Reflections of The Raid Alpine

Exercise, the only thing that has been shown to delay disease progression in Parkinson's, should, in theory, be easy to commit to doing on a daily basis. Yet at times it can still be difficult to find the motivation to exercise, particularly on a cold, wet, windy winter's day. In the autumn of 2019, signing… Continue reading Reflections of The Raid Alpine

Rory’s Reflections

Reflections - The Raid Alpine 2022 by Rory Chappell I was part of the support crew for a group of five cyclists as they took on The Raid Alpine. 770km long. Over 18,000m of climb. Geneva to Nice. I had never even heard of such a challenge, nor would I have thought it would be… Continue reading Rory’s Reflections

Thank You!

Time to say 'Thank You' to everyone who supported me to do the Raid Alpine challenge. A HUGE 'thank you' to John Anderson, John Wilkinson, Roland Valori and Claire Lehman for embracing this colossal challenge, all the training involved and for making it a wonderful adventure. To Callum Anderson and Rory Chapell, our fantastic support… Continue reading Thank You!

Pedalling with Parkinson’s

Feeling vaguely qualified to write about cycling with Parkinson's after the last ten days in the saddle, here are a few reflections of the impact of Parkinson's on cycling. Speed Slower than almost everyone I know. Maybe even without Parkinson's this would be the case but I believe it is mainly due to a combination… Continue reading Pedalling with Parkinson’s

Raid Alpine – Day 10

Setting off in already blistering sunshine, our last day proved one of the hottest. Perhaps a little blasé about having 'only' 834m of climb to do, by the time I was 15km into the ride, already on the wrong road, still leaning heavily on my right hand side in a very lop sided fashion with… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 10

Raid Alpine – Day 9

Distance 83km. Elevation 1700m. Our penultimate day saw us leave according to our speed. That was Claire and I setting off first for a ride that would take us 8 and 9 hours respectively. The others who are much quicker were rewarded by a slightly more leisurely breakfast and had still caught up with us… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 9

Raid Alpine – Day 8

We expected today to be our toughest challenge for many reasons.  Longest rideBiggest climbSearing heatExisting saddle sores, blisters, aches and painsFatigue from the previous seven days hard cycling To add another challenge to the day, was for our support team, Callum and Rory when an erratic / maniac driver tried to overtake the van they… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 8

Raid Alpine – Day 7

Guillestre to Jausier. Distance 42km. Elevation 1154m. Our shortest day and we made the most of it. An early start saw the men powering up the hill by lunchtime whilst the girls took the same early start but a more leisurely approach. I'd like to say we did so from choice but my legs were… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 7

The Raid Alpine – Day 6

Col du Lautaret to Guillestre. Distance 81km. Elevation 1392m. What a fantastic day! Today we 'bagged' Col d'Izoard. 19.1km uphill during which we climbed 1173m. At a peak gradient of 11% and an overall average of 6%, it was tough. No nice pictures at the top as it simply resembled a building site. A huge… Continue reading The Raid Alpine – Day 6

Raid Alpine – Day 5

Distance Elevation Gain By Rory Chappell (Support Team) ‘Switchbacks are overshadowed by persistence.’ An early start for the cyclists to get a handle on the day ahead: the biggest climb so far. After breakfast, they hit the tarmac and pedalled along to the town of Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. They waited for a top up of water from… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 5

Raid Alpine – Day 4

Bourg St ~Maurice to Lansleberg-Mont-Cenis Distance 83km, Elevation Gained 2,238m 'Over the Col and Far Away' By Rory Chappell (Support Team) The day started early high above Bourg Saint Maurice with a fantastic breakfast at our overnight stop, Montagn’Arcs. Joined by the fresh talent from Bolton, Neil and Jane, the cyclists set off up to… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 4

The Raid Alpine

Day 4 - 'Only' I desperately wanted to get to the top of Col d'Iseran, our 'only' Col of the day. 'Only' 2,200m of climb over 'only' 47km, with temperatures peaking at 'only' 28 degrees, with absolutely no shade. At every km on each Col, there is a marker depicting the distance to the top… Continue reading The Raid Alpine

Raid Alpine – Day 3

Day 3 - missing from our original blog series as exhaustion crept in and time ran out. For completeness, I've compiled this from a few scribbled notes to support my hazy memory, as Col after Col, the days seemed to morph into one. Today was to be our toughest so far. 75km, hilly from the… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 3

