Lockdown Blog

I know it’s been some time since my last Blog. I hope you have survived the last few months and have managed despite restrictions to have done some travelling, cycling, hiking or other outside activities. It would be great to hear of your adventures and activities that you have managed to do during the last 8 months of Covid-19 crisis and any plans you have after the current November lockdown.

As on my first Blog of this series, I have continued my daily exercises in my home gym for 15 to 20 minutes per day supplemented once a week since early September with a visit to my gym which has been well organised and seems safe, and indeed feels safer than going to a supermarket!

Now of course, we are locked down again but the prospect of a vaccine, hopefully will change all this in 2021.

Trip wise, since July, Janice and I have made a point of having monthly short breaks away in the UK with a bias on self-catering. In July we stayed 4 nights in a Holiday Property Bond (HPB) self-catering accommodation near Folkestone, Kent

which gave us the opportunity to complete our walk of the Kent Coast Path from Dover to Rye

In August we went stayed at the Norfolk HPB site near Norwich for a week , again self-catering, and made daily sorties to the North Norfolk coast and met up with our family including our 2 grandchildren.

In September, we stayed a couple of nights in The New Forest at the Balmer Lawn Hotel (well recommended). Their Covid protocol was brilliant. In October we had another two nights at a hotel near Tham

which allowed us to complete the first half of The Ridgeway long distance trail from Watlington to Streatley on the Thames . By the way, Watlington is a delightfully quaint Oxfordshire town at the foot of the Chiltern Hills, just off the M40. We can well recommend the High Street for a browse, the Granary Tea Shop and then nearby walks in the Chilterns Hills.

The new Lockdown put paid to our planned November trip to the HPB site hidden away in the Southern Lake District. I would have had an excellent opportunity there for some cycling and hiking. We will reorganise this trip early next year. If allowed, over Christmas, we have another HPB self-catering week in Dorset on the Isle of Purbeck, near Swanage, just a mile from the sea. Our family will stay in an adjacent separate apartment.

So, you can see, it is possible to arrange safe staycation trips keeping away from the popular tourist honeypots. What have you managed to do during this difficult period?

In anticipation that this 2nd wave of Covid will have sufficiently reduced by March and with the vaccine rollout, I am tentatively arranging cycle trips with an emphasis on UK destinations, but, hopefully, also one into each of France (Paris), Italy, Ireland and Mallorca as well of course to my old favourite, Lanzarote. Furthermore, Janice and I hope to be able to go on our planned Western Canadian Car and Train Tour in June 21 postponed from last June. Here is are the planned events for 2021 subject to Covid-19 easing.

1.Challenge Sophie London to Paris in 24 Hours Saturday 1st to Monday 3rd May. There are presently around 140 signed up, transferred from the deferred events this year.

2. Italian C2C – deferred from May 20, this private event is now set for Tuesday 11th to Saturday 15th May. There are presently around 16 participants which could rise to 20. Dates may be subject to possible change by a few days either way.

3. Connemara Ireland – deferred from July 20, this private event is now set from Wednesday 14th to Monday 19th July. There are currently around 10 participants which could also rise further. The event is also open to non-cycling partners who will have their own itinerary which will dovetail into that of the cyclists.

4. ​North Scotland 500 – a brand new ambitious venture which will take place over a full week. The route will be 500 miles from Inverness across to the North West Coast up to Cape Wrath (the NW tip of the mainland) returning through the interior to Inverness. The event will be marketed through Challenge Sophie and is likely to take place from Saturday 29th May to Sunday 6th June, during the late spring bank holiday week. Participants are likely to be limited to a maximum of 30.

5. English Lakes – a new 4 day charity ride from Sunday April 25th to Wednesday April 28th for 25 to 30 participants.

6. Lanzarote – the island is presently now visitable again from December without quarantine on return to the UK. Of course, there’s no guarantee this will continue. However, I hope to make a return trip in March if Covid-19 restrictions allows.

7. Riccione Italy- Assuming that Italy becomes visitable again in 2021 without quarantine on return then there is a very attractive deal available in a 3*+ hotel in Riccione as a base for daily cycle rides into the beautiful interior. Support would be provided locally so this option provides opportunities for you to have an economic but quality cycling holiday on any dates around April/June and September/October.

8. Tech Bikers – there are presently no plans for rides in 2021. However, it is hoped that the Paris to Londonwill recommence as well as the deferred Mallorca Ride. I guess we shall not have confirmation until at least early 2021. Any Tech Bikers reading this, do get in touch to express your interest in future rides.

9. English C2C – plans for a weekend event marketed by Challenge Sophie – likely sometime between July and September.

10. One Day Rides – In the Chilterns – 60 to 100 miles, arrowed and supervised – various dates to be announced– open to all.

11. ​Croatia – It is hoped that a cycle trip to Croatia, one of my favourite European destinations, can also be arranged during 2021.

12. Iceland Adventure planned for 2022– this is not a dedicated cycling event. Over 2 weeks we will explore most of the Icelandic highlights by 4WD, interspersed by short hikes and cycling and miscellaneous features such as whale watching. Likely dates Saturday 25th June to Monday 12th July. Itinerary details will become available later in November 2020.

Watch out for more information on each of these events as the time approaches. Meanwhile please keep safe.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan


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