Double Challenge

Posted on Oct 29, 2013

The Westminster to Bath 1,056 Kilometre (660 miles) Double Challenge

Route planning group with map laid out on table

Nigel and Stuart explain their different routes
to members of the support team. Due to the fact
that the cyclist are going from London via Oxford
to Lechlade a long way off Nigel’s route we have
increased the support teams to three.
Left to right Martin Bax, Nigel Arbury. Jason Hares.
Stuart Mardon, Heather Arbury, Les Drage and
Peter Clark

This challenge is to raise funds for the Positron Scanner Appeal.

Nigel Arbury, from Frome, is walking the 160 miles from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster to the RUH.

The route follows the River Thames to Reading and then proceeds along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Bath. The catch is that Nigel has set himself a maximum of 48 hours to complete the task!

Nigel has already walked from Westminster to Devizes to check the route and has confirmed that there will not be any time to stop for a rest along the way!

A man of a few words, Nigel’s only comment on the task ahead was “Failure is not an option!”

Not someone who does things by halves Nigel has challenged two of his cyclist friends Stuart Mardon of Bath and Tom Barnard of Chippenham to race him back to Bath. Just to make it a little more interesting, the pair will cycle 250 miles on fixed gear bikes only travelling during daylight hours. Their route will follow the Thames Valley Cycle Route to Oxford, then on through Witney to Lechlade. They will then double back to Reading and carry on their journey along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Bath. Stuart said that he had an “Initial sense of trepidation; however on reflection it is a fantastic challenge and gives us both something to work and train towards. Initial analysis of the route shows that this will be a challenging one especially on fixed gear bikes. Both Tom and I have taken part in many charitable bike rides however this one will certainly be this year’s jewel in the crown!”

Nigel, Stuart and Tom training along the Kennet and Avon Canal near Bradford on Avon.

Nigel, Stuart and Tom training along the Kennet and
Avon Canal near Bradford on Avon.
Left to right Stuart, Nigel and Tom

The trio will set off at 1.30 pm on Thursday September 12 after enjoying a lunch at the Houses of Parliament hosted by the Somerton and Frome MP David Heath. Joining the send off party will be BCUSG Chairman of Trustees John Carter. Don Foster the MP for Bath and the vice-patron of the appeal is fully supportive of the challenge. The participants aim to arrive at the RUH just before 1.30 pm on Saturday 14 September to a welcoming party lead by the patron of the appeal, The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Malcolm Lees.

Heading the support team will be Martin Bax. This will be the eleventh challenge that he has organised with Nigel. The first one was sixteen years ago in April 1997 also for the Support Group to raise money for a radiotherapy scanner.

Joining Martin will be Les Drage, of Westbury who was Nigel’s running partner on most of his previous challenges until a double hip operation prevented him from participating. His task now is to keep Nigel company through the night! Nigel’s wife Heather, who is a staff nurse at the RUH is also in the support team and joining from the original 1997 challenge is Simon Tozer who now lives in Folkestone. Completing the team is Jason Hares from Bristol, Peter Clark and Amie Miller from Frome. Amie, along with Nigel, Stuart, Tom and Jason all work for Wilts Electrical Wholesalers of Trowbridge. Wilts have agreed to sponsor all the transport and fuel required to successfully complete the challenge. Cathryn Gallacher has agreed to be the official photographer.

All other costs will be absorbed by the team and therefore all the money raised will go towards the Positron Scanner Appeal.

STOP PRESS A big thank you to Butcher Nigel Williams of Badcox Frome who is sponsoring the food. While Longridge Adventure Centre, at Marlow and the Craven Arms, at Enborne near Newbury, are sponsoring the camping for the cyclists overnight accommodation.

If you wish to support the challenge please visit westminsterchallenge or telephone Martin Bax on 01373 464912.

Pictures kindly taken by Cathryn Gallacher