Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Online interview and photos.

Hi All,

Since you last read this blog Pat and I have appeared in an online article, which is still there to be read, at so please pop along and have a squizz.
This article also inspired a similar piece in our local online paper

I must admit that in a short space of time Pat and I have achieved quite a lot considering this is all being run, at the moment, from an iPhone and a Blackberry.

I can't really say too much at the moment, mostly because I don't want to jinx any chances of these things happening, but there are two key sponsors that have shown a tentative interest in backing the ride as well as CALM.
If these two sponsors get on board we will have a whole different campaign on our hands, and we really will need your support.

Phys and all things painful:

The physical training for an adventure ride like this is now in full swing. It is probably worth mentioning that neither Pat or I are what you would call "athletic". In fact to say that I used to use a boomerang to put my belt on, wouldn't be too much of a stretch of the imagination.

However with the invaluable help of my wife, who is training with the TA and has herself successfully lost over six stone, and Pat, a qualified personal trainer, I have managed to start losing weight as well as packing on some of the muscle that we will need to haul the bikes across Europe.

We are using a mixture of light cardio, calisthenics and weight training, as well as a good abdominal routine.
The strength required to ride these large enduro/multisport bikes for long periods and off road is quite something, especially as we may need to be stood up for protracted periods. We will also be required from time to time to pick the bikes up after the inevitable spills that a ride like this will no doubt involve.

Surely it's just a bit of fun?:

Some people will say that this is a jolly for Pat and I, and that we will spend all the time on the beach or in the bar.
Ok there may well be the odd beach and an occasional bar, but this ride is about the adventure and more importantly the guys that can't be with us.

With the journey in mind, Pat and I are starting to figure out key destinations to stop on the way round the coast of Europe, as we intend to lay waypoint markers in memory of Pat's lost friends, so that those following the route in future can take a photo and post it on our Facebook page in the years following our initial ride.

Pat and I are also really keen for the footage from the ride and the activities that we want to take part in on the way round to be made into, or form part of a documentary about young male suicide and depression.
We want to show the clear links between the benefits of exercise for people with depression, as well as showing just how many men will open up if the subject of depression is broached by the two of us.

Gradually the concept of what we want to put out is coming together, and we are now actively seeking documentary film makers who are willing to work with us to give this film the audience it deserves.

So, now we have to sit on our hands and resist the urge to pester our two potential backers, but rest assured that the second we are allowed to say anything, we will be shouting it from every available media outlet.

See you soon.

Friday, 8 June 2012

A Tweeting we will go.

Good morning all.

I know it's a little early to be blogging, but I have had such a busy start to the day that i had to share, that and a certain amount of caffeine and excitement helps.

The world runs on social media, and Red Bull, and as I don't have any of the latter I thought that hammering the former would help get this ball rolling.
It is clear that the mountain is not coming to Mohammed so it's time for a trip to the mountain.
The mountain being Twitter, alright the metaphor is a bit dodgy but bear with me.

Twitter has proved in the past that it is a sound way of building a groundswell of support for events, and I think that the event that Pat and I are planning is definitely worthy of some attention.

I began by going through the Twitter feed of my alter ego @Buff_baker and Tweeting to everyone on my list of followers and seeing what happened.
10 new followers in ten minutes was what happened, so, encouraged by this I have set up a JustCoz page
This page will allow you to donate one Tweet a day so that we can reach all of your followers and let them know what we are up to.

This challenge will go precisely no where without sponsorship and donations.
Pat and I don't earn enough money to fuel the bikes (that we don't have yet) as far as Mildenhall, never mind Modena.
So what we need  is the support of companies and the general public to get us to Modena and back.
Here are a few of the things we need:

2 x Motorbikes (multi-sport enduro type bikes)
Protective clothing
Camping gear
Bike luggage
Sun Glasses
Fuel cards
Mobile phones/sim cards
A laptop for blogging on the move and downloading footage and stills
Digital cam corder
Bike mounted/helmet mounted cameras
First aid kits and training
Accommodation or campsites between Calais and Modena and back via Lyon and the Eastern border of France. (We'll take a barn to be honest)
Buffs (neck protectors)
Insect repellant
Contingency funds for food etc on the trip.
Fundraising ideas and events planners to help spread the load.
Ferry/Channel Tunnel tickets
Travel insurance

The list is far from exhaustive but it will give you some idea of what we need to do to achieve this goal.
We want this trip to be filmed and made into a documentary on male suicide and the effect it has on families and communities in the UK. So if there are any documentary makers who want to get involved at this stage, please contact Pat and I at

Support in any form is welcome, so if you can provide any of the above, please let us know.
Pat and I plan to hold as many fundraising events as possible between now and the ride, so if you have any ideas or just want to get involved and help out, please get in touch.

