July 1991 This is it. No popping back home now in five minutes. Home was two days and
according to my log, 523 miles away. If the tent leaked I had no car to shelter in, if I
needed company, I had no one to speak to. It had
taken twenty one years to get into this situation, so I had better enjoy it. And I was.
What situation? This situation, of having a tent, and camping alone in Scotland. The
motorcycle aspect only entered 1974.
Let me explain.
In 1970 I applied to join the Hertfordshire Police cadets. I can remember very little of
the day spent at the H.Q. but I can recall being interviewed (by a Chief Super?) who
realising that perhaps I had led a
sheltered life, suggested I should: "... take a tent and go camping in
Scotland." I think I effectively destroyed any chance of a Police career by asking,
"Why, Sir?" Three months later I received a letter saying that because "...
of your health, I am afraid we can no longer offer you a position in the Force",
which allowed them to refuse me without telling the truth, i.e. I was totally unsuitable.
Four years later I found myself in a job seventeen miles from home. I purchased, as an
additional form of transport, a BSA Bantam, a D10 Sports model for £55. This had as much
go as a Raleigh Wisp, probably due to the D7 piston in the D10 cylinder. On my country
lane journey home, I found myself thinking once again of camping. I toyed with the idea
and came to the conclusion that it was impractical. The Bantam died and so did the idea.
So, how come then, many years later, I found myself lying in a tiny tent, listening to
rain falling on the flysheet and wondering how waterproof the electrics are on a thirty
year old ex police "Noddy" bike? It didn't happen quickly but several ideas came
together over a period of months. Summarised, the conversations with my wife were:
"I've always wanted to travel from John O'Groats to Land's End."
"Do it then! You've got the Vulgar Velo to go on."
"But it's over 2000 miles, round trip, from here. I'll be gone for a week."
"So? I'll survive. Anyway, it'll be nice to have the house to myself and the children
for a week." (For "children", read "cats", five of the little
darlings, to be precise.) She continued,
"BUT," (why is there always a BUT to put restrictions on an idea?)
"I'll only let you go if you get sponsorship and raise money for my charity."
"Her" charity, to explain, is Lynn's favourite, Dreams Come True, which will be
described in detail later but briefly, it is a charity that makes dreams come true for
seriously and often terminally ill children.
That is how the idea came about. My cousin promised me the loan of his tent. I had an
extremely well designed, if old, small and rather slow motorcycle but most of all, I had a
real reason to do it, not just to realise a dream of my own, but to help dreams to come
true for children who have neither the ability nor time to realise their own.