Top Stokies and top lads ride out for a top cause

DUCK is proud to put on here a blog from Rich Hewitt (many will know him as Chewy) that he wrote after doing a coast to coast bike ride at the beginning of May for MacMillan Cancer.
Rich and his brother (Rob) run the coaches from The Furlong, Tunstall and The Clough, Kidsgrove to all home matches and a few away ones, and have done so for the last 15 years. Their mum, Christine Slater, sadly passed away in November. She was a devoted Stoke fan and season ticket holder sitting in the Lower West Stand.
On the bike ride were Chewy and his eldest lad (Dan) both season ticket holders; Rob and his 2 lads (Simon & Joe) also season tickets holders; Martin and David Convey, and Martin Middleton also season ticket holders; so as you see it was a proper Stokie ride out. They did have a Crewe fan and 2 Manchester United fans, but we’ll make exceptions for them!
The route taken is called The Way Of The Roses and went from Morecambe in the West to Bridlington in the east. But the group turned off just after York and went to Scarborough; Scarborough being Rich and Rob’s mum’s most favourite place on earth – second only to Tunstall!
Here is their diary…….

Day 1

Saturday seems such a long time ago now and Morecambe seems such a long way away but we started off at 8:30 in relatively good weather compared to what was to come later and everyone was in quite good spirits laughing about Plecker’s bike being written off the day before by the bike shop when he took it in to be serviced and having our photo’s taken with Eric Morecambe’s statue.

After 8 miles when we were well past Lancaster and everything seemed to be going along swimmingly we came off the flat bike track and hit our 1st hill after this things seemed to go down hill (unlike the route)!

We stopped at 18 miles for a brew and someone mentioned they thought they felt a spot of rain, oh yes! When we came out of the cafe the heavens opened and that was it for day 1.

We had wind and driving rain in our faces for the next 40 miles, the temperature dropped and we even had hail for a time.

At 35 miles in we were all thankful to see Settle knowing we could have a brew and some warm food. Unfortunately the infamous Settle bank loomed over the town like a dragon just waiting to be slayed.

After a good stop and refuel I was 1st at it and after 100 yards I was off my bike and pushing, oh my god it was steep! With the Speakster passing me at full tilt growling as he went I knew the dragon was going to be beaten and with back up from Daniel Hewitt​ and Joseph Hewitt​ they all put in a turn that even Sir Bradley would be proud of.

The banks just kept on coming though and at 51 miles I was nearly beaten and suggested calling it a day, it was still hammering it down with rain and the wind never let up but thankfully Big Rob Hewitt used his authority and kicked me up the arse and got me moving again.

We all arrived eventually in Pateley Bridge, very down but not quite out at about 19:30: it was a full days cycling in the most brutal weather imaginable and we quickly loaded the bikes on to the trailer and got to the hotel for hot baths and showers and get things dried off for the following day.

You know it’s been a tough day when all there is for me to say about the night is we had tea and a couple of pints and went to bed praying that the weather and terrain would ease for the morning.

Day 2

More details of Rio Ferdinand’s wife were read about at breakfast in the morning and on a personnel level it gave me more determination to try and get at you guys through social media to help make a massive final total which we are well on the way to getting so that we can help MacMillan to help those who are struck with the terrible illness of cancer.

On another level the rain was torrential and it seemed we were in for another drenching. We had to drive back 15 miles to where we finished the previous day which was quite dis-heartening, but onward we went.

The rain was still coming down quite hard but there was definitely breaks in the clouds and the air was some what warmer than the previous day. all this and no wind on top made the morning nearly tropical compared to Saturday!

We rode through Studley Park a national trust area with wild deer roaming all about which was lovely to see. All we needed were Stetsons and 6 shooters and we could of been those cowboys at home on the range!

Sorry I digress!

By 2 hours in, we had reached Ripon where we stopped the night before and the lack of hills was a major positive talking point. This time around I was the one to push Big Rob on and what a decision that was. We stopped at the Lamb and Flag in Bishop Monkton which did the most delicious carvery dinner any cyclist could want to see. With a few also tucking into dessert them calories were certainly being replaced, hey Simon Hewitt​ and Steve Darwen​.

By the time dinner was eaten the sun was out and the wet weather gear was coming off, the little pulls and strains which were beginning to hurt were put at the back of our minds as we cycled through the lovely little villages on the way to York. We had one major shower in the afternoon but even that was dodged luckily by having the van close to hand, Robert Hagan​ doing a sterling job as Team Pies back up man.

And so York, with one little incident where I decided to go a different way than the rest and ended up having to catch them up by 15 minutes but even that was chuckled about as we had coffee and cakes in a café opposite York Minster.

After that time was getting on so a few photo’s were taken on the steps of the minster and onward we went, the final 10 miles in a breeze apart from 200 yards from the end when I mentioned that the bus was picking us up at a pub and Plecker decided to skid along a kerb and do a full on front roll off his bike and luckily on to some grass! Barry Sheene, Eddie Kidd and Evil Knievel all in one go.

