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown by people to date, and we’re around two thirds towards reaching our target. Distance aside, we’ve still got a long way to go though so please, if you’re yet to donate, visit the site and help the cause.”

The riders will be setting off tomorrow for John O’Groats, conducting last minute preparations and prayers before embarking on the 926-mile bike ride on Friday. The Three Men will also be joined on various stages by riders from Bonners, Dawsons, Digital Village, Gear4Music, PMT and Paul McManus, the MIA’s Chief Executive.
If you want to show your support, please donate via Virgin money giving here.

Paul McManus CEO of MIA joins the ride

Well known industry figure states: “no guts, no glory”

Paul McManus, the Chief Executive of the Music Industries Association, has signed up for the forthcoming Three Men on a Bike charity bike ride, due to start on 17th August.

Clearly relishing the challenge and speaking as he prepared to embark on his first training session, Mr McManus asserted:

“Although I’m only joining for a single day – day eight – I very much consider myself part of the team, and I’m ready to start training hard. I fully expect to give the other riders a run for their money and have already bought all the gear, including a heavily customised bike that will give me a competitive edge. I’m in it to win it and will definitely be first on day eight”.

Coincidentally, an analysis of the route shows that day eight, while 95 miles in length, is the one day with virtually no hills; very much considered a less strenuous day by the other riders compared with the travails of the rest of the route. When this was subsequently pointed out to Mr McManus, he claimed his mobile signal was too weak to hear and promptly hung up. Confusingly, he was speaking on his land line at the time.

By adding his support to the 926-mile event, Mr McManus joins a select group of music industry participants including riders from Bonners, Dawsons, Digital Village, Gear4Music and PMT, who will also be joining the team.

If you want to show your support, please donate via Virgin money giving: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/roland3moab

Olympic Torch mysteriously disappears during journey to London

Olympic icon vanishes in bizarre circumstances, reappears in Southend

Local businessmen Simon Gilson and Terry Hope, of PMT, a leading musical instrument retailer headquartered in Southend, claimed to have ‘found’ the torch while out on a training session for a charity bike ride

19th July 2012 – The iconic Olympic torch, the much-loved symbol of the largest sporting event on Earth, disappeared briefly today as it continued its journey to the opening ceremony in London. With barely a week to go until the games begin, the carrier of the torch was found in a confused state by the side of the road, claiming he had ‘lost the torch’. A frantic search ensued, involving Police and members of the Armed Forces, before the torch was located several miles away in Southend.

Local businessmen Simon Gilson and Terry Hope, of PMT, a leading musical instrument retailer headquartered in Southend, claimed to have ‘found’ the torch while out on a training session for a charity bike ride in which they will soon participate. They decided to return the torch to the Police after being cornered following a dramatic chase. Speaking after the incident, Simon Gilson commented that although the Police didn’t need to draw their firearms, he understood the panic surrounding the disappearance of the torch:

“We were just out on our daily training session for the ‘Three Men on a Bike’ charity ride and we saw the torch glinting by the roadside. Of course, we picked it up to keep it safe, as there are all sorts around here who would have melted it down. We continued with our ride as training is important – the total ride goes from John O’Groats to Land’s End – and next thing we knew the Old Bill was on our tail. With helicopters. We obviously panicked and there was a bit of drama down the main shopping drag in Southend. When we saw guns, we got off the bike and handed it over. We were doing them a favour.”

Although Gilson couldn’t explain how the torch had got to Southend, all charges have now been dropped and the Games – and the Three men on a Bike charity ride – can now go ahead.

Follow the team on Facebook: www.facebook.com/threemenonabike

If you want to show your support, please donate via Virgin money giving: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/roland3moab