Team Katy Achieves Four Corners of Britain Success

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Some of you may have read previously about Team Katy’s endeavour to travel over 2,000 miles around the UK on motorbikes to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, after my mother was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at just 56 years old. She has loved bikes all of her life so when we got the diagnosis and decided to raise money, motorbikes were the natural place for us to turn. The team consisted of my fiancé Zoë and myself, my uncle Colin, my step father Mick and my mother Kate who planned to ride in the sidecar.

The challenge we set ourselves was to reach the ‘Four Corners’ of mainland Great Britain; these are the furthest points you can reach to the North, South, East and West. After Zoë and I began our part of the ride by visiting RAF Marham and getting a fantastic send off from my colleagues, we headed to the Tri Anglia Wheels Sidecar Rally in St Neots; from there we headed to Lowestoft Ness (furthest East) in Suffolk before returning to the rally to pack up tents and begin the ride down to Cornwall where the second destination, Lizard Point is located. Some of you may think that these distances aren’t too far, however when your team consists of a classic Triumph Bonneville with a sidecar and a trailer, a Yamaha Virago Trike also towing a trailer and a Royal Enfield loaded with two people and luggage, your top speed isn’t much over 55mph!

The leg to Cornwall took two days to reach St Austell which would act as our base for two nights whilst we headed to Lizard Point and Land’s End (included for good measure as we were close by). En route we had a few maintenance issues; the Triumph developed an oil and fuel leak as well as problems with the clutch. We finally limped in to our campsite in St Austell and made some running repairs before heading to Lizard Point and Land’s End. On our return to the campsite it became apparent that Mick and Kate couldn’t continue with the ride and with great sadness for the team they had to head back home. Despite this setback Zoë, Colin and my self decided that we would continue on and complete the ‘Four Corners’.

The next few days were focussed on getting up to Scotland without losing more time; we were now behind schedule due to the repairs. We did manage to make a small detour and visit Alan Hitchcock’s Motorcycles in Coventry, who had so generously donated his bike for Zoë and I to use. On our journey up we hit some truly terrible weather and ended up soaked through to the bone. Later that day we arrived in Luss by Loch Lomond where we decided to take a day to dry out and do any repairs as well as allowing our aching limbs to recover.

Without further delay and bright and early on the Monday we made for Ardnamurchan Point in Scotland which is the most Westerly point. The ride out there is very long and along single track roads for the majority of the way, which was a biker’s heaven (not so much for Zoë who happens to hate bikes – don’t ask how I convinced her to come along!) and when we reached the point there were many smiles from Colin and I. I should let you know that whilst riding out there the chain fell off the Enfield which took nearly and hour to fix, then ten minutes later my brakes also decided to over heat which resulted in another ten minute roadside repair). Our journey back took a very long time and we only just managed to find a campsite before they all closed for the night.

The long slog from Fort William up to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point, followed without delay. The fantastic views as we drove up Loch Ness were truly inspiring and kept morale high – thankfully the weather took a turn for the better. An overnight stay just outside Dunnet Head lead into the next day where we actually went to the Lighthouse which is the most northerly point before visiting Jon O’Groats and getting a photo with the iconic signpost. We then planned to make our way back as far as Perth, but alas disaster had to strike again as the Yamaha lost all electrics which resulted in us having to bump start it every time we stopped. After diagnosing that we needed a new battery, and not being able to locate one we decided to make an over night stop in Inverness before a very long day getting to Jedburgh. Here we decided to have a celebratory dinner before a final days riding back home to Lincolnshire. Or so we thought…

Whilst on the A1(M) just south of J47 the rubber bung in the bottom of the carburettor on the Enfield fell out whilst in the middle lane, the subsequent loss of all power and fuel spilling from the bike meant a dramatic swerve onto the hard shoulder and a dejected ten minutes staring at the now unusable bike. The decision to plug the hole with chewing gum just to get to Wetherby services two miles down the road wasn’t made lightly until Zoë remembered that she had breakdown cover! 22 minutes later the breakdown man appeared and gave us a good scolding for our attempted bodge job before sealing the hole and getting us back on the road, now several hours behind schedule. We made a last 70 mile push into the late hours before finally rolling into Lincolnshire for a good night’s kip.

On the Saturday, Zoë and I made our way back up the A1 to just outside Selby for the Federation of Sidecars rally which was our official end point. We were met by Mick and Kate for a few photos and a good pat on the back before heading home to begin the washing and cleaning. Our total mileage came in at just over 2500!

We are all overwhelmed that we have completed the ride even in the face of so many upsets and break downs, but we are so proud that we completed it for my Mum and of the money that we have raised so far. We would like to say a huge thank you to all of those that have supported us and donated so far.

Our main supporters have been:
Alan Hitchcock’s: Loan of the Royal Enfield for the ride
Principal Insurance: Discounted Insurance of Royal Enfield
Carole Nash: Insurance of the Triumph
Avon Tyres: Tyres for the Triumph
Anson Classics: Sidecar Check and Service
Davida UK: Helmet Visors
Hagon Ltd: Rear Shocks
Norman Hyde Ltd: Triumph Spares
Morgo Power Equipment: Rotary Oil Pump and Gauge
Rex Caunt Racing: Engineering Assistance
Ride on Direct: Discounted Riding Gear

As of 29th August 2013 we have £889.15 on our JustGiving page with more money still to be collected from people as well as collections from Asda in Grantham and the Carole Nash Bike Bonanza in Newark.

Our target was to raise £1,000, we know that we have probably reached that now, but we really want to go even further. Having seen first hand some of the incredible work done by the Alzheimer’s Society, I hope to make a contribution to this, as the ongoing research is getting closer and closer to unlocking a cure. If the money we raise can help bring about a cure or even better treatment sooner, and provide hope to the sufferers and their relatives everywhere.

I know that times are hard for everyone, but every donation really does help. If you want to donate please visit our Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/michael-payne1 You can also find our Facebook page to see some of the photos and also read about our preparations and what happened as it happened, the link is www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Katy/337565223023474 or just search for ‘Team Katy’ and find the one that has pictures of motorbikes.

Currently there are around 800,000 people in the UK who suffer from Dementia, with 496,000 of those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Dementia and Alzheimer’s affect the brain structure and initially leads to confusion, forgetting people’s names, appointments and recent events. People also experience mood swings and frustration before becoming withdrawn and having difficulty carrying out every day activities such as using a TV remote and counting their change at the shop. As Alzheimer’s progresses people will need more and more support from those around them; eventually they will need help with all of their daily activities. In total it is estimated that dementia care in the UK cost £23 billion per year, with an expected cost of £34.8 billion by 2026.

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