Raid Alpine – Day 2

Cluses to Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe. Distance 63km, Elevation Gained 2,200m. '20%' By Rory Chappell (Support Team) Waking up this morning to grey skies after a night of storms isn’t what you imagine when you come away to Southern France for a cycling challenge. That said, it is perfect climbing weather. Today was the first chance some got… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 2

Raid Alpine – Day 1

First Time for Everything First Day Thonon les Bains to Cluses Distance: 81km Climb: 1913m First Team Gathering Lake Geneva First Climb Col de Moises First Celebratory Beer First Day Summary Hot, hot, hot, humid,, hilly, hellishly hard, hurting everywhere, happy it's over ....until tomorrow. Personal Perspective - Alison One of our 'lighter' days today,… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 1

False Start

Here's hoping our initial efforts at organisation are not indicative of how well organised (or not) we are going to be throughout the trip.  John W, already proving his organisational skills, arrived at the agreed time, at the agreed location with all the kit that he'd agreed to bring and most importantly with the Campervan.… Continue reading False Start

The Raid Alpine

It was Helen Matthews, the Deputy CEO of Cure Parkinson's who introduced Claire and I in 2017. We have kept in contact since and met a few times. Helen, knowing that we both had Young Onset Parkinson's and both worked for the NHS, thought we may have a few things to talk about. We found… Continue reading The Raid Alpine

Shades of Grey

Having recently watched 'Belfast' and then 'The Tourist', I was reminded of the time I met the actor Jamie Dornan, originally from '50 Shades of Grey' fame. If laughter is the best medicine, this one photograph has done much good for my health and that of many of my friends. Enjoy a laugh at my… Continue reading Shades of Grey

New Year, New Start

I've been pretty damned good at following a comprehensive exercise programme since diagnosis nearly seven years ago. The suggestion and indeed the emerging evidence that I may be rewarded with a slower disease progression is a pretty good motivator. Despite this knowledge it can be soul destroying to spend each exercise session acutely aware that… Continue reading New Year, New Start

Low Power Mode

When my mobile phone was new, a 100% battery charge would fairly reliably last two, sometimes three days. After a few years of regular use, I'm lucky if a full battery charge keeps my phone functioning reliably until lunchtime. Regularly running on red, I receive frequent messages offering the option of switching to 'Low Power… Continue reading Low Power Mode

Unpredictable (II)

Having written about the unpredictable nature of Parkinson's only yesterday (Unpredictable I), it was reassuring today to be reminded that there are many other things in life that are unpredictable too. My Motivation I was determined to get up and go out cycling this morning, having spent some time the evening before planning a route.… Continue reading Unpredictable (II)

Five Ferries Challenge

Five ferries, a few friends, fabulous weather, fantastic scenery, fun, fun, fun! Five Ferries Route What a stunning day to do the Five Ferries Challenge on the West Coast of Scotland. 118km cycled in beautiful sunshine from early morning until late into the evening. The most spectacular views. Fabulous company and another great challenge completed.… Continue reading Five Ferries Challenge

What If……

The weather forecast looked awful for the entire day today. How easy it would have been to stay home, where it was guaranteed to be warm and dry. We could have been forgiven for curling up on the sofa with the Sunday papers for company and it was certainly tempting. However, then we would have… Continue reading What If……

Time for a Challenge

As an ambassador for the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Barcelona in June 2022, I can get very enthusiastic about the fantastic experience that is the WPC. As a keen cyclist, I can get equally enthusiastic about all things cycling. And before I know it........ (WPC + Enthusiasm) + (Cycling + Enthusiasm) = Inevitable really,… Continue reading Time for a Challenge

Bring Me Sunshine

Cycle with Friends + Glorious Sunshine + Stunning Countryside + Cake & Coffee Break = Reignited Passion for Cycling. A beautiful, easy paced, slightly hilly (despite Caroline's assertions otherwise 😆 ) 40km route, a coffee and home made cake stop before the downhill route home. A perfect morning!

