Monday, 28 July 2014

Cycling the First World War Western Front

Back in 2010, my brother James and I cycled the 550 miles from the French coast to Zurich in Switzerland in a week, roughly following the First World War western front, through Belgium, northern France and Switzerland.

We did the ride to raise money for Leukaemia Research in memory of our mum, Shirley, who died in 2009.

With the centenary of the start of the First World War, and as a number of people have contacted me for details of the route, I thought I would re-post the original route, diary and video entries.

I've done a number of longer rides, including Lands' End to John o'Groats, through Germany and the Czech Republic and from Birmingham to Montpelier in France and this definitely ranks among my favourite.

Swiss Roll - Day 1, James and Matthew at Dunkerque
Matthew and James leaving Dunkerque

Here's the route:


Bike route 322271 - powered by Bikemap


And here's a video I put together of the ride:



Here are the daily routes and diaries:

Day 1 - Dunkerque to Arras
Route details
Diary and video

Day 2 - Arras to Soissons
Route details
Diary and video

Day 3 - Soissons to Sainte-Menehould
Route details
Diary and video

Day 4 - Sainte-Menehould to Nancy
Route details
Diary and video

Day 5 - Nancy to Le Thillot
Route details
Diary and video

Day 6 - Le Thillot to Basel
Route details
Diary and video

Day 7 - Basel to Grafstal (Zurich)
Route details
Diary and video

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Terrifying head cam footage of cyclist's head-on crash with car!

A cyclist from Essex has uploaded an astonishing video taken on his helmet cam of his head on crash with a car. He then flies through the air and, incredibly, lands on his feet!



The cyclist, who doesn't give his real name, but goes by the username 'cyclejack' on YouTube, says on the video details:

"The second time I rode into London in an effort to gain some fitness, rather than take the train, ended like this.

"I was traveling around 22mph through Romford. Drizzly conditions so I was being cautious around bends and roundabouts. I didn't expect this!

"I broke (it can just be seen on the frame before impact) but I had no chance of stopping.

"I'm not quite sure how I wasn't seen. I'm over 6ft and was wearing a bright blue jacket. If I was seen then it's a very bad judgement in my speed.

"After a very uncomfortable trip to the hospital in a neck brace and spinal board and various x-rays I escaped with just bruising. So I consider myself lucky. At the time the driver was apologetic and was informed by the police that I was recording my ride and seemed to admit fault. But when it came to my insurance claim against her she disputed it. Safe to say the video has saved me a lot of hassle and 3 weeks later the cheque has already arrived from the insurance company.

"My 4 week old Giant bike was written off but thanks to the guys at Cycle Store they put me one of the two they had left aside and I'm looking forward to getting back out there.

"I will say the condition of the cycle lanes are a disgrace along that road, along with many I come across. With the usual obstacles of parked cars, drivers edging out of junctions, pot holes, glass, drains - why would you cycle in a cycle lane?"


Just to stress, the cyclist is doing absolutely nothing wrong in this crash.

It's also interesting to see the original footage, compared to what the Daily Mail uploaded. Firstly, you can hear him swearing as they crash (which I can definitely vouch for when I've had far less spectacular crashes!), but it does show how awful the cycling provision is and how poor others' driving is...