Here’s how the trip unfolded from APH Manchester as the duo dropped down country to APH Birmingham before attacking the final leg to APH Gatwick on day two.
Why: What’s behind the Three Parks Challenge?
It might seem slightly crazy to spend your weekend battling traffic, hills and chafed skin to cycle 240 miles, but Nick and Chris where being driven on by a great cause. Here’s all you need to know about why they decided to take on this almighty challenge…
What is the cause behind this epic journey:
What is the cause behind this epic journey: As you know, we’re supporting the University of Southampton’s £25 million appeal to fund a world-leading Centre for Cancer Immunology. Just one of the ways we’re doing this is Chris and Nick’s Three Parks Cycle Challenge.
What’s cancer immunology and why are APH supporting it:
What’s cancer immunology and why are APH supporting it: Put simply, it’s a type of treatment enabling our bodies to recognise and attack cancer cells. The University of Southampton’s planned Centre for Cancer Immunology will bring experts together to create a world-leading research facility.
What is the Three Park’s Challenge:
What is the Three Park’s Challenge: APH’s MD Nick Caunter and Board Member Chris Voller left the comfort of the boardroom to embark on a 240-mile ride from the APH car park at Manchester Airport, cycling to our facility at Birmingham Airport before finishing the following day at our Gatwick Airport HQ.
Day 1: APH Manchester – APH Birmingham and Warwick
Here Nick describes the highs and lows of the 240 miles the duo covered to conquer the Three Parks Challenge…
Day 1: Our opening day was relatively gentle; we covered 110 miles or so and were slightly assisted by a northerly breeze and the weather was dry, but not sunny. Highlights: Lunch at APH Birmingham & beer at Bar Catalan, Warwick. Lowlight: Hamstring niggles (before the beer)
1) Chris and Nick as they prepare to set off from APH Manchester
2)Not an overzealous farmer’s satellite TV dish, but Chris Voller at the word-famous Jodrell Bank Observatory – around 17 miles into the trip
3) No, Chris, step away from the tractor and get back on your bike
4)Time to boost enegy levels with tea and cake in Lichfield – around 75 miles into the trip
5) Looking good… the duo near the end of day 1 with a visit to Park number 2… APH Birmingham. Keep it up.
6) The boys try to escape on Eloise’s hen party… back on your bikes. Have a great time Eloise
7) Beer o’clock as the the duo toast their arrival at Warwick for an overnight stop over
DAY 2: Warwick – APH Gatwick
Day 2: This was a gruelling 137 miles; we started with wet roads, drizzle and poor visibility. Also, the Garmin hadn’t charged properly overnight. So, it wasn’t long before we were soaked, cold and without handlebar mounted electronic navigation. The list of towns/villages written on paper and taped to my top tube (old school tip) was handy and also the long life of the iPhone 6+ battery which captured the Strava record and was a useful map check whenever we stopped. Highlights: Lunch at the Chocolate Café, Henley & the elegantly dressed crowds at Epsom. Lowlights: Three damp and cold hours into the day and realising we still had 100 miles to go!
8) Tears of joy at being back on the road? Nope, just Chris and Nick in rainy Oxford as they continue their descent to APH Gatwick
9) It’s just like a day at the races as the boys reach Ascot… home straight now…
The end…Finally finished… 240 miles later Nick and Chris are back at APH Gatwick. We salute you.
Follow their route: Here’s Nick and Chris’s itinerary
Here’s the route that Nick and Chris took…
No pain… no gain: What Chris and Nick are contending with
The Three Parks Challenge is not an easy ride… here’s what the duo risked…
There’ll be a lot more pain when this cyclist realises his bike has no forks to hold the wheel on
How you can help: Support Chris and Nick
If you would like to donate to this great cause, please see below for details
If you’d like to help fund the University of Southampton’s all-new Centre for Cancer Immunology, why not make a donation on the Three Parks Challenge Just Giving page. Thanks for all your support www.justgiving.com/APH3Parks
Welcome home tea: How to refuel after 240 miles in the saddle
Cycling 240 miles each, Nick and Chris need a slap-up meal to replace the energy they’ve spent pounding the streets from Manchester to Gatwick via Birmingham.