Back in the Saddle

Having successfully resisted all attempts to lure me onto the indoor turbo trainer over the winter months, as spring starts to bring a warmth that has been sorely missed, I don't need much persuading to get out on my bike in the great outdoors again. Tempted out on five of the past ten days, I… Continue reading Back in the Saddle

A Heart Warming Story

I met Jonny in Kyoto last year at the World Parkinson's Congress. He too has Young Onset Parkinson's and he cycles, so naturally, we've followed each other on Facebook and Twitter ever since! He recently tweeted this story and it brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart. I felt compelled to share… Continue reading A Heart Warming Story

A Few Hills Too Many

A hilly ride yesterday with the Sunday morning group. Lovely company, glorious sunshine and a beautiful route but hilly and I found it really hard. No personal bests today and the rest of Sunday was a write off for me as it's taken me 24 hours to recover! Doesn't bode well for The Alps....! I… Continue reading A Few Hills Too Many

A Little More Training….

It doesn't feel right to consider my last few rides as training. They have been in beautiful sunshine, with great company, fabulous cake stops and some of the most stunning countryside. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. Getting faster and fitter is the added bonus! 1. To The Blue Zucchini in Tetbury… Continue reading A Little More Training….

And Counting……

24 Days A few days rest after The Raid Local and already we need a new challenge. A 'Covid Compliant' Alpine Adventure .......in 24 day's time. 777km Cycling 777km from Lake Geneva to Nice. 13,000 13,000 metres of climbing Six Cols Col du TelegraphieCol du GalibierCol de L'IseranCol d'IzoardCol du Cormet de RoselendCol de la… Continue reading And Counting……

A Sunday Cycle

Great to be out with the Sunday Cycling group again. A lovely route out to The Old Prison at Northleach. The company was great, the rain held off until the last ten minutes and the bacon sandwiches at The Old Prison were fabulous. After two weeks away from my bike, the hills felt hard, so… Continue reading A Sunday Cycle

The Peculiarities of Pedalling with Parkinson’s

When I learned that exercise is the only thing that has been shown to slow the progression of Parkinson's, I started cycling, overcoming the numerous obstacles that Parkinson's puts in my way. Amongst many other symptoms, Parkinson's affects my balance and coordination, causes dizziness, muscle cramps, dystonia, rigidity, stiffness, pain, slow movement, tremor, fatigue, poor… Continue reading The Peculiarities of Pedalling with Parkinson’s

With a Little Help From My Friends

Cycling with friends is so much more fun than cycling alone and There are many wonderful people I cycle with regularly. This post is a shout out and huge ‘thank you’ to the other lovely people who have joined me for the occasional cycle ride over the last couple of years. To Alison, Michael and… Continue reading With a Little Help From My Friends

Some Normality

For all sorts of reasons, we haven't cycled together since Lanzarote: Work commitmentsFamily commitmentsThe weatherThe CoronavirusEwan living 450 miles apart from the rest of us! So, it was lovely to cycle today with John A, John A, Roland and Caroline. A socially distant cycle - note the lack of team photos, no sharing of snacks,… Continue reading Some Normality

Lighthearted Learning from Lanzarote

1. Uphill is Hard, Downhill Terrifying! 2. The Heavier We Are, The Harder It Is 3. Regular Rest Stops are Essential 4. The Cycle Tracking App Relates To Your Menstrual Cycle Not Your Bicycle! 5. Rehydration is Vital 6. Team Kit = Team Work 7. Style is a Personal Thing 8. You Can Never Carry… Continue reading Lighthearted Learning from Lanzarote

Quote of the Week

I thought 'Bloody Hell - I'm going to have to wait for Alison again.......and there she was, right behind me!' Anonymous Either, I'm getting quicker or everyone else is getting slower.......sometimes I'm even at the front! Great to have the support of these fabulous guys.

Longest Day

With everyone feeling at least a little better, we set off with some optimism for our last day's cycling. Optimism proved an essential component for our longest day in the saddle...... The Challenges of the Day With different bikes, I struggled to clip into my cleats and should have guessed I would struggle to clip… Continue reading Longest Day

No Plan!

(Just Realised I Hadn't Posted Sunday's Adventures!) Our plan today was to have no plan today. To keep things flexible, have a range of options and see how we felt as the day progressed. Ewan has the same stomach upset that John had, so couldn't cycle this morning. Miraculously, he joined us mid afternoon, feeling… Continue reading No Plan!

