Author Archives: iainhouston

Fundraising complete!

Yesterday the date I set on my Justgiving page for accepting TRAT donations expired. By this time, online and offline, people had donated over £2,700 in support of my ride, helping raise over £17,000 for the Bishop Simeon Trust overall throughout TRAT.

A special thank you once more to all of you who donated time, money and items for the charity auction, it all helped. I remember early in the process that I had strong doubts that we would ever get to the total, so I was suprised and humbled that you all helped Bryony and I exceed the sponsorship target by so much.

I have a video taken of me just before the charity auction started that goes in to more detail about the charity and my thanks. I’ll upload it as soon as I work out how to make MS Vista let me.

I’ll also get my account of the ride written up soon. Sometimes it feels like it happened years ago, other times like I’m still on it. It’s odd. Every time I ride past a layby I still look for the support van and Charlotte and Howard cheering me on.


Search titles

While away, I haven’t had a chance to look at all the interesting webby stats that WordPress collates for you.

I have just seen the best search term so far that got someone to this site:

“make believe medieval fighting houston”

That’s my new title that is.

I’m back

Well, I’m back!

We all made it to John o’ Groats and what a ride it was – I was too tired for more than an occasional twitter from the road – we weren’t getting to bed until 23:00 most nights and getting up again at 05:00, so lack of sleep has been a big tiredness factor over and above all the cycling.

It was a hard six days but I’m glad I went. I will write it up as soon as I can (I’m off to France for the Marmotte in a few days though, so no idea when that will be).

Thanks to everyone who supported me with time, enthusiasm, sponsorship and best wishes.

Thanks once more to all those who supported us along the way – it was a very hard time for them, as there was a huge amount of work going on in keeping us going and the people doing it didn’t get the payoff the riders got of actually doing the ride – their role was just as important though.

Thanks again.


Very tired – at Biggar, just had dinner. Long day tomorrow but looking forward to meeting up with my sister Mairi at Pitlochry who will join us for the rest of the ride to Aviemore, should be a great day.

Today was fairly hard but mostly enjoyable – haven’t the time or energy to write up more stuff from the last few days as am totally wiped out.

Thank you all very much for the support though as it really has kept me going on the ride.

One from the road…

We were off early this morning from Land’s End – too tired for a full write up but we covered 154-157 miles depending on which bike computer you believed.

We crossed Cornwall and Devon, finally finishing for the day in Taunton Somerset. I finished in good shape but the tiredness has hit me now and I’m how quickly the aches and pains will return tomorrow (I’m a bit sunburned too).

Tomorrow sees us on our way into the midlands taking us all the way to Telford.


I’m an idiot, so I now have some lovely red chafe marks on my legs, even before I start the ride – after the photoshoot yesterday morning I visited Tate Modern with Charlotte then went back to work.

Foolishly, in the interests of getting back to work quickly I put on trousers over my cycling shorts, which were fine at first. They became less comfortable throughout the day – by the time I realised that they were properly painful, it was time to ride home. Oops.

They are still a bit red this morning but not too bad, it just shows how dumb I can be though.

I’m finally all packed (as of two minutes ago). I think. I did rationalise a bit this morning and worked out that I didn’t really need to take five different books with me, when did I think I was going to get the time to read them?

I set off for Watford Junction shortly (with Bryony), where I will meet up with the team for the long drive to Land’s End.

Wish me luck.

PS, I watched the final episode of the final series of Battlestar Galactica last night, the series was fantastic, but the end was very, very bad. I won’t add spoilers but I can’t believe how monumentally lame it was.


In two days I set off from Land’s End as part of The Race Against Time (TRAT) riding a fast, six day cycle ride to John o’ Groats.

I saw my picture (in armour with bicycle) in the local paper this morning, which was fun. Then Bryony and I made the trip to Trafalgar Square to meet up with most of the team and support crew for a publicity photograph with news presenter Jon Snow. Sadly Mr Snow couldn’t make it but we all got to meet up, many of us for the first time.

Some overzealous rentacops did turn up while we were being photographed and tried to stop us for ‘security reasons’ (what is it with fat blokes and polyester?) which was on the high side of pointless. We were standing in front of one of the fountains in Trafalgar Square, with Nelson’s Column in the background which must be up there as one of the most photographed views in London. What sort of terrorist group dresses up in lycra and rides around on bicycles in a big group – “Britain is the Great Satan and we shall defeat the accursed dogs with our 1337 paceline riding Skillz, see if we don’t!” We should have explained that we were a situationist terrorist group and derided them as the Lackeys of Dada-ism, whatever that means.

What with images of Trafalgar Square already being freely available on Streetview, Google Earth, Flickr and anywhere else you care to name, I can’t see what on earth they thought was the problem (and the reasons changed as we went along I understand – first because it was “for security” (which means fuck all), then because we “didn’t have permission”, which when we moved to take pictures in front of South Africa House (who we *did* have permission from) transformed into “you’re breaking a byelaw”.

I’m quite tired now but looking forward to tomorrow – just got to pack up the last few things tonight and I’m ready. All is well with the bike, the fundraising is still going well (nearly £1,500 now, continued thanks for all your generosity) and there’s not much left to do other than ride the bike.

With all the work in training and fundraising it’s going to be a relief to get out there and just have to cycle – it’s going to be harder for Bryony I reckon, she has done the bulk of the fundraising work and doesn’t get the big payoff of getting out and doing the ride – while the ride is going to be a lot of work, it’s going to feel like the end of the process (apart from the party on 1st August of course!)

Almost on our way. Two days to go…