Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Oh the Places You'll Go!

A while ago, I signed up for The Secret Thing as part of Team Honk.I didn't know much about The Secret Thing, except that:
1. I am curious. And I needed in so that I could find out what the secret thing was.
2. It was for Sports Relief.
3. It was being organised by blogging royalty. I will go where they lead me. MammasaurusMummy Barrow and The Alexander Residence.
4. I needed a physical challenge, to sign on a dotted line so that I could not back out.
5. I have a tendency to slip into shyness and insecurities. But ain't nobody got time for that.  So I try to force myself out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. What a great scary challenge to go forth and meet people off of the internets that I don't know. (Except that initially, no one else from Oxford signed up! Billy-no-mates here felt like an online LOOOSEEER. But more on that later.)

Of course The Secret Thing was the amazing Team Honk 2014 Blogger Relay and I was in!

Team Honk 2014: Bloggers zigzagging around 3,000 miles across the UK in a baton relay and aiming to raise £20,000 for Sports Relief.

My given "assignment" was to cover nearly sixty miles from Oxford to Chipping Sodbury, passing the baton off to the Bristol crew.

"I can do that!"
Says me- whose only current form of exercise is walking the dog and pushing pushchairs to and from school.
I have a very bad sense of ability, and tend to be optimistic in terms of distance and speed.
Anyway, to get to the point, I decided that biking would be the best option.

Luckily, we've got Rob on board to run the first ten miles.
We've also got Kelly, Frankie and Kath (non bloggers) who I begged to join me.
And I am so excited/nervous!

So many details, I don't know where to begin.
I'll start by sharing some of the awesomeness that I have been enjoying in my life since the plans were unveiled.

Biking in Oxford is common.  Bikers are everywhere. So I know that many people wouldn't consider biking this distance to be much of a challenge.
But for me; it is.
I pretty much haven't used my bike much since 2001. ish?

I was working as a waitress in a cafe in Jericho.
That much is true.
I used to bus and walk and skate to work,
I guess it's what I had to do.

My Aunt and cousins came to visit as a surprise, and decided to buy me a bike.
That made such a huge difference to my life.
I saved on bus fare; I had independence, and it was good.
And it's still going strong (ish).

I stopped using it because I don't get on with the child seat on the back.  And I have had young kids for the past nine years. 
Pathetic. I know. Especially after seeing a mother biking a triple tandem bike with 2 kids on the back yesterday.
But I work from home, I don't need to commute.
School is within walking distance.
I had no time for recreational biking.

And now I have made time.
For "training".

Overly keen, I went out for my first proper ride.
9 miles.
I mapped out a route, but I was nervous about timing and if I would make it back for school pick ups.
So I pushed it too hard and made it all about speed.
And wore button jeans.
Gave myself nasty stitches and honestly felt quite sick and worried that I wasn't ready for this challenge after all.

But I carried on, choosing routes that were not quite as hilly and wearing elastic waistband trousers and going at a sensible pace.
Playing action hero biker with imaginary bad guys shooting machine guns behind you certainly is fun and makes you push yourself speed wise, but there is not much point to that if you collapse.

I've been having fun, planning my routes, and taking in the scenery in our neighbourhood. 
Places that I wouldn't normally see.
I like going somewhere different every time, but we did go back and try that first route the other day and I handled it much better.

I've seen some gorgeous sunsets this past month.
Ones that I would have other wise missed if I had not been out on my bike and used the "I really need to train" excuse to go out and explore.

Alone. Peaceful and Content.

The longest route that I've done so far took me over 17 miles into neighboring countryside. I passed by places that my Great-Grandfather-in-law had talked about in his memoirs.
These were the same roads that he had biked in all weather, to and from school, farm jobs, markets, home...

I loved making that connection.
I'll be reading that again and doing the route again soon, I'm sure.

I've also learnt to be more responsible.
Sort of.
I now own my first visibility vest. Which is good if you are stubborn and insist on leaving for a massive route even though you know that you left it too late in the day.
Country roads get DARKdark and I'll need better lights if I was to do that again.

Biking past the Airport Runway

There is so much more to share. So much more to see- the baton is already well on it's way and has seen some amazing sights already.   Have a look!

Next: Meet the Team: Oxford Team Honk

The first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
As one of the biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world.
Team Honk fundraising page : 
Text donate number: Text HONK to 70005 and donate £5 to Sport Relief .
  • The Team Honk Blogger Relay starts in Lands End on the 12th January 2014 and finishes in John O Groats on the 23rd March 2014.
  • We aim to raise over £20,000 for Sport Relief.
  • In terms of modes of transport, you name it we have thought of it: pushchair pushes, roller blading across the Humber, boating round Bristol, #Honkopoly around London, fancy dress, onesies, bikes, scooters, planes, hiking, rafting and mountain climbing.
  • #teamhonkrelay involves over 200 bloggers, their friends and families in a route that zig zags up the UK taking in 38 regional teams.
  • Here you can see the official regional route details and dates for the relay :
  • The Team Honk Story so far has info on Red Nose Day last year.
Team Honk 2014 blogger Relay


  1. congratulations!!
    what a positively good story with beautiful photos as well.
    be proud, katie!

  2. I really hope the weather is kind to you all

  3. You did an amazing job at organising Katie very well doe


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