The support for the Liverpool to Hull ride - almost 100% from family, friends and tanker industry colleagues - was extraordinary. At that time, (Nov 2008) I was contemplating an end to a 15 year association with the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and with its Ship Inspection Report (SIRE) Programme and definitely needed alternative interests to fill what was going to be a big hole in my life. At the suggestion of my friend John Hughes, who is also Deputy Chairman of the Mission to Seafarers, I'd joined the Board of Trustees at the Apostlehip of the Sea (AOS) a year previously, and for the first time in my career, learned in depth about the extraordinary efforts that individuals make towards seafarers' welfare. Finances at AOS were worryingly tight and the simple coincidence of enjoying cycling, which had already resulted in such a great support, spawned the idea of a charity ride around the UK. Maybe this isn't on everyone's "100 things to do before you die" list, but for a seafarer traveller who has seen most other parts of the world, but little of his own country, it was an appealing thought. With the encouragement of Sheila Bailey, Fund-raising Director at AOS, the plan to make this ride during the 2010 Year of the Seafarer, was hatched, and SEAWHEELING launched.
Seawheeling will start at 10:00 hrs on 3 Sep 2010 at the Hull Seafarers' Centre at King George Dock, Hull and comprise 60 days of riding from port to port around the UK coast. Purists will reject the route as it is does not seek to find every coastal path to keepas close as possible to the shore (Some riders insist on making the ride clockwise in order to stay as close to the sea as possible!) The ride isn't "organised" in the sense that it is policed, marshalled or supported by teams of mechanics etc. Essentially it is nothing more than a bunch of friends who will meet at designated departure points each morning and will go out for a spin, and perhaps catch up with old mates on the way. This could be for an hour or two, a day, or the entire trip. We hope that supporters will look at the itinerary and join and leave as might be convenient, as we pass their home towns. This provides a great opportunity to gain further Seawheeling support from "friends and family"