All the very best.

Pat and Simon.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Busy bods

Hello all, sorry it's been so long, but I tend not to be in the habit of posting blog pages just for the sake of it.
It is with a heavy heart that I say that our little town in Norfolk lost another one of it's sons two days ago.
Nick was a close friend of one of the lads that we are riding for next year, and it seems that he took his death harder than most.

This most recent tragedy has just intensified our resolve to get this issue on to a national level of consciousness.

Pat and I have now had an article published on the CALM website and we are starting to attract the attention of the local media, as well as a yet to be named national radio station.

Planning for the ride is going well as we now have a confirmed route. The next step is to break it up into chunks and plot out the rest stops and camp sites/accommodation along the way.

Sponsors are still thin on the ground (so far no sponsors), but that said, we have only been going for about a month and that has been part time.

Good news takes the form of Kerry and Suzanne, who have both agreed to help us organise events and to generally spread the load.

We are yet to ask for the blessing from both of the families involved, as we feel it is still a little too soon to be intruding on their grief, so we cannot really pull out all of the stoppers and go for it.
Have no fear, we will let you all know when we are good to go.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A chat with Dan from CALM

So yesterday I had a lovely long chat with Dan Taylor, coordinator for London, about the progress we have been making so far with setting up the charity ride for next year.
Safe to say that Dan was very excited at the prospect of so much exposure for CALM and the vital message that they want to convey.
I filled Dan in on the Twitter account, blog and Virgin Money Giving site, with the only remaining social media tasks left being the setting up of a Facebook fan page.

I suggested that it may be a good idea to get an interview with Pat posted on their website as well as in their magazine, CALMzine.

The next step is to reestablish contact with the various media outlets that I have emailed and called recently, and to gauge their interest and respond accordingly.
After this it will mean phone calls to the bike manufacturers that I want to target, namely KTM and BMW.
Route planning and setting up calls to all of the bike dealerships/clubs on the way as well as military units that I want to turn out will come next.

If anyone does read the blog and feel that they have good contacts that can be used to further the challenge, please feel free to comment or drop me an email.

Just a short one today as I have been stacked out building an outdoor oven for someone this week.

Keep sharing and retweeting please.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Tweet Tweet

Got up early to bang out a quick loaf of sourdough bread and to get my brain into gear.
So a speculative Tweet to Sir Alan Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) to see if we could earn ourselves a retweet.

Not a whole heck of a lot I can do today, so I shall be contacting all of the local media to follow up on e-mails and phone calls from last week.

I need advice on planning a long haul bike trip, so if anyone reading this feels they have some good advice, please leave a comment below or email me at

The weather looks pretty good, so may as well get a bit of cardio done, don't want to break the suspension on whatever bikes we end up riding to Italy, now do I.

See you all again soon.


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Setting up

Last night and this morning have been all about setting up our money giving page (www.virginmoneygiving/anicecalmride ) as well as Twitter @CALMRide and this blog.
The weekend will be about building up a following and getting some media and sponsor attention.
It will be nice when people start getting in touch.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Hello World

Hello all, my name is Simon and I make up part of a fundraising partnership. The other half of which is my good friend Pat.
The decision to set out on this venture came after Pat lost two close friends to suicide within a year of each other.
Both of these losses were so shocking because they were so unexpected, and in both cases the men involved were young and had families and prospects.
Pat and I spent the day out together, and by the end of it we had decided to find an appropriate charity that would help young men in particular deal with depression, and if possible avoid the end that Pat’s friends met.
I searched for and found such a charity in CALM Against Living Miserably), who after a brief telephone call agreed to back our charity event, and to help promote it.
So now the challenge is to raise sufficient funds to make a memorial journey to the Moto GP race circuit in Modena Italy.
The reason for this is that both of the young men lost so tragically were keen motorcyclists, with one in particular who had long dreamed of watching the GP at Modena. So Pat and I intend to place a memorial plaque at the race track.
Any funds raised after this, and from other events will go to help CALM keep doing the vital work that they do.
So please visit our donation site www.virginmoneygiving/anicecalmride and donate what you can.