Association Vice President Paul Griffiths is raising money for National Police Memorial Day by cycling to every police HQ in England and Wales.
Covering some 2,100 miles, Paul has cycled three to four days per month and has been joined by members and other colleagues and staff to along the route.
He has so far raised £3,055 and you can donate to his cause at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulGriffithsPSAEW
Follow his journey on Twitter @griffindares
His penultimate blog covers the final HQ rides in the south-west and Wales, with the end almost in sight….
Day 32 (08/09) – Devon and Cornwall Police to Avon and Somerset Police
Two trains and a bit of cycling before I arrived at Devon and Cornwall Police Headquarters. I was greeted by Alexis Poole and headed off to fuel up for the day with a breakfast roll.
I was fortunate enough to drop into their branch meeting and see several Supers and I was very grateful for their charity donations. A little later than scheduled, I set off on the 84 mile journey to Portishead.
The route took me along a similar path to the M5 and I found myself cycling over and under it on a number of occasions.
I passed through Taunton and Bridgwater before bracing myself for the strain of the Mendip Hills. The weather was again kind but the length of the route was draining and I had to rely on a ‘head down, keep peddling’ mode to block out the pain. I made a few stops for drink and food but did not wait long, conscious of the later than anticipated start.
Whilst time was dragging out, my spirits were lifted when I saw the Severn Estuary and realised how close I was getting to the finish. With one last surge I made it to the gates of Avon and Somerset Police HQ.
A quick photo and I looked at the train times to realise that I would only make my next train if I sprinted the 7.5 miles to Avonmouth Train Station – with a twist of cruelty I went for it and managed to get there just in time!
Day 33 (15/09) – Avon and Somerset Police to Gloucestershire Constabulary
It was great to be waved off by CC Andy Marsh and a number of Supers from Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters.
Today I was joined by Tony Godwin, a member of the Gloucestershire Branch and a very experienced cyclist. We were only in the saddle for a short time before I was out and trying to ease a worn bike up a very steep incline. However, we held a decent pace and paused at the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge – not only to take in the views but to celebrate passing the 2000 mile marker!
We skirted around the city of Bristol and rode through some very pleasant park areas and picked up a lovely route parallel to the River Severn.We passed through the Berkeley and Cambridge (not the city!) before the navigation took us onto the A38 for a short distance.
With large lorries brushing past, we both felt uncomfortable and I found myself really struggling to keep up with Tony, despite feeling reasonably good. The problem was soon identified – I had a flat front tyre! With speed and efficiency, Tony had it changed and blown up.
We cycled the last eight miles with relative ease and made it to Gloucestershire Headquarters to be greeted by CC Rod Hansen and others. It was a very warm reception and really appreciated.
Day 34 (17/09) – Gloucestershire Constabulary to Gwent Police
I arrived at Gloucester Railway Station to meet Association President Gavin Thomas with the delightful news that, yet again, I had a flat front tyre! We tried everything to sort it out but struggled to understand the problem. Not the start I really wanted. Gavin rode to a local bike shop with my wheel and got a professional to sort it out! A little later than expected, we set off from Gloucestershire HQ.
The route was a reversal of what I did with Tony two days previously and took us along wonderful countryside bordering onto the River Severn. It was a glorious day and we chatted for hours.
Soon we arrived at Aust Services which was our lunch stop. Poignantly, we sat near a memorial to PC Stephen Jones, of Avon and Somerset Police, who died on 17th May 1999 whilst attempting to stop a stolen motor vehicle. A reminder to us both of the daily risks of the job.
After lunch we rode over the Severn Crossing Bridge and into Wales and my home force of Gwent.
We picked up the A48 route and stopped along it to be greeted by one of my friends, Simon, and a supply of chocolate, sweets and water to help us along the way.
We continued through Caerleon and finally arrived at Gwent Police HQ – the 46th and final headquarters of the challenge! No time for celebration though as we raced to Newport to get Gavin on the next train home.
HQs reached: 46/46
Total miles so far: 2082
Total time cycling: 188.5 hours
The last leg!
Although I have now reached all 46 police headquarters, the final day of the challenge is next Saturday 23.09.2017.
Day 35 will be a short ride into St Davids Centre in Cardiff to arrive at the point where I departed on 27th January and the completion of this 2,100 mile challenge!
The National Police Memorial Day service will be held in Cardiff on 24.09. 2017 in memory of fallen officers.