Saturday, 26 May 2012

25 May Stage 42 Ciftlik - Fethiye

Dep  3.15      Arr  4.00      Dist  13.2 km      Total
This was to be the final stage of an epic journey, a short, flat ride of 12 km or so accompanied by members of the Fethiye Cycling Club and other groups and various members of the public. It was the toughest day of them all. I was apprehensive all morning and just wanted to get it over with. I am not into speeches and photos and interviews and videos etc, but I knew it had to be done to maximise the income for the charities.

It wasn't that bad. Keith and young Adam took me down the road from where the other cyclists were convening and dropped me off at a petrol station in Yaniklar so that I could ride into the waiting crowd with maximum effect. I had a half hour or so to wait and used the time to go over my speech, hoping that I wouldn't need to make one.

The time came and I set off. After ten minutes I could see them all there and I rode in to warm applause and just the right amount of backslapping. Terry presented me with a yellow tee shirt announcing my achievement and we all set off with a police car in front leading the way. There were pockets of people at a number of junctions cheering and clapping and I actually became slightly emotional once or twice. Horns were honking as we rode into Fethiye and the crowd at the Fethiye Evi was amazing. There was a brass bad playing and cameras clicking and people cheering and clapping. I was stood there with a genuine grin on my face, slightly, no, more than slightly, embarrassed but loving it all the same.

I was ushered to the stage where I climbed onto the podium used for the proper cycling event, the Presidential Tour of Turkey. I was presented with a red and white garland, proper colours. Cameras were clicking all the time, speeches were made, by Terry, by the honourary British consul and then, by me. I think I got away with it. Things calmed down a bit then and a lot of people came and introduced themselves and congratulated me and shook my hand. It was all very pleasant and not really the ordeal I had expected.

While this was all going on we had some excellent Turkish dancers who were actually English and Scottish. There were then two chaps playing instruments and singing very nicely and I had a number of conversations with well-wishers and FIG members. We, the whole nine family members present, were then invited for a meal by the manager of the Monta Verde hotel in Ovacik, which we gratefully accepted and will be taking advantage of on Saturday evening.

It was a great day, a truly wonderful and heartwarming occasion and a day I will never forget but then there have been forty two days preceding this day that I will never forget either.

The deed is done. I have achieved what I set out to do, which was to ride from my home in Wigan, UK to my other home in Calis Beach, Fethiye, Turkey, a distance of approximately 2,500 miles or 4,000 km.

Thank you to everybody who has shown their support along the way. On occasions I felt all of the good wishes behind me in the form of a helping hand pushing me along. There were times I needed a helping hand and it was very much appreciated.

I have finished now and will enjoy a little holiday here in Calis each, but the people who work for these