A blog from Wallace and Gromit’s Big Adventure

Gil Gib and Richard Bartlett  have cycled 800 miles, from Bilbao to Roscoff on a fundraising adventure for Muscular Dystrophy UK. They cycled 827 miles and climbed 35,173 feet in a challenging trip which saw them raise a total £821.00.

Their determination to support Muscular Dystrophy UK is because Gil’s son and brother-in-law have Becker muscular dystrophy and his wife, daughter and granddaughter are carriers.

We follow the Muscular Dystrophy UK website and its publications very closely for the latest news about research and we have had very good information from the charity when we have contacted them.

They battled 38c temperatures, mountain hills and closed campsites.  Richard and Gil (nicknamed Wallace and Gromit by their cycling club, the Teign Valley Pedal Bashers) are 80 and 77 years old, respectively.

We flew to Bilbao with each bike in a large cardboard box about 5′ 6″ long with these boxes causing quite a bit of chaos both at Bristol and Bilbao airports.

The first part of the journey was along mountain roads (with mountain hills!) The bikes were very heavy and cumbersome with four panniers and a tent strapped to them.

We managed to cycle through to the coast and the French border without collapsing. When we got into France we had to cope with temperatures of up to 38C.  Some of the route we used Google Cycle Routes- they were generally very good but occasionally they led us along some bumpy unpaved tracks, one was only sand and we had to walk some of the way, rather than falling off.

Apparently the routes do save quite a bit of distance and time. During the trip we met many other cyclists travelling on long trips. One family had flown over from the USA and were spending about two months touring. Another family from Belgium had two young girls of 2 and 4 years, they had a lot of their kit in a bicycle trailer. Other families also opted for trailers to carry their kit but I noticed that it was always the lady who towed the trailer!

During the planning, our worst-case time for the trip was 26 days but by pedaling hard we managed to do it in 22 days. On the 23rd day we had a relaxing time in Roscoff doing a bit of shopping and having a lovely lunch of ‘Moules Frites’ (Mussels and chips). They were cooked in a mustard and cream sauce and were the best I have had. We caught the 4:30 ferry and had a really smooth crossing bringing our long adventure to a satisfactory conclusion. The total mileage cycled was 827 miles and 35,173 ft of climbing, not bad for two Oldies!

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