Thursday, 30 May 2013

A free country

1000 miles. No money, no bikes, no clothes and no clue. 

One of the founding principles of Bike Aid is that it will rely on the generosity of people to be hosts to provide assistance to any cyclist if they need it and that guests will repay their hosts with whatever their conscience thinks is just or whatever their means will allow. We think, on balance, this will more profitable for those concerned and society as a whole.

While many scoff at relying on such altruism, we find it already works well. For example, 'honesty boxes' are still thriving and a delightful feature of the Suffolk countryside.

So we're very pleased to hear, though long after it happened, that after thorough testing, this altruism is alive and well all over the UK.  

In September 2006 photographer George Mahood and composer Ben Cocks left Land’s End wearing nothing but Union Jack boxer shorts heading, where else, to John O' Groats and aiming to get there solely on the kindness of strangers to provide their clothes, transport, food and accommodation.

Eighteen and a half days later and without spending a dime they arrived well fed, well rested, fully clothed and on bicycles. Along the way they met many very nice people and drank deep from the well of human kindness and raised £1000 for charity.

And, had it not been for a prototype Bike Aid host, it would have taken them longer because sure enough, on the tenth day of the trip George reports:

...Soon after Ellesmere we unknowingly crossed the Welsh border. George heard a sinister hissing of air, and then saw a huge thorn poking out of The Falcon’s front tyre. We had no puncture repair kit, or pump. We walked to a nearby house, but they couldn't help and asked us to try next door. Peter, the man who answered the door, kept laughing at us for some reason, but lent us a pump and repair kit, and within minutes The Falcon was fixed. It turned out to be the only puncture that either of us received on the entire trip, and it is quite fitting that Wales made its mark on our journey. If it hadn't been for the thorn, we would've passed through Wales un-noticed, and would not have experienced the Welsh generosity shown by Peter.
They were accompanied by a film crew and so hope to produce a documentary. Meantime there's a jolly amusing book to enjoy.

Visit George’s website for the rest of the story and George's slide show of the many other OFFICIALLY very nice people like Peter who helped them.

An original 'Bike Aid' host
Peter, if you are still a Bike Aid host, please get in touch and we'll put you on the map and the blog.

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