PSAEW Vice President’s Cycling Challenge 2017

PSAEW’s  Vice President Paul Griffiths is once again embarking on a charity adventure, this year to raise money for National Police Memorial Day.

His feat for 2017 is to cycle between the 46 police headquarters in England and Wales that are part of the Association, using his annual leave and rest days to cover more than 2200 miles. 

Paul will be cycling three to four days per month and is inviting members and other colleagues and staff to join him over the legs of the route.

His aim is to raise £1200 for National Police Memorial Day which will be held in Cardiff on Sunday 24th September 2017 in memory of fallen officers.

He recently completed the first leg of the journey – where else but Wales! – and this is his first blog…

Day 1 (27/01) – St David’s Centre Cardiff to South Wales Police and Dyfed Powys Police HQ

The day started at 0400 from St David’s Centre in Cardiff – the host of the National Police Memorial Day on Sunday 24th September. It was the start of a journey where I hope to cycle between all 46 Headquarters of the forces supported by the Supers’ Association.

Whilst it was the start of my journey, it was the end of a great night for a few drunken stragglers making their way home. It was a nice and easy start through the city before joining the rather unlit A48 to Cowbridge and Bridgend. The challenge in the dark was avoiding potholes and cats. I arrived at South Wales Police HQ at 0530 and, not surprisingly at that time, it was very quiet.

I carried on the journey along the A48 and in the dark I started to lose my bearings a little. Thanks to the sat nav on my phone and Port Talbot Steel Works Fires that lit the sky, I managed to stay on the correct route to Swansea. I lost my way through Swansea and had to navigate some draining steep hills until I was firmly back on the A48. I have driven the A48 to Carmarthen on numerous occasions – it always seemed fairly flat in a car – I now realise it isn’t! It seemed to go on forever but I was delighted to arrive at Dyfed Powys Police HQ to be met by Supt Claire Parmenter for a quick photo and a catch up.

Today in numbers:

  • 2/46 Headquarters
  • 6 hours 30 minutes cycling
  • 77 miles completed

Day 2 (28/01) Carmarthen to Borth

I started to cycle again in Carmarthen and sitting back on the saddle was, shall we say, ‘an experience’. It was a day of rolling hills, where every incline started to feel a little more challenging. I regularly saw the bilingual road signs ‘Araf Slow’ and realised how compliant I was being today. This was a trudge. The weather held off and it was a pretty good day but the cumulative effect of the first day and the complete lack of training / experience was becoming more and more evident. A couple of times my legs wouldn’t turn the wheel and I had to dismount on the 12-25% slopes – a welcome break for one part of my body! It was a relief to arrive in Borth just as the Sun was setting.

Today in numbers:

  • 2/46 Headquarters
  • 5 hours cycling – 11 hours and 30 minutes total
  • 51 Miles completed – 128 miles in total

Day 3 (29/01) Borth to North Wales Police HQ

With a wince of pain, I was back on the saddle at 0600. This day was going to be a challenge – cycling through Snowdonia. I was starting to wish I was a member of the Dutch National Police Superintendents’ Association! It was dark and cold as I made my way from Borth to Machynlleth. I kept a steady pace as I continued onto to Dollgellau. The sun had risen but the valley environment still kept the warmth away. By the time I had reached Blaenau Festiniog, I was struggling and it was mind over matter (and there is plenty of matter!). I was now in Snowdonia – the most hilly section. This was exhausting and I had to push the wheels up some incredibly steep and long slopes. However, once I had managed to get to Betwys-y-Coed, the terrain became kinder and I realised the final destination was reachable! I stopped at one point for a stretch, got back on the bike and with one leg clipped in, found myself falling over onto the road. I was expecting to come off the bike at some point but not in such an embarrassing way. Only my pride was dented and I was soon motoring along and into Colwyn Bay – arriving at North Wales Police Headquarters at 1500 hours

Today in numbers:

  • 3/46 Headquarters
  • 9 hours cycling – 20 hours and 30 minutes in total
  • 81 miles completed – 209 miles in total

So far Paul has raised £200 of his £1200 target, with £130 coming in online donations to  http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulGriffithsPSAEW

and £70 in pledges offline.

He said:

“I’ve chosen National Police Memorial Day for my charity this year as it is a very special day for the service, for officers and for their families.

“It is a day when we come together to remember those who have died and show our immense gratitude for their service. We also give thanks for the bravery and dedication shown by officers across the country every day in protecting the public and keeping people safe.

“I’m really grateful for the encouragement so far, both in donations and in logistics and moral support.

“However there is a long road ahead – literally – so everyone’s help will be hugely appreciated. People are welcome to ride with me on for part of the journey, or even just come along to wave me off or welcome me to a finish line. I’m going to need it!”