A 2000+ mile journey supporting Ankylosing Spondylitis research
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Team pit and workshop
The mighty Aprilia before modification
Top box, luggage rack & front day run/fog lights fitted
Sqn Ldrs Charles & Stuart doing serious planning at kitchen HQ
The support vehicle, Charles's mighty 'Italian Job' inspired Land Rover Series IIa, (note the worrying tow ball on the front!)
Further planning meeting at Kitchen HQ.
Major strides forward have been made. It was decided that Stuart will obtain a smaller 125-200cc bike to keep me company otherwise he'd get bored! Charles has worked out a clever Land Rover to bike Bluetooth coms system so we can all find each other! Due to our general lack of speed across Europe, we might become a rolling roadblock! To that end, we are purchasing an LED rolling message board for the rear of the Land Rover. We can then either advertise your firm for a small charitable fee, or advise we apologise for the lack of speed. Found one on eBay last night which translates from English into Arabic, Russian and Chinese, sadly nothing in French or German, I'll keep looking!
Plt.Off. Nickson's new Shark helmet with BluTooth. Many thanks to Dave Phillips of Nevis Marketing for this donation to the cause, its brilliant!
At last Stuart has bought a motorcycle! He is now the proud owner of a really cool Aprilia Shiver 750. He's going to be really bored travelling at 35mph on this!
I think I've eventually found a mechanic who fits the bill! Nice shoes don't you think?
Weekend work stripping and re-spraying scooter panels, not a bad job for an amateur!
Check out the handmade back rest, (thank you Peter) hopefully it will help my spine and make the trip slightly more comfortable!
New exhaust pipe! Thank you Simon Tobin of BlockageGone,... goodness this beauty will have doubled the value of my scooter!
From right to left, Sqd. Ldr. Garrard on the cool Aprilia 750 Shiver. Sqd. Ldr. Harvery hanging out of the Land Rover Series IIa window & Plt.Off. Nickson astride the mighty Aprilia Habana 125 Custom scooter. Note the matching T shirts and banners! Goodness, we nearly look like we know what we are doing!
Team in action (actually moving) on a short test flight on Suffolk's widest road!
We're off to Italy !
The last piece of Plt Off Nickson’s jigsaw is complete, with the successful passing of his motorcycle test. For once in his life, he is completely legal!
Plt Off Nickson displaying scooterings latest 'haute couture'
Not long to go, but many many miles to go!
Wondeful night at Krazy Horse Motorcycles in Bury St Edmunds
Huge thanks to Paul, Steph and Sue for allowing us to wander around rattling buckets at the Italian Stallion bbq night at Krazy Horse. It was a great evening and thanks to all the ladies and gentlemen who donated to the cause. We raised £121, thank you all so very much!
Sqd Ldr Harvey's not quite steadycam!
Well done Charles for this ingenious piece of workmanship, obviously lots of similar camera angles of my rear end!
She's ready to go!
At last she’s complete! For the uninitiated, she may look the same, but to those in the know she’s now a thoroughbred machine, complete with, new exhaust, new belts and rollers, (I have a spare), front and rear ceramic brake pads, oils and lubricants, service, tyres, 12v charging system for coms, SatNav, iPhone music and cigarette lighter, hand protectors, partial re-spray, front fly screen, spark plugs (she only needs one, but I have a spare) MOT, luggage rack, top box, back rest, day/fog LED running lights, new wing mirrors, stickers livery, and a totally useless compass which only points north!
Plt Off Nickson in 1940's pose, don't you know!
Nick Weaver, Headmaster of Ipswich School (the one not in an orange T shirt) together with the three of us and our mighty machines on a photo shoot for the School’s Occasional magazine.
Scootering Magazine June eddition
Thank you Scootering for giving me editorial in the magazine, brilliant!
Two weeks to go poster!
One week to go chap!
Not that Charles is worried, but a further breakdown service badge had been added to the Land Rover. Nothing like a belt and braces approach!
Had a short run out to Thorpeness for lunch, all seems to run smoothly. Given her the last once over for oils, tyre pressure, addition of sponsors logos and final wash in readiness for Friday.
Stuarts' belt and braces!
Stuart, thank you for the loan of the trailer. I too am concerned about the reliability of your bike, and I think it wise to take the trailer in the Land Rover! Naturally, I have given it a thorough once over and jolly good scrub, as it did have an essence of pig about it!
Charless looking relaxed and chilled!
Rare photograph of Stuart looking serious!
Heading towards a hotter climate!
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this off the ground. We have come a long way in the last eight months, the scooter looks immaculate (even my wife says so, so it must be true), plans have been made, routes decided upon and a huge sum of money raised for Arthritis Research. Thank you all so very much. But before we go, I must add my special thanks to Stuart and Charles for their unwavering support and encouragement. Chaps you have been brilliant, thank you. As they say, the only thing that can go wrong now, is the pink squidgy thing on the scooter, that will be me!
Fully loaded Land Rover, can you spot the trailer?
Having successfully navigated southeast England, the English Channel, we arrive at the Menin Gate in Belgium. Really moving last post ceremony.
I can speak better French than you two says Charles, I’ll order the coffees!
All systems go. Starting the climb out of France in Switzerland
Charles in Ypres Square, complete with laptop bag, SatNav, camera and most other electrical devise known to human kind trying to find a restaurant!
Stuart has fly trouble in Switzerland!
‘High on a hill with a lonely goat herd!’
The roundabout which very nearly put paid to the whole trip! Press reports in the East Anglian Daily Times said a minor accident. Not from where I was sitting it wasn't! Sadly, this is where the scooter and I parted company in a massive high speed crash!
Homemade limoncello,…… yes that is a goat at the table!
Two blokes in red cars stop to admire the Land Rover and scooter!
Well hello Italy! We’ve made it coast to coast.
By George, we’ve made it to Pisa. Thanks for the champagne Charles. it was wonderful!
Here we are at the home of Piaggio/Vespa/Moto Guzzi/Gillera & Aprilia. All sporting our Riding for Arthritis T shirts in front of the Piaggio museum in Pontedera. They were brilliant, giving us a guided tour, a sumptuous luncheon and the pleasure of meeting Ricardo the President of the Museum the President of Aprilia Racing. Thank you all for a most wonderful memorable day day.
Cosi strapped to the trailer for the return leg as Charles and Stuart had to get back sooner rather than later. She looks rather like ‘Little Nelly’ from James Bond’s You only live twice, don't you think?
Proof if needed, we are in Pisa, hurrah! A quick snap before scarpering from the Italian rozzers!
Friends and family to greet us, complete with balloons, bunting, banners, champagne, tea and sandwiches. Thank you all so very much. XXX
Lesley Dolphin, Radio Suffolk Legend
Thank you Lesley for allowing a half-wit like me onto your show, shame about the key question!
Menin Gate Cake
Thank you John for delivering this fine cake to Radio Suffolk Studio. I felt just like Blowers on Test Match Special!
The George Farnham Gallery, Saxmundham
A huge thank you to The George Farnham Gallery in organising and raffling a limited edition signed print by local artist Suzanne Campbell entitled Sick of Sushi. All proceeds to go to Arthritis Research UK. Thank you chaps that's brilliant!
Opening presents! It was ages until I would take off my sunglasses as I had so many tears in my eyes! I was so very proud of Charles, and Stuart for what we had achieved and just so delighted about our reception home!