After a cracking days riding where we did almost 60 miles we were all up for a good meal and a few well deserved drinks, this though seemed to be going wrong when the restaurant joined on to the hotel had no room for us all to eat together.

This though was Team Pie and eat together we shall, so after Dave and Martin Convey​ got their nimble fingers working on the internet and socializing with the locals, a curry house was found in town which would accept 14 ravenous Stokies!

And off we went with time against us and every traffic signal at red we made it eventually thanks to google maps!

As we all settled down to our poppadum’s and dips, Steve Darwen just happened to mention he had a friend in York that night who was there with her daughter who just so happens to be a bit of a film star: of course dodgey looks we’re exchanged by the group especially when he mentioned she was the Bond girl in Quantum of Solace!

After no encouragement at all we pushed him in to seeing if she wanted to come to him and say hi to some kind hearted charity workers! As soon as the Bond girl was mentioned google got to work again and pictures were quickly being handed around the table stopping for a lot of time with Martin Middleton.

Anyway after a bit of time and a lot of stretching necks looking out the window every time a female walked past there she was, and yes she was stunning. She was a Russian lady, absolutely gorgeous and lovely, but after 15 minutes the curry came and the interest of most of us oldens waned.

We managed to get a picture of her for posterity’s sake and she was gone.

With the curry eaten I was ready for the off but for some reason Big Rob wanted to stay, this if anyone knows me and my brother is usually the opposite way around and I couldn’t understand why he was up for stopping! My questions were answered though very soon after when the restaurant staff brought out a massive chocolate birthday cake and everyone was singing to me!

After blowing out the few candles on the cake I had more of a problem blowing out the 14 flaming Sambuca’s which came along after, with them necked (not just by me may I add) and the cake eaten it was time to go and the end of a day I’ll never forget but not before loads of selfie’s by the Speakmeister though (he really does get tipsy very easy now he’s a walking iron man).

Thanks guys you made it a brilliant day.

 Day 3

The day started on a high and I just knew it was going to get better and better.

The weather was beautiful and we were all buzzing after the previous night. It was decided to really try and push the money total up as it was nearing the £1000 mark, so Olga was tweeted for a retweet (Olga was the Bond girl, oh yes we were all on 1st name terms) and Duck magazine was tweeted for a retweet as well.

Olga retweeted straight away to her 70’000 followers and later in the day she gave £100 to Dave’s justgiving page, what a top lady.

And so we started off on what I knew was going to be an emotional day for all us Hewitt’s, we were heading for Scarborough the scene of Hewitt holidays for the last 50 years and memories were a plenty at quiet times cycling closer and closer through the country.

Even a massive bank and Steve going the wrong way couldn’t dampen todays spirits and as we powered our way through pretty village after pretty village the excitement to be so close to finishing was really in the air.

Dinner was at a farm shop in the small village of Butterwick, where we pulled together some wooden benches on to grass and had a lovely picnic in the Yorkshire sun. Once Steve finally got to us after his 10 mile detour and ate his dinner we decided to leave, but with the total now at £1000 we all had that little extra spring in our step.

We got our 1st glimpse of the North Sea and the East Coast just outside Humanby, and with 10 miles left all signs were pointing to Scarborough.

After what I though was the last hill I decided to surprise the lads with a couple more but even that couldn’t stop these guys now and just before we turned right and went down The Esplande they all seemed to let me and my brother pass and lead the way in to Scarborough and for that I’m truly thankful.

We stopped at a place we call “The View” it looks over the South bay of Scarborough and holds a lot of special memories for us. Being there and doing what we did the way we did it, was a very proud moment and I know my Mum and Dad would be so proud of their 2 sons and their 3 grandsons.

I’m not ashamed to admit it a lot of tears were shed and I’ve got a couple now but anyone who’s lost people close will know that when you feel that you’ve done them proud, it does you proud – if you know what I mean!

Anyway photo’s were taken and hugs were given and shaken hands were going around everywhere, we all did brilliantly, especially after that 1st day.

After that we then went down to the beach so the bikes could be wheeled in the sea and the pebbles which were collected on Morecambe beach could be thrown in to Scarbough’s sea.

So job done, the only thing left was to go and get fish and chips from of the front so that’s what we ended up doing, which were lovely may I add.

I just wanted to say a couple of thank you’s.

Firstly a big thanks to Robert Hagan who drove the minibus and trailer and kept photo’s coming on this site. He did a cracking job.

Then to Speaky, Rob and Dan because I swear that 1st day I just hated it and they kept me going.

Speaky again for getting me up them hills on the last day, it was like having your very own P.E teacher.”go on fella just up to the brow, go to the shadow, 10 more yards, now push, go on, go on”

Then to all you guys who sponsored us whether it was on the justgiving page or on the sponsor forms, we’re going to give it a week or so then we’ll be hassling for any money outstanding. We’re hoping for a few thousand pounds so its a top effort.

Lastly, we’re having a raffle from the Furlong over the next month and there’s some cracking prizes including something off Robbie!

Cheers folks and don’t forget if you’ve not yet put something on the justgiving page, don’t be shy give it a try, any amount is better than nowt!

Cheers Chewy x x