Friday, 26 February 2010

Spreading the Word

As part of my attempts to spread the word and raise local sponsorship for the Paris to Venice ride I've added a couple of Twitter accounts.

@IneedaBike is pretty obvious! I want to give a sponsor, preferably a local one, loads of lovely publicity in exchange for the use of a suitable bike for the six months of training and the ride itself.

@JSmithCycling is where I'll also promote products via my affiliate links for Evans Cycles, Wiggle and Affiliate Window. You'll also see occasional products from Clickbank on there - these always come with a 60-day full money back guarantee, by the way.

Finally, you'll see I've added a Facebook page called 'Pedalling from Paris to Venice' to my account

Add to this my Just Giving pages, clickable from the widgets on these pages, and you've plenty of opportunities to chip in.

Speaking of which, I'll be investigating ChipIn at the first opportunity, too!


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Monday, 15 February 2010

What's So Special About Will Carling?

I'm sure Will Carling is a really nice guy, and I'll accept he's a little bit more famous than I am.

He might even have shapelier thighs (a big thing for cycling groupies, I imagine).

He certainly has more powerful friends in the Twitterverse:

But the fact is, he's only doing London to Paris - just over 500 km, whereas I'll be starting where the former England captain leaves off - almost exactly.

Our ride starts in Paris, heads for the nearest hills on the way into Germany, then south into the Austrian and Swiss Alps, before crossing the Dolomites and finishing over 1200 km later, in Venice.

So, it's much further, it's a lot hillier and we'll be carrying all our own kit. Will Carling could probably do it (although he might expect a bit of help from the forwards with his luggage), but the fact is, he isn't.

I am. So Make a Wish Foundation and Multiple Sclerosis Society will be really pleased if you can all stop admiring Will's admittedly more muscular physique and just put your hands in your pockets, or more accurately, your mouse pointer on either of the two Just Giving widgets on this page.

If the widgets aren't showing, go to the blog front page at

Thanks. And I'm sure Mr Carling won't mind, either.


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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Is There a Bike Hire Shop in Suffolk?

For the last few days we've spent some time brainstorming fund-raising ideas for another project, and I have to say the Warrior Forum members have been coming up with some great ideas that I might steal for myself :-)

So it occured to me that the Paris-Venice trip will be even more lucrative for the charities concerned - and remember each team member will probably have their own causes - if I open up this opportunity for suppliers to contribute in exchange for loads of lovely goodwill and publicity.

For the last trip, a bike shop in Norwich supplied half a car load of spares on a sale or return basis - and every single spare was returned unused. There wasn't even a puncture between the four riders over two weeks in the Pyrenees.

(To be fair, one team member broke his seat bolt on the final day, but they didn't have a spare for that.)

So there's actually no reason to believe that supporting me on the trip will cost a switched-on local bike shop a penny. As I've already said, the trip will be self-funded - it's just equipment 'hire' and spares I'm looking for. And as we'll be unsupported, we won't be carrying too many spares!

You will receive:

Frequent expressions of undying gratitude (ie, PR and advertising) from me on Twitter, Facebook, this blog, forums, online press releases, at networking events and probably in the local press. If it helps, note that I'm the 'most influential twitterer' in Bury St Edmunds...

And I just need:

1. Supply or loan of a suitable bike in time to do most of my training on it over the spring and summer. I will need to keep up with fit (younger!) people on road bikes on the flat and be able to climb Alpine passes, with luggage, so a tourer or possibly a hybrid with pannier racks and wide-ranging gears will be essential. As a guide, gears need to be something like 28/38/48 front and 14-32 rear.

We won't be racing, but John is seriously talking about doing 100-120 miles on day two, to get to the hills quicker!

2. Spare tyres, tubes and repair kit. I expect to wear out a set of tyres, but there's a good chance you'll get the spares back unused. Puncture-resistance is essential. Probably 700x32 tyres.

3. Probably panniers. I have my own but I expect I'll need a larger pair for this trip.

4. A few clothing items, but we will be carrying the minimum possible!

Hey - if you want to chip in for my rail fare in exchange for even more gratitude, kudos and cheap publicity, don't be shy! Eurostar is apparently only £49 to Paris, where we'll start the ride, and the train back from Venice to Paris can be as little as £42.

If all that publicity is too much to bear, you can donate anonymously via the Just Giving widgets on this page or buy your own cycling and outdoor gear through the Wiggle and Evans Cycles links at top right instead. I'm donating at least 50% of commissions earned to the two charities.

In case you've forgotten, or this is your first visit, my two charities are Make a Wish Foundation and Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Thanks for reading!


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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Getting Quite Excited!

So, a couple of training weekends have now been lined up to help us prepare for the Paris to Venice trip; the Yorkshire Dales in April and the Cotswolds in May.

We'll also do some miles around East Anglia - you have to do some miles to find any hills! - and possibly another coast to coast in July or August. John mentioned camping on that one, just so we can carry loads of weight and get really fit, or possibly knackered.

Anyway, it all starts to feel very real now and we really are getting quite excited!

One of the ways we justify these trips to ourselves is by raising a bit of money for our favourite charities. To be honest, we would do the rides anyway (and of course we fund the trips ourselves) but I've already set up two Just Giving pages and added the widgets to this blog so you can easily donate as well.

And you can hardly miss the links to Evans Cycles and Wiggle! I'm donating half of all commissions from these two excellent online shops to the charities, too. Both stores offer excellent value online with massive discounts, especially when you include free delivery, too.

So, if you buy anything through these links, let me know which charity you'd prefer to support, otherwise I'll just split it equally between the two: Multiple Sclerosis Society and Make a Wish Foundation.

Thanks in advance, and excuse the excitement!


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