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#newscycle – day eight, Hamburg to Schleswig

June 15th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Magazines, Non-profit

Day eight of @journalismnews owner @johncthompson‘s epic 11-day ride from Brighton, UK to Oslo, Norway in aid of @JournoCharity (Journalists’ Charity), @CR_UK (Cancer Research UK) and @GistSupportUK.

Journalists – watch the video and listen to the audio about the great work of the Journalists’ Charity. And learn more about my ride.

I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.

Today’s ride covered 75 miles with 1022 feet of climbs.

Here’s a video from today:

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MSN UK study release: Quarter of respondents ‘overwhelmed by the volume of news each day’

MSN UK recently commissioned a survey of 2,000 people (carried out by OnePoll) which looks at audience behaviour in certain news situations, as part of its Best of Now marketing campaign.

The findings including looking at the sources people turn to for breaking news coverage. This found that the majority (40 per cent) of respondents (who were able to select more than one answer), chose online news sites as their source. This was followed by newspapers with 30 per cent and social media with 20 per cent of respondents.

The survey also asked what news sources were most trusted by respondents, which saw broadcast television and radio come top with 43 per cent, followed by online news sites with 19 per cent, newspapers with 15 per cent and magazines with 9.1 per cent. Social networks were named as most trusted by just under five per cent.

A quarter of respondents highlighted in the survey that they can be “overwhelmed by the volume of news each day and demand quality, not quantity”, according to a press release. And when it comes to time spent consuming news, with the survey finding that on average 10 years ago respondents felt they would spend around 10 minutes a day consuming news, compared to an average of 15 minutes today.

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#newscycle – day seven, Bremen to Hamburg

Day seven of @journalismnews owner @johncthompson‘s epic 11-day ride from Brighton, UK to Oslo, Norway in aid of @JournoCharity (Journalists’ Charity), @CR_UK (Cancer Research UK) and @GistSupportUK.

Journalists – watch the video and listen to the audio about the great work of the Journalists’ Charity. And learn more about my ride.

I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.

Here are some tweets from today:

Today’s ride covered 68 miles with 764 feet of climbs.

Final tally 65.5 miles completed in six hours.

Pleasant riding today but not all on cycle paths. Still surprisingly cool – I’m told some bad weather may be on its way down the line.

Long night’s sleep in Bremen hostel. Some noise, Euro related but barely stirred. Entry into Hamburg involved weird tunnel with car lifts and much ducking and weaving past construction works etc. Hotel in Hamburg again by train station but much more laid back with bars and restaurants nearby.

Another day of cycling in Germany tomorrow, then it’s on to Denmark – the final country before Norway.

Here’s a video from today:

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#newscycle – day six, Freren to Bremen

Day six of @journalismnews owner @johncthompson‘s epic 11-day ride from Brighton, UK to Oslo, Norway in aid of @JournoCharity (Journalists’ Charity), @CR_UK (Cancer Research UK) and @GistSupportUK.

Journalists – watch the video and listen to the audio about the great work of the Journalists’ Charity. And learn more about my ride.

I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.

Today’s ride covered 75 miles with 871 feet of climbs.

Final tally 73.72 miles in 6 hours 22 minutes.

My route today was mostly quite pleasant although nothing outstanding. Some road riding today where cycle paths stop which makes me feel slightly vulnerable now even though the roads are quiet. Amazing how quickly you take good cycle paths for granted and I will miss them back in the UK.

So far Belgium still top of my list for best place to cycle for good scenery etc.

Note to bikeroutetoaster: another ‘short cut’ today was unrideable – you cannot cycle across sand! Fortunately short and walkable although always causes me anxiety in case ‘off road’ parts might stretch for miles.

Managed a quick coffee break today although later than I had hoped. Arrived Bremen in good time. Area of hotel seems to have a lot of, err, independent cinemas which is surprising in this age of the Internet.

So glad to have arrived early to avoid the worst of the wildlife. Hostel tonight – basic but more than adequate and cycle friendly.

Slept long and soundly apart from what I presume was football-related shouting and some nearby noisy residents.

Here’s a video from today:

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#newscycle – day five, Arnhem to Freren

Day five of @journalismnews owner @johncthompson‘s epic 11-day ride from Brighton, UK to Oslo, Norway in aid of @JournoCharity (Journalists’ Charity), @CR_UK (Cancer Research UK) and @GistSupportUK.

Journalists – watch the video and listen to the audio about the great work of the Journalists’ Charity. And learn more about my ride.

I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.

Here are a few tweets from today:

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Today’s ride covers 89 miles with 880 feet of climbs.

Final total 89.26 miles completed in 7 hours 36 minutes.

Wildlife spotted: hare, red deer (wild this time), red squirrel, lapwings, oyster catchers.

A long and muggy ride, plus canals, which meant flies, flies, flies. Flies in the eyes, flies in the ears, flies in the mouth.

I need one of those beekeeper hats.

Other annoyances: itchy head under the helmet syndrome. Sometimes exacerbated by… flies.

Completed in good time (for me) though, aided by caffeine and cake around the 60 mile mark.

