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Meeting two legends.

UK rail trip – 2022

Day 50 – 22nd May, 2022

Today I’m meeting Ed Pratt and Luke Grenfell-Shaw. For those in the cycle touring community, Ed Pratt will be quite well known. In 2015, Ed set off from Somerset with the intention of unicycling around the world while raising money for the British charity School in a Bag – a charity that provides rucksacks containing educational tools and materials for poor and vulnerable children around the world. After three and a half years, he completed the ride by returning from where he started. Ed has since done a couple of shorter expeditions. You can follow him on YouTube to keep up to date with his travels.

Luke Grenfell-Shaw was diganosed with an aggressive form of cancer back in 2018. Suffice to say, it turned his whole life upside down. The trajectory that his life was on suddenly changed. A steady job, kids and many other things people aspire to no longer seemed important. He decided that he was going to make the most of his life in the short time that he had left. Over the following couple of years, he entered into the Bristol Marathon (while still in the middle of chemotherapy) and ironman events. Thankfully, Luke is now in remission. He does not consider himself a cancer survivor, though. Remission is just that – not currently active. However, the disease is still present. Luke considers himself a CanLiver.

A CanLiver is someone living with cancer: facing the uncertainties and challenges of cancer on a daily basis, yet acknowledging we can live with cancer – richly and fully.

Luke Grenfell-Shaw.

Because of Luke’s outlook on life, he decided he was going to cycle from Bristol to Beijing. in support of cancer charities, on a tandem bicycle. Luke could have decided to cycle on a regular touring bicycle. However, he chose a tandem so other CanLivers could ride with him – whether for a short or long distance. Luke set off on his travels. However, not far in, Covid came along. After a suspension of the ride, he was able to resume. But with the Chinese border remaining shut, he’s just returned to the UK some 3,000 km short. So, he has come up with a new plan – cycling the remaining distance with the bike on a turbo trainer! He has given himself a month to ride the remaining distance at various locations around London – and people can join in by hopping on the back of the tandem bike! I decided I was going to give it a go.

I caught the London Underground from Tower Hill station to King’s Cross St. Pancras. From there, it was about a ten minute walk to the Little Creatures Brewing, where today’s event would be. I was running a little early, as I didn’t have to be there until 12:00, so I stopped by the Regent’s Canal for a little.

Regent’s Canal.

It was a little warm and the sun was quite strong, so I didn’t hang around long. I decided to try and take cover at the Brewery, son continued my walk around. As I neared the Brewery, I could hear a lot of noise and music. Just across from the Brewery, there seemed to be a kids fun run event. At just around 12:00, Ed Pratt turned up. Not long after, Luke Grenfell-Shaw arrived on his tandem bike. It didn’t take long for him to set up the turbo trainer on the back.

Myself and Ed Pratt.

I decided to join Luke on the tandem. Suffice to say, I didn’t get very far. As Luke was intending on covering as much ‘distance’ as possible, he was pedalling much faster than I. After a couple of minutes, I could no longer keep up. Still, it’s all a part of the fun of trying. It wasn’t long until Ed hopped on the back. Having recently done a tandem tour, he did much better than I!

Luke (front) & Ed (rear) on the tandem, pedalling away.

Over the course of the afternoon, a number of people gave the tandem a go. There was a bit of a competition going on, also. If you manage to cover a distance in a certain amount of time (2 minutes), the prize is a free pint from Little Creatures Brewing. Only a couple of people managed to obtain the price!

Late in the afternoon, some of us went over to a burger restaurant, called Beer + Burger, to pick up dinner. We took it back to the Brewery. Even though the Brewery does sell food, much of it had been sold out. The day soon drew to a close. Luke managed to pedal around 100 km today – 100 km closer to ‘Beijing’. With the day over, Luke and Ed went off on the tandem and I made my way back to the hostel. Since it was a nice evening, I decided I was going to walk all the way back. It would be a few kilometres and probably take around an hour. After reading London St. Pancras International, less than a kilometre down the road, I changed my mind and caught the London Underground back instead. After dropping my stuff off at the hostel, I took a walk down to Tower Bridge.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Manchester where I will be meeting Gary for the last time on this trip.

Wombat’s City Hostel London

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