bikes Newsworthy Personal

Thank You!

Friends, I’m touched that so many of you have donated to the charitable causes on whose behalf I’ve cycled the Danube/Ness-Leverburgh/RideLondon100. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Between us we’ve raised £6539-33 for Cancer Research, Macmillan Cancer Support, Bethesda Hospice and Guide Dogs. None of these cycles was easy – they all involved fixed-gear or single-speed bikes, and they all involved pain! Because I don’t wish to impose upon your kindness, the next (95-mile, single-speed) bike ride and the half-marathon are not for charity, just for ‘fun’. And because I value your support, anyone who has sponsored me for any of these bike rides can email me with Short Story as the subject and I will email you back a free, unpublished short story. Can’t say fairer than that. Again, thank you, on behalf of all these charities. Your donations are making a real difference to real people.x


bikes Culture/Arts in General

100-mile single-speed bike ride to raise £££ for Guide Dogs

A happy wee fellow who will one day add to a visually impaired person's quality of life
A happy wee fellow who will one day add to a visually impaired person’s quality of lifeI’m doing a 100-mile cycle (all in one go) on a single-speed bike (a bike with only one gear) – but I’m doing it for charity, not because I like pain!

I’m doing a 100-mile cycle (all in one go) on a single-speed bike (a bike with only one gear) – but I’m doing it for charity, not because I like pain!

That charity is Guide Dogs, a very worthy cause indeed. (Some of you will know I’ve had my own eye problems). Any donations, no matter how big or small, will be most gratefully received.

The 100-mile route starts in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London, where I will follow a modified version of the road race rouvivapicte used in the 2012 Olympic Games. Rather worryingly, Leith Hill and Box Hill feature, both of them leg- and lungbusters, especially on a single-speed bike!

We will ride along closed roads through the capital, and then continue on to the country roads of the Surrey Hills before heading back into central London to cross the finish line in the Mall. I’ll probably collapse a few centimetres after the finish line, but that’s okay!
I’ve been training really hard for this but there’s no doubt it’s going to be one of the toughest days in the saddle I’ve ever had, maybe THE toughest. Here’s the Route Map And Profile.

Profile looks a bit daunting
Profile looks a bit daunting



Please consider sponsoring me for this vital cause:


Fixed-Gear Charity Bike Ride, 130km…It’s Gonna Hurt

As you may know, my mother Peggy MacNeil, who was well known in Lewis and across the airwaves on Isles FM, passed away in August 2011. She spent her last weeks in the amazing Bethesda Hospice and Care Home in Stornoway, and the staff were just brilliant: so caring, helpful and full of humour. They made my mum feel very much at home, and I can’t tell you how much that meant to her friends and family.

A photo of my Mum when she was young.

Now I want to give something back by raising some money for Bethesda. On Monday 7th May 2012 I plan to embark on a sponsored 130km bike ride from Ness, in North Lewis (top of the map), to Leverburgh, in South Harris (bottom of the map, just past all those scary hills). This would be a gruelling ride anyway, but I am going to make it extra challenging for myself by doing it on a fixed-gear bike – which means you can’t change gear or freewheel; you have to pedal literally every inch of the way – even downhill! And going uphill? That’s even tougher than usual as you can’t change gear – there isn’t one to change to!

I’m already in training for what will be the hardest day’s cycling I’ve ever done. And it will all be worth it – Bethesda is a wonderful place that improves the quality of life of so many. I’m hoping that by undertaking this epic ride, I’ll be doing my bit to help the staff continue making such a difference to patients and their families.

And this is where you come in. I’d be so grateful if you would sponsor me. I know money’s tight for most of us right now, but this is a truly worthwhile cause and I would hugely appreciate anything you can give.

Thank you!

With the bike I’ll be using.