We’ve worked out how many calories they’ll have burned en route and made them a special tea to ensure they replenish their bodies… here’s what each will need to replace the 15,000 calories they’ll burn while cycling the route.
See the menu above to see what each will need to eat as they attempt to replace the 15,000 calories they’ve burned
Inspired? Find the right bike for you
Bluffer’s guide to bikes… read this before heading to the cycle shop
Want to follow Nick and Chris by getting in the saddle and doing something fun and healthy? Find the bike you need here.
Sadly, turning up at your local bike store and asking the proprietor to supply you his finest new bicycle could leave you with a hefty bill and a machine that’s incompatible with your plans and lifestyle. Gone are the days when all you had to decide between was a Chopper or Raleigh Arena ‘racer’ – now you’ll need to be a little more clued-up when looking for a way into the saddle. Avoid bike-geek humiliation with our basic guide to the different types of cycles on offer…
Built for speed on the hard stuff
Lightweight frames, large thin wheels and drop handlebars are the tell-tale signs you’re looking at a ‘road bike’. Don’t be tempted to call it a ‘racer’ as this will blow your cover and reveal you to be a bike novice and easy prey to the spot-ridden 18-year-old sales assistant. Great for: Serious athletics types planning long, high-speed rides on the roads. Not so great for: Commuters, family outings, riding anywhere that’s not topped with baby bum-smooth Tarmac. How much: From around £150 to many (and we mean ‘many’) thousands of pounds. Where: Halfords.com
Get a go-anywhere attitude
Commonly identified by wide, heavily treaded tyres, tough-looking design, suspension and a bucket-load of gears. These are set up for heading off-road and tackling wet, muddy surfaces. They make a great solution for family bikers and commuters whose journey comprises local roads and off-road cycleways, such as disused railway lines. Great for: Families, commuters and just about anyone who wants an easy go-anywhere solution for getting into the saddle. Not so great for: Anyone who will be spending their time on Tarmac. The wide tyres and hefty tread will make for slow and noisy progress. How much: From around £85 to £6,500+ Where: Decathlon.co.uk
Cruise the city streets in comfort at a relaxed pace
This machine can be identified by its upright and relaxed riding position. The tyres aren’t as wide as those on mountain bikes, but more so than those on road bikes, making the perfect solution for cruising flat, city streets. They’re also well designed to fit boxes, a pannier rack and even child seats. Great for: The city commuter or anyone who wants to get around flat streets for work or light shopping etc. Not so great for: Anyone who is cycling to aggressively improve fitness, or those who want a mix of on- and off-road cycling; city bikes will soon get bogged down. How much: From £120 Where: Bikes2udirect.com
Combine your commute with car and bike to save cash and get fit
Is it an odd suitcase or is it a bike? Well, it’s a folding bike, actually. The bike can be ridden then folded into a smaller more manageable size that can be carried by hand on public transport or in the back of a car. Great for: Anyone whose commute is too long for a bike alone, but combined with a car – where the driver can get cheaper out of town parking etc. Simply drive to a location of your choice, unfold the bike and get cycling the last few miles to the office. Equally efficient for those using trains or buses. Not so great for: Speed, off-road use or avoiding smirks from small children. How much: Around £140 Where:Tesco.com
The best of all worlds?
These are a cross between road bikes and mountain bikes. They’re comfortable and capable on off-road cycle tracks, while also offering decent on-road performance. It’s a best-of-both-worlds-type solution for the wannabe biker. Great for: Anyone who wants to combine family rides at the weekend with a reasonably challenging commute will love the versatility of this type of machine. Not so great for: If you are looking to get serious about road or off-road biking, this type of cycle will be hugely frustrating. How much: £109 Where: Argos.co.uk
No tax or insurance and it’ll help you get fit
Some might call this cheating, but that’s not strictly true. The user can set the amount of assistance given to the pedal action. The less assistance asked for, the further the bike will travel on a single charge and provide more fitness-inducing exercise for the cyclist. Electric bikes don’t require you to have a licence, road tax or insurance. Great for: Anyone who has a long commute or wants to explore further afield without being a world class athlete. Most bikes will travel 20-30 miles on a charge and cost less than 5p per mile to run. Not so great for: Anyone who wants an inexpensive way into cycling. How much: From £400 Where:Scootercity.co.uk