Charity Rides/ Israel 1996

I Happened to be around for the B.H.F (British Heart Foundation) Dorset ride last Sunday. This is a route thats fully marshalled and takes in 3 distances around Dorset for the Sunday crowd, and also the people that want to raise money for B.H.F by doing a charity ride. Starts in Wimbourne and had a great 100 KM ride made longer by a return to the start from Broadstone, and thanks to all the marshalls, there wasn’t one junction turn where I didn’t feel like I  knew which way to go. My winner of  the village of the day goes to Tarrant Keyneston who were celebrating the St. Georges day with a Scout/ Beaver parade led by a Bagpiper, we rolled into the village and saw these guys in their finery and then the swallows up above too back from their journey back from Africa. Wonderful, tweeted the birds I’d seen on the day Swallows, Yellowhammers and Warblers of all sorts and we know how hard it is to identify them correctly.  Thoughts of the British Heart Foundation brought this post about, as I first encountered the charity in 1996. You may have done the London- Brighton ride which is the biggest one of theirs, Dorset ride was the second biggest Im not sure now where it stands.

Tel- Aviv to Eilat 1996
Tel- Aviv to Eilat 1996


My occupation in 1996 was a waiter, finding my way onto another occupation after 5 years ion the railway, and its worth mentioning Charity rides then vs now on this midweek post. Almost daily I see calls on the twitter feed for sponsorship to do bike rides for charities. Short post about this as it was admittedly a long time ago however there seems to be so many of them now its at saturation point, on the start line at 8 only about 50 of us, compared to recent years on this ride where there would be at least a couple of hundred riders. My Israel experience opened a massive new outlook for me in 1996, the people that I met doing this 250 mile  challenge are still memorable to me, great pharmacists, doctors, paramedics and others that had like me made this trip happen. We had been asked for £200 entry fee, and then were tasked with raising £2000 minimum. Even now twenty years on it seems like a lot of money. We left London on an evening to reach Tel Aviv and set up for this desert ride over a week. I had received a commitment of the target from lots of friends, did a local press piece, flew to Cyprus to get some training miles in and was well prepared for the trip. Compared to the charity rides today it seems like more of an effort- the fund raising then was far more face to face- convincing people that it wasn’t a holiday was harder, and thankfully many of the main sponsor were people from the Open University base where I lived  at the time in Milton Keynes.

Israel 1996
Israel 1996



Israel 1996
Israel 1996


My entry for sundays event will have contributed to B.H.F funds somehow, although the postage, copying, medal and distribution costs might total the £15. A workmate recently used the phrase ‘corporate charity’ seems to sum up the G.B situation now. Just a thought. Heres some Larkin which Ive been enjoying.


The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.


What are days for?

Days are where we live.

They come, they wake us

Time and time over.

They are to be happy in:

Where can we live but days?


Ah, solving that question

Brings the priest and the doctor

In their long coats

Running over the fields.


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