For his 30th consecutive day of training his body to withstand sub-zero temperatures using the Wim Hof method, with up to five minutes in a cold bath every day, Robin stepped up his game and challenged himself to withstand a solid ten minutes, outdoors, in an ice-filled paddling pool.
Having Boris-biked from Brixton to Brighton, it seemed only right to give Limebikes the same treatment. I started looking for places with Lime in the name and quickly found a route from Dorset to Edinburgh, which would run from Lyme Regis to Limekilns by Limebike.
The catch was that it was 550 miles, it would take (at best) 6 days to get there and back, and Limebikes were charged at 15p per minute. A quick bit of maths showed that this would likely cost £1296 – EACH -so it was crucial to get the company on board.
It’s also worth mentioning again that they are E-bikes, designed to give you a boost when pedalling away from traffic lights and, in the words of the companies CEO, ‘Be difficult to throw up a tree’.
This meant two things:
- There is a battery with a range of about 40 miles and that battery would definitely run out long before we reached Scotland.
- The bikes are HEAVY, 35kg to be precise.
So it might seem easy to ride a power assisted bike the length of the country, but it was sounding harder by the minute.
I’ve been helping Ruth‘s brother Robin (of Challenge Robin 1 & 2 and Thames Path walk fame, among many, many, many, other things) to launch himself a new blog, expanding on the ideas of 52 Reflect (his previous site, most-recently mentioned when I joined him in a midwinter mountaineering expedition the winter before last) to create a site all about his many varied and amazing adventures. If you like to see one man do bloody stupid things in an effort to push himself to his physical limits, explore the world, and see amazing places… go take a sneak peek at his new, under construction and changing every day, site: The Improbable Blog.
Oh, and there’s gonna be a podcast too, for those of you into such things.
Truly in the style and spirit of Challenge Robin / Challenge Robin II, this sweary idiot decides to try to cross Wales in as close as possible to a completely straight line, cutting through dense woods, farms, rivers, hedgerows and back gardens. Cut up by barbed wire, stung by nettles, swimming through freezing rivers, and chased by farmers, it makes for gruelling, hilarious watching. Link is to the four-hour playlist; put it on in the background.
It all started out as a joke.
Last year, Robin Varley and his friend Sergio thought it would be an amusing challenge to pedal the 50-odd mile gap between Brixton and Brighton using only London’s colloquially-named Boris Bikes. The trip lasted just over 10 hours, including a brief photo op with Gatwick police, and set the pair back a modest sum of 40 GBP.
This year Robin enlisted the help of fellow adventure-seeker Magnus Mulvany, and while the duo kept the alliterative theme of the campaign they opted for a significantly more daunting circuit.
You heard about it here first, probably, but here’s Lime Bikes’ write-up of Robin and Magnus’s adventure.
Remember ‘Conquer The Twatts’?
Fair enough – well last year Magnus, our good friend Sergio and I hitch-hiked from Brick Lane (London) to Twatt (Orkney, Scotland) 766 miles way. We did it in 32 hours thanks to the generous nature of the people that helped out – including drivers, a pilot and a ferry service (thanks again, you amazing humans!!).
We raised 4 x our intended amount and arrived back in London with time to spare and, frankly, a hankering to do it all over again.
So like Shackleton, Fiennes and Thomas Stevens before us, on the 19th April 2019 Magnus and I – dressed in lime green morph suits – will depart Lyme Regis, Dorset on Lime Bikes (Google them, they’re awesome) For Limekilns, Scotland – 500 miles away (sadly Sergio won’t be joining us for this one)
As with last year, we’re raising for the Campaign Against Living Miserably.
Unlike last year we’re working in association with Lime Bike, who have given us their full support for this trip – so a massive thank you to Conor and the UK team for endorsing us two idiots!
Ruth‘s brother, whom you may recall me writing about during Challenge Robin I and Challenge Robin II (and the impact the weather had on it, and on me), our New Year’s ascent of Ben Nevis, or my ill-fated bet that he couldn’t jump a river, is on his latest adventure. Following in the footsteps of his effort to conquer the Twatts (which I shared previously), and reminiscent of his cycle to Brighton on a Boris Bike, he’s once again raising money for the Campaign Against Living Miserably with an outrageous adventure well-worthy of your support.
This time around, he and his friend Magnus are riding Lime e-bikes from Lyme Regis, which is almost as far South as you can get in mainland UK, to Limekilns, which is on the “other” side of the Firth of Forth (where the wildlings live). Like Challenge Robin II, there was a fuck-up with the trains and I had to drive him from Oxford to Lyme Regis, but at least I got to find a couple of geocaches while I was down there (one, two).
Anyway: you can follow his adventure via Instagram, but what you really ought to do is go donate money to the cause: or if he’s heading broadly your way: offer him a bed for the night so he doesn’t have to kip in a tent while his batteries charge in the nearest friendly pub.
Funny: I’ve manufactured a cache container similar to this once, too, but for a very-different (and distinctly more-urban) environment (GC54F7V): seems like a bit of a strange design for a rural setting! My geo-sense spotted the hiding place right away but Robin struggled for a bit with this unusual container: he was determined to get “inside” it in some other way than the correct way, e.g. by poking, swinging, bashing, or blowing. It’s my fault, really: some of the Challenge Robin puzzle boxes were pretty devious and involved exactly that kind of manipulation to get at their contents, yesterday.
Soon, I suggested the correct way to open the container and all was well. Great location; TFTC.
Between the coordinates and the title we were very soon hunting in the right location, but it took the combination of my sharp eyes and my geobuddy Robin’s hardy fingers to extract this cache from its tight and thorny home. Good location, and a fabulous hide.
Thanks for sharing this great series with us; we may not have done the whole thing (and didn’t do ANY of it in the approved order) but we enjoyed it very much. TFTCes!
Suspected missing; no finds in most of a year and plenty of DNFs.
Suggesting that this is archived:
(a) definitely not there (no finds this year, as many DNFs this year as finds last year)
(b) CO appears to have not logged-in in over four years
Again, we found ourselves reminded that we were doing this series backwards when we briefly puzzled over the title of this cache… before remembering that for others, taking the series in the expected order, they would be getting onto (rather than off, like us) the road at this point. We briefly overshot the GZ but Robin – his geo-sense really coming into its own now and flushed with success after his good showing at GC4HW6W – quickly spotted the “obvious” hiding place for this cache and retreived it.
Done heading East, we were glad to be able to turn to the North-West and start heading back to our accomodation, where snacks and a hot tub awaited.
Swiftly found, but we stared for longer than might be expected at the container before working out which bit of it we had to interact with in order to get access to the log. Embarassing, really. Sploshing away through the mud, we pressed on.
Robin’s first experience of a container like this one (combined with my GPSr, which for a little while couldn’t decide which side of the road we belonged on) slowed him down here: I found the cache quickly but let him find it for himself with as few clues as I could bare to provide. Log in spectacularly-good condition, but a little challenging to retreive without the preferred tool to-hand (I’d not brought out my usual geokit bag). TFTC.
Despite having used the facilities in the pub we’d just left, Robin had needed to stop and relieve himself no less than twice during this stretch of the journey: somehow the three pints he’d enjoyed at The Packet had gone right through him. Meanwhile, I powered ahead for this, another quick find.
Despite the warnings in the cache description, we found the path here to be less wet than we had in the vicinity of GC1EA55, earlier: now that had gotten swampy underfoot!