Hotel by a lake in Freren was lovely although its wifi was all but useless. Tesco mobile have cut me off for spending too much on data roaming this month so having a comms nightmare now.

Waitress unimpressed by my iTranslate app…

Half way done now.

Here’s a video from today:

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#newscycle – day four, Rijkevorsel to Arnhem

Day four of @journalismnews owner @johncthompson‘s epic 11-day ride from Brighton, UK to Oslo, Norway in aid of @JournoCharity (Journalists’ Charity), @CR_UK (Cancer Research UK) and @GistSupportUK.

Journalists – watch the video and listen to the audio about the great work of the Journalists’ Charity. And learn more about my ride.

I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.

A few tweets from today:

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Today’s ride covers 77 miles with 487 feet of climbs. Here are live updates:

Here is a video from day four.

Wildlife spotted today: Belgian hare, jay, buzzard, red squirrel, llama, alpaca, wallaby, heron and a fox.

Increasingly being taunted by a ‘virtual partner’ on the Garmin Edge gps navigation device. Trying to ignore (didn’t get to that bit in the manual) but he keeps showing up on my map. Hangs with me for a bit then speeds off as soon as I hesitate at a junction. Then announces arrival at my destination ahead of me with great fanfare, telling me just how much longer it’s going to take me, THE LOSER.

I’m going to let his virtual tyres down tonight.

Travelling light

Means no electric shaver. So shaving with a disposable triple GT turbo, go faster striped I’m really macho razor and shaving oil.

It’s excruciating.

Then I have to apply sun cream which stings like acid.

Did I mention merino wool? It’s amazing. Wicks moisture very well, keeps you both cool and warm as you need, and is naturally antiseptic so it kills the bacteria that makes your clothes smell after exercise.

I have vests, tops and socks made of merino.

But only so many and there’s probably a limit to the number of times I can re-wear.

Which means hand washing and drying by any means possible looms. Hot towel rails not so common so far. Hair driers? Hoist up a pole attached to the rear of the bike?

Bad news
My brother texted today. He has GIST cancer which has spread to his liver. The radioblation (targeted microwaves) the surgeons tried a few months ago on his biggest liver tumour has failed. And now there are new, growing ones. Doctors do not want to try the procedure again.

If I had sails, they would be very much sans wind now…

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#newscycle – day three, Brugge to Rijkevorsel

Day three of @journalismnews owner @johncthompson‘s epic 11-day ride from Brighton, UK to Oslo, Norway in aid of @JournoCharity (Journalists’ Charity), @CR_UK (Cancer Research UK) and @GistSupportUK.

Journalists – watch the video and listen to the audio about the great work of the Journalists’ Charity. And learn more about my ride.

I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.

Today’s ride covered 77 miles with 473 feet of climbs.

Final count was 78.64 miles which I completed in 7 hrs 30 mins.

Got off to a good start after finally managing to get a good few hours sleep. Sun was shining and cycle paths again amazing, taking me through forests and along canals.

Wildlife count today: a pair of hares, various lapwings and a deer (the latter apparently a pet at my B&B in Rijkevorsel).

By afternoon ominous clouds started to form and it became quite close as if before a summer storm. Which meant more flies flying in my face, eyes and mouth, especially by the canal.

City navigation continues to kill my average speed even though I had no significant route mishaps today. And my route through Antwerpen, apart from an amazing tunnel, was not especially pleasant.

Managed a lunch break today and that, with yesterday’s sweet snacks from Brugge kept me fuelled up nicely.

The jury is still out on Beetroot shots. Tried one yesterday and not too unpleasant but it clearly wasn’t enough on its own.

Met someone on a penny farthing today – an early 19th century French model. Only on the flatlands of Belgium on a still day would you get away with that.

The family that owned it were most amused by its English name – guess the currency didn’t translate.

I’m posting pictures on Twitter by the way – follow @johncthompson

Here’s a video from today. The sound quality isn’t great but it gives a taste of today’s ride.

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#newscycle – day two, Calais to Brugge

Day two of @journalismnews owner @johncthompson‘s epic 11-day ride from Brighton, UK to Oslo, Norway in aid of @JournoCharity (Journalists’ Charity), @CR_UK (Cancer Research UK) and @GistSupportUK.

Journalists – watch the video and listen to the audio about the great work of the Journalists’ Charity. And learn more about my ride.

I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.

Today’s ride covered 68 miles with 347 feet of climbs.

Well, actually in the end it was 71 miles which I completed in 6 hours 54 minutes.

Got off to a later start than intended thanks to ferry delays. That was particularly galling as I got up at 5am and then had to stand in a queue of cars for a couple of hours in a freezing wind.

Took a while to get my bearings in Calais. I have pre-stored my routes on a Garmin Edge 800 and when you ask it to navigate to the start of the course it never actually believes you are there – telling you to go around in circles if you are not careful (my normal behaviour in cities).

Route out of Calais flat and straight with a tail wind. If it had been like that all the way I would have made short work of the journey. Unfortunately cities in the way slowed me down, especially Dunkerque which has an insane cycle route system.

