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Cycling – What a pain in the bum!!

Day 28: 25th June 2015. Weight: 19st 5lb (+4lb). Weather: Overcast (again). Cuml. Distance Cycled: 16.5miles

To continue the story from where we left off, I was bikeless and about to start training for a 55 mile cycling challenge for Cumbria Community Foundation.  What was the first thing to do?  Of course, the sensible thing would be to get a bike – for me it was to go on a two-week all inclusive family holiday to Turkey!

The point of mentioning this isn’t to boast, but to point out that from starting as 19st 1lb of idiot, I went up to 19st 7lb of idiot thanks to a wonderful diet of sumptious food and free beer on tap.  My already challenging challenge just became a lot more challenging!

Disaster then struck on my return from holidays, my training compadre and dad Paul got some bad news from the doctors, he has to have an exploratory operation on his knee so is sadly not able to join me on my exploits in attempting to raise much needed funds for Cumbria Community Foundation.  6lbs heavier in weight didn’t come near to how heavier my heart felt that I wouldn’t be able to share this experience with my dad.  I felt quite scared!

But as the great Carlisle United have emblazoned on their crest, “Be Just and Fear Not”, as when you are down people around you will help!  I have been overwhelmed by the support shown by my family and friends in setting off on this challenge, in particularly by my friends in Maryport Round Table 292 who have offered much support – especially our youngest member Nick Hayton who has appointed himself as my very own Sir Dave Brailsford!

My dad has also lent me a bike!  So on the Monday following our holidays I went over to my mum and dad’s to collect said bike and ride it home.  Wearing a t-shirt, denim shorts and trainers as it was a blisteringly hot day, I decided to ride from my parents home in Brigham to Cockermouth and then back to where I live in Great Broughton to start my training.

Then I discovered something fundamental about cycling.  It is a pain in the bum.  Literally.  By the time I had cycled to Cockermouth I was almost in tears.  I thought to myself “What have I signed myself up for?! I’ve only done 2.5 miles and my bum is telling me that this saddle may as well be some sort of medieval torture device” at this point I had only one option, get myself to 4Play Cycles in Cockermouth and ask for help.

What riding a bike in denim shorts feels like
What riding a bike in denim shorts feels like

Once in the shop, I went up to the owner Adam and exclaimed “Give me something that will stop my bum hurting!”  In reflection, possibly not the best choice of words to say, loudly, in a busy bike shop.  I think a number of people may have made a few instantaneous judgements about my life choices at that point.

Adam instantly recognised the problem.  “You have been cycling with denim shorts on?  Are you actually insane?!”  To which I pleeded ignorance and followed up with the rather humble “Well it’s quite warm today……”

Adam gave me some great advice about how to prepare for the challenge ahead and the necessity of getting the right kit for the job.  He sold me a pair of cycling shorts with wonderful padding.  Once I got back on the bike it was akin to sitting on a feather pillow in comparison to the previous medieval torture device.  My ride home was comfortable and I completed my first 6.5 miles.

Since then I have been given a decent training route by Maryport Round Tabler Nick “Brailsford” Hayton and have got another 10 miles under my belt, including some long and short steep hills around Broughton Moor and Dearham.  I have also dropped some weight from my peak of 19st 7lb!

For all of this effort, I hope that the sponsor money, like my bike, will come rolling in.  IF you would like to sponsor me, please visit

The Start of a Journey

Day 1: 28th May 2015.  Weight: 19st 1lb.  Weather: Overcast, windy but a hint of sun

Yesterday I received an unexpected phone call.  “Hello is that Councillor Davis-Johnston?  It’s Glenys Kett here from Cumbria Community Foundation.”  My first official call as a newly elected councillor is from Cumbria Community Foundation, I wonder what they want!?  “Have you heard of the Rivers Ride 2015?  We were wondering whether you would like to take part?”

I am Adrian, I’m a 32 year old father of one with an arthritic spine, borderline obesity and a penchant for all things Bryson’s who tends to avoid organised torture events for charity.  I am also passionate about my community and have a great admiration of the work that Cumbria Community Foundation does.  My answer to Glenys’ question was an immediate “Yes of course” followed by a “how long is the bike ride?”  The answer; 35, 55 or 75 miles.

ADJNow I have many years ago done a long distance bike ride, but this was pretty flat, was over 3 days and I was probably about 2 stone lighter.  With all these considerations taken into account, I have decided to plumb for the 55 mile challenge and have also roped in some great support from my Dad, Paul, who is also going to do the challenge with me.  My new year’s resolution was to lose weight and get fit, and on the 1st January 2015 I was 20 stone and quickly lost two stone.  Since then I have put on another stone, so this challenge is a great way to refocus my efforts onto my overall aim.  Interestingly, the route of the Rivers Ride will take in most of my Allerdale Borough Council ward of Derwent Valley and I look forward to getting to know the roads intimately on my bike.  As you can see from the photo, when I was leafleting the ward in the election, the hills took it out of me, I hope wheeled transport will be a help!!

My primary motivation however is to support the work of Cumbria Community Foundation.   I can remember vividly how the Foundation has supported our county in times of hardship and need from the Foot and Mouth Crisis to the 2009 Cumbrian Floods which this bike ride commemorates, but for me it’s the day-to-day work of the Foundation that is the most inspiring, working with people of our county that need support, from young people to old people, from a variety of backgrounds.  The work the Foundation does is inspiring, it isn’t just a body that hands out money, it is an organisation that epitomises Cumbrian culture – we look after each other and we look out for each other.  I am proud to be a Cumbrian and I am proud to support the Foundation by putting in a little bit of work and getting my fat bum off the sofa and on the bike.  I hope people will be equally inspired to join in or to sponsor me at

After putting my name squarely in the frame I now have a bit of a plan to get myself motivated and get myself fundraising, but before all that there is one essential item of equipment I need – a bike!!

Wish me luck!