You could say our c.2000-mile challenge started in the year 2000 when Stuart Taylor and I first met.
I was the logistics director of a Saint Gobain UK company and was setting up a dedicated operation at Potter Group’s Ely facility, where Stuart was general manager.
I became MD of Potter, five years after the meeting, and worked closely on many projects with Stuart who was the business development director, prior to becoming the commercial director, as we transitioned away from logistics.
A couple of years ago, when working together on the launch of ‘Potter Space’ as a pure commercial property endeavour, Stuart realised we would probably be stepping down from the company around the same time. He therefore suggested we should mark the occasion with a charity challenge; and the JOGLE trip was born.
The challenge was made a little tougher, as I hadn’t ridden a motorbike for 30 years!
As Potter Space prides itself on providing a ‘Home for Business’ we chose to raise money for St George’s Crypt in Leeds, which offers care, compassion and hope to the homeless, as well as looking after the vulnerable and those suffering from addiction.
And so it was, on Monday 7 June, Stuart and I set off from Potter Space in Ripon on our 2100-mile challenge in nine days, an average of 230 miles per day. As we revved the engines and rode off, we felt like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, but I hear someone suggested, rather rudely, that ‘the hairy and hairless bikers’ may be more apt!
It was great to be on the open road and I was hoping our friendship would survive the challenge, which, I am pleased to say, it did.
Naturally, to start our JOGLE journey we had to firstly get to John O’Groats. So we headed up north and stayed overnight in Aldborough St John. We then drove through torrential rain at the start of day two arriving in Dundee in bright sunshine.
Staying overnight in Pitlochry, we spent six hours on day three in the saddle covering 240 miles. The weather took a turn for the worse, and we had to waterproof up. The highlight of the day was arriving at John O’Groats and taking in the view of the Orkneys. In my bright yellow waterproofs, it was suggested I might be spotted from space!
We set off from Thurso on day four heading to Fort William. It was a wonderful ride with fantastic views. We took a pit stop to do a bit of monster spotting at Loch Ness, before arriving at our stopover for the night in Corran. With no pubs open on our side of the loch we had to catch the ferry to the other side for our evening meal and a drink.
Day five saw us leave Scotland and head back into England. En route, it was great to catch up with Lyn Griggs, the wife of Mick who was the IT manager at Potter Logistics for many years. It was a daunting thought that we still had 1200 miles to go.
Following a hearty breakfast at the George & Dragon in Penrith on Saturday morning, we took in the Lake District’s breathtaking scenery. We hit the Wales border just as the football team kicked off against Switzerland. Hearing Wales had gone a goal down we didn’t hang around, completing the day’s 250-mile journey through the gorgeous countryside around Ross-on-Wye.
Setting off from Symonds Yat on the Sunday we skirted Bristol, crossed Exmoor, went through Biddeford and then onto Boscastle for a well-earned drink or two.
Arriving in St. Michael’s Mount early on Monday morning, day eight, we arrived at Land’s End where we enjoyed a quiet celebration.
We stayed over in Lostwithwiel just inside the Cornish border and then trekked back to Ely to deposit Stuart back home – where the journey started 20 years ago.
To round off the charity ride I then made a long solo trip of 210 miles back home.
2100 miles complete, over nine days, and with 40 hours riding time, the charity bike ride was complete. It was a truly unforgettable experience and makes you appreciate how beautiful the UK is. Thanks to Stuart for being a fantastic riding companion, we had some great laughs on the way.
But most of all a massive thank you to all those who helped us to raise money for St George’s Crypt. Through your generosity we have so far raised more than £1650 plus gift aid…. there is still time to give, simply click https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matthew-lamb2021.