So you get to 60+ish years old and what do you do? Go Gardening? Retire and watch daytime TV? Start a jolly new Jigsaw hobby? Or get fit? Gentle wandering walks in the park. Sedentary Swimming or Cycling?
But if you DO take up cycling, what you probably DON’T do is decide to cycle from Birmingham, England… to ISTANBUL, ffs! On a cheap, no Lycra, budget, bone-shaker bike!
Unless your name is John Slater, of course. Now, I’ve known John (he prefers being called Slater) for around 40 years from when we were both young bucks on THE commercial radio station for Birmingham — BRMB — now FREE radio.
I was in Programming and Slater was in Engineering (where the brainy people in radio work!) but it didn’t stop us from eventually becoming good pals and boozing buddies. And some years later, when I started the Maverick Theatre Company and needed some technical assistance, John came to help me out for two days. He ended up ’helping out’ for nearly five years! He learned new theatre skills and now does great things with production companies all over the world. Maverick can’t afford him anymore, but being Slater he, of course always helps out if and when he can.
And that’s another reason why this bike thang is so mad! There was a time a few years ago when we were in our 30s and both cycled to see the brilliant theatre director John Adams in Alvechurch, Warwickshire. It was about 5 miles and John hadn’t had his (cheap) bike for long. I’d only had mine for a few months (50 quid from Halfords, Kings Heath) And neither of us is ‘sporty’ but Slater was slower and more wobbly than even I was! To the point where I became a bit concerned about him!
AND NOW HE’S CYCLING TO ISTANBUL!
Having said that, although a dour techie Scot, once you get to know him, you realise he has a very good heart. So I’m going to cover his mad odyssey here. Come back for updates. And here’s what he wrote on social media about WHY he’s being so mad. Ya gotta love this really…
“I’ve done some longish bike rides but nothing on this scale. I’m a grumpy old git heading from the UK to the edge of the continent, to Asia, to Istanbul — on a cheap bicycle — for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Friends think I’m nuts but my dad was taken by vascular dementia and, when my mother died last November after years with Alzheimer’s, I knew I had to do something to aid the research. Major breakthroughs aren’t far off. Help them make a difference!
I’ve put my own life on hold for a few months to see what I can do. Please join me vicariously on the adventure. Do whatever you can to help the fundraising, spread the word and follow the ups and downs of the ride of my life, your life, our lives…
And to quote Geldof… Give us yer fekkin money…
And please pray the weather’s not as crap as it might be. Thank you!
Whatever happens, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.”
What a stupid, brilliant, mad, idiot. A bit like Geldof was with Live Aid! So amen to that Jonnie!
Come back here soon for more on the ride!