Association Vice President Paul Griffiths is raising money for National Police Memorial Day by cycling to every police HQ in England and Wales.
Covering more than 2000 miles and aiming to raise £2000, Paul will be cycling three to four days per month and is inviting members and other colleagues and staff to join him along the route.
Here’s his blog after the latest leg of his challenge which took him through the midlands and across the sea…
Day 15 (2/6) – Derbyshire Constabulary to Staffordshire Police and West Midlands Police
Today I was cycling with Jim Allen and Ady Gascoyne from Derbyshire branch and Laurie Whitby-Smith from Staffordshire.
Comparing our four bikes in the ‘car world’ – they were riding a Ferrari, Maserati and Porsche, compared to my Vauxhall Viva.
In terms of cycling experience, they trained in the Alps, Majorca and the Peak District; I walked to the car. In terms of physique, they were toned and strong with legs to make Bradley Wiggins envious…compared to …. well…..I wasn’t!
I surveyed 75% of this cycling team and gulped!
Nice to meet the new Chief Constable of Derbyshire Peter Goodman on what was nearly his first engagement. He waved us off from headquarters and Jim led us through suburbia and into the flat and gorgeous countryside of Derbyshire. Plenty of chat and camaraderie and we made good progress.
Jim announced we had arrived at border control into Staffordshire and Laurie took the lead. Within minutes we were climbing hills and bracing ourselves for rain. Laurie received some constructive feedback as our new leader, but nevertheless, we ploughed on.
We arrived at Staffordshire Headquarters to be met by Chief Constable Jane Sawyers and an army of people in purple – all applauding. It was a fabulous welcome and I soon learnt that the group were called ‘Bobbies on Bikes’ who cycle big challenges for cancer research and timed their launch of their new challenge with my arrival.
It was a lovely gesture – I was quite humbled!
After grabbing lunch, we were back in the saddle riding to Lichfield. The journey was flat and the weather remained kind. On some of the hills, I was starting to feel the strain of the day and I was grateful for the ‘deceleration’ of the rest of the team!
We arrived at Police Mutual Assurance Society headquarters and received a really warm reception from CEO Stephen Mann and the staff. PMAS made a fantastic donation of £250 towards the challenge. They continue to be a great supporter of police charities and their kindness was really appreciated.
We got back in the saddle for the final leg to West Midlands headquarters. This was a bit more of an urban route and we made very good use of the bus lanes through Birmingham before we finally reached our destination.
Richard Youds was on site to greet us all and provide hot drinks and I thanked my three fellow riders for all their support – and causing me to ride the fastest pace so far!
Headquarters visited: 20/46
Hours cycling today: 5.5
Miles covered today: 83 miles
Total miles so far: 927
Total time cycling: 87.5 hours
Day 16 (3/6) – West Midlands Police to West Mercia Police
Today was a very different day. Setting off from a bustling Birmingham city centre, my sat nav soon directed me onto a canal path. This proved to be a wonderful route out of the city and it was quite a while before I was forced onto the less attractive A38.
I finally arrived in Bromsgrove to meet my dad for a Big Breakfast and a catch up.
From there, the route followed the countryside all the way to West Mercia Police headquarters.
On arrival, I managed to get the security guard to act as the photographer. His name was Wayne Jacobi and I soon learnt he had spent 17 years in the Metropolitan Police as a Sergeant and prior to that was a Sergeant Major with the Guards. It was great to hear his history and chatting away I nearly forgot my train connection home and had to race to Worcester to finish the day off.
Headquarters visited: 21/46
Hours cycling today: 2.5
Miles covered today: 26 miles
Total miles so far: 953
Total time cycling: 90 hours
Day 17 (19/6) – Isle of Man TT course
My journey started at the grandstand (start / finish) for the TT Races – immediately adjacent to the Isle of Man Police headquarters. Kevin Willson, a Superintendent who has recently been temporary DCC, joined me for the challenge.
The day was one of the hottest of the year so far and I apprehensively looked at the start sign announcing the TT mountain course. We cycled through Douglas and were soon on the A1 heading to Peel. Despite the blistering hot day, the route was fairly well shaded and before long we were taking the A3 to Kirk Michael.
The route had mile markers, route indicators, safety barriers and road markings that gave a real sense of a track. The racing motorbikes average 130mph around the 37 mile course – reaching top speeds of 180mph! My pace however was at the sedate end. There were hills along the way but they were very manageable.
Before long we were having a coffee stop in Ramsey and feeling rather pleased with our progress.
From Ramsey we started the real mountain section and climbed…and climbed…and climbed! The day was hot, the gradient was punishing but the views were terrific.
The road is unrestricted (without speed limits) and the motorbikes were screaming past us at incredible speed! We finally summited and we were then careering down the other side of the mountain – the fastest speed I have ridden – good job the road was unrestricted.
The downhill took us into Douglas, finishing at headquarters for the obligatory photo with CC Gary Roberts and the Command Team. Big thanks to Kevin for his cycling support – much appreciated.
Headquarters visited: 22/46
Hours cycling today: 3.5
Miles covered today: 37 miles
Total miles so far: 990
Total time cycling: 93.5 hours
National Police Memorial Day will be held in Cardiff on Sunday 24th September 2017 in memory of fallen officers.
Paul has so far raised £1660 and you can donate to his cause at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulGriffithsPSAEW
You can follow his journey on Twitter @griffindares and keep checking the website for more blogs as his journey continues.
The road ahead…
Paul will be in touch with Branch Chairs and Secretaries before each section.
Day 18 (22/6) – West Mercia Police to Warwickshire Police and Leicestershire Police
Day 19 (23/6) – Leicestershire Police to Northamptonshire Police to Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Day 20 (24/6) – Cambridgeshire Constabulary to Norfolk Constabulary
Day 21 (25/6) – Norfolk Constabulary to Suffolk Constabulary
Day 22 (26/6) – Suffolk Constabulary to Essex Police
Day 23 (13/7) – Essex Police to Hertfordshire Constabulary to Bedfordshire Police
Day 24 (14/7) – Bedfordshire Police to Thames Valley Police to Civil Nuclear Constabulary to Pangbourne
Day 25 (16/7) – Pangbourne to British Transport Police London
Day 26 (31/7) – London: British Transport Police, City of London Police, College of Policing, Metropolitan Police Service, NPCC and Home Office to Kent Police
Day 27 (1/8) – Kent Police to Sussex Police to PFEW Leatherhead
Day 28 (16/8) – PFEW to Surrey Police to Hampshire Constabulary
Day 29 (17/8) – Hampshire Constabulary to Wiltshire Police
Day 30 (25/8) – Wiltshire Police to Dorset Police
Day 31 (26/8) – Dorset Police to Devon and Cornwall Police
Day 32 (8/9) – Devon and Cornwall Police to Avon and Somerset Police
Day 33 (15/9) – Avon and Somerset Police to Gloucestershire Constabulary
Day 34 (17/9) – Gloucestershire Constabulary to Gwent Police
Day 35 (23/9) – Gwent Police to Cardiff