French and Belgian drivers are noticeably more considerate than English drivers. One couple even stopped to point out to me that cycling the dual carriage way I was on was a bit unnecessarily dangerous given there was a perfectly adequate (hidden) cycle path by the side of the opposite carriage way. I was very grateful for that.

Belgium has amazing cycle paths and was a lot easier to navigate even in the cities. Bikeroutetoaster nonetheless threw in some surprises with an off-road route through some sand dunes (a crested newt sanctuary) and a hairy ride on a muddy path by a canal.

But, quick as they are, long, straight flat roads can get interminably dull. That, combined with stupidly not eating enough during the day, meant the last 10 miles were a slog.

Refreshed myself in Brugge old town with some traditional fayre, stocked up on sweet snacks (nougat and sugared almonds) for the next leg and then headed back for an early night at the B&B.

Exhausted. Don’t want to think about the next eight days.

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#newscycle – day one, Brighton to Dover

Day one of @journalismnews owner @johncthompson‘s epic 11-day ride from Brighton, UK to Oslo, Norway in aid of @JournoCharity (Journalists’ Charity), @CR_UK (Cancer Research UK) and @GistSupportUK.

Journalists – watch the video and listen to the audio about the great work of the Journalists’ Charity. And learn more about my ride.

I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.

Today’s ride covered 77 miles with 3374 feet of climbs.

This was one of two legs of my journey I was not looking forward too (the other is day nine in Denmark). On practice runs, I has tried part of the route so already knew what to expect in the way of hills from the Sussex and Kent Downs.

So I planned an early start in order to get an early night ahead of the mad o’clock ferry journey the next day. When I rose at 6am my heart sank when I saw the weather – trees bending in the rain and grey rain clouds in the sky. Like late autumn/early winter.

So it was with little enthusiasm that I finally set off at 7am having procrastinated for an hour.

Luckily the wind was in my favour and I made good early progress for the first 30 miles or so. Apart from some nasty side gusts channelling up some streets nearly knocking me off my bike.

I planned to break for a proper lunch someplace nice but ended up picnicking in an alley next to a corner store in Hamstreet at about the 54 mile mark.

When I finally saw the English channel again my spirits lifted. But still some climbing to be done including one hellish stretch up a barely navigable and steep coastal path where I mostly had to carry my bike luggage and all. Bikeroutetoaster has a somewhat different idea to me at times as to what constitutes a rideable cycle path!

Injuries from that episode include nettle skins, barked ankles on pedals, and skin contusions from thorny bushes.

My bar bag which is stuffed full has an unfortunate effect on the handlebars when dismounted causing the bars to spin widely round. This happened a couple of times badly scratching my cycle frame down to the metal where the brake lever impacted on it.

The wind also nearly blew off my handmade charity and flag stickers on my rear panier. Will need to tape those down tonight.

Finally arrived in Dover around 2:30 and settled in to a very pleasant B&B close to the ferry port.

After much searching finally found a passable seafood restaurant on the coast with sea views and overlooking the ferry port. Seems I had more of an appetite than I thought causing the waiter to comment on how quickly I polished my dinner off.

Food not bad but microwaves should be banned from ALL restaurants. Bread and butter pudding should be crunchy on top! A crime akin to warming scones in a microwave!

Still, better than the McDonalds I almost considered although that probably would have ticked the right boxes for fat, protein and calorie intake.

Enjoyed watching an arctic tern dive fishing on the shore and the ferries entering and leaving the port. As the ships emerged from the harbour mouth they listed alarmingly as they caught the full force of the wind. Think I might leave breakfast until Calais.

Bought a couple of beet root juice booster shots on a colleague’s advice. Sound disgusting but if they get me through a couple of rides then it might be worth it. Will wait until I’m off the ferry though!

Finally a couple of more sponsorships today. Still more than £500 short of target for the Journalists’ Charity though. At the current rate of a fiver a go (which I know to be generous in these cases given how little junior and most freelance journalists earn) I’m going to need another 103 donors!

I was thinking about creating a Klout list of @JournoCharity #newscycle journalists. Lists seem to get journalists very excited and it would be nice to honour those who demonstrably care about their colleagues rather than just their egos!

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Audio: voices of the gentlemen (and ladies) of the press

Next Friday, 8 June 2012, I am going to cycle alone and unsupported 1400km from my home town in Brighton to Oslo Norway to raise money for the Journalists’ Charity. I aim to complete the journey in 11 days.

The Journalists’ Charity used to be called the Newspaper Press Fund. In 2004, the BBC Radio 4 programme The Time of My Life visited one of its care homes and interviewed some of its former Fleet Street residents. The charity kindly lent me a cassette recording of the show and I have converted it to digital for your listening pleasure below.

I think you will agree it’s a delightful piece. And I am hoping it will finally convince you all that this is a worthwhile cause (because frankly raising money so far has been like getting blood out of a stone!)

So, if you haven’t already sponsored me, please do so here. I aim to raise £1,000 and, at the time of writing, I am just under half way with £475 with six days to go before I start.

You can also learn more about the work of the Journalists’ Charity in this video and more about my ride and route here.

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