Too Windy

20km into the windiest cycle imaginable, I completely lost my bottle! Having been swept across the road more than once I couldn't do today's route. John, putting aside his competitive streak, had the patience of a saint and stayed with me. Finding a roadside cafe, we stopped for a drink, some respite from the wind… Continue reading Too Windy

Team Training

For the first time today, twelve of the Raid Alpine team are getting together for some training in Lanzarote, many of us meeting for the first time. After an easy journey, we arrive at the resort reception and only half an hour later, with our hire bikes fitted, we were ready to cycle together. With… Continue reading Team Training

Guest Blog

TRAINING & TEAM-BUILDING by Ewan MacLean The Cyclopaths have all been training in our own way: individually, in pairs and in a variety of groups. We are only one small part of a much bigger 'Raid Alpine' group who have all been doing the same across many different UK geographic locations. Between us, we have… Continue reading Guest Blog

Mountains to Climb……

After each training session, I check my Strava data - distance cycled, elevation climbed, maximum speed, overall time spent out, time spent moving, etc, etc. Yes, I know, I'm turning into a geek! This time, I also reviewed my stats since January 1st this year. As of 10th February, I had ventured out 17 times,… Continue reading Mountains to Climb……

In a Nutshell

Even I recognise that there is a limit to how many details I can post about cycle training without sending everyone to sleep. So, in a nutshell, in between stormy winds, torrential rain, snow and ice, we have managed to find pockets of calm, dry(ish), warm(ish) weather in which to venture out on our bikes.… Continue reading In a Nutshell

The Original Cyclopaths

I have cycled 1,000s of miles together with these wonderful people. Thank you to the original and very fabulous Vietnam to Cambodia Cyclopaths 2017. Caroline, Chris, Claire, Jim, John, Julia, Marianne, Matt, Mick, Paul, Paula, Roland, Ruth, Sheena & Steve

Mountains to Climb

Bad weather and curiosity got the better of me last weekend and so I subjected myself to an indoor training session on the turbo trainer. Let's be clear, I have absolutely no desire to train on a bike indoors. There is no company, no scenery, no breeze, the dog wants to join in and every… Continue reading Mountains to Climb

Guest Blog

What cycling has taught me about Parkinson's Disease By Paul Jones Thanks very much to Alison, PD fundraiser and networker extraordinaire for letting me guest on her blog. Cycling has always meant freedom to me. As a child growing up in 1970s Hemel Hempstead, cycling set me free to explore the world beyond home and… Continue reading Guest Blog

Against the Wind

The plan: Early startLots of kilometres (90)Lots of hills (1,000m+)A brief coffee stopFast(ish)!Back by 2pm The Weather Forecast: 7-10 degrees ('Toastie")!A 'fresh breeze' The Reality: Early startLots of kilometres (76) - many of them slow due to head on windLots of hills - 1,166m of them with segments of up to 20%For 'fresh breeze' -… Continue reading Against the Wind

Pedalling with Parkinson’s

Parkinson's is a progressive, degenerative disease for which there is currently no cure. Symptoms will get worse over time and the rate of progression will vary significantly from person to person. Amongst many other symptoms, Parkinson's affects balance and coordination, it causes dizziness, muscle cramps, dystonia, rigidity, stiffness, pain, slow movement, tremor, problems with sleep,… Continue reading Pedalling with Parkinson’s

Weather Forecasting

Deciding which weather forecast to use when planning the timing of and routes for our cycle rides is an art form in itself. Cycling for three beautifully sunny hours during a 24 hour period where ice, freezing temperature, gusty winds and rain dominated the weather forecast is nothing short of a miracle! And yet, today… Continue reading Weather Forecasting

Sleepless Night!

Pleased with yesterday's cycle, I started to think about how long it might take to to cycle the first day of The Raid Alpine challenge........ Source: Marmot Tours My Latest Stats Distance: 55km Ascent: 1,100m Moving Time: 3 hours 30 mins moving @ average speed 15.4kmh Duration: 4 hours 30 mins Day 1 The Raid… Continue reading Sleepless Night!

2019 Statistics

The last ride of 2019 made me reflect on the cycling I have done during the year, before turning my attention to the challenges that lie ahead in 2020. My Strava Statistics for 2019 The Strava statistics tell only the numbers, so here's a little personal reflection on the experiences. I cycled nearly 4,000km, predominantly… Continue reading 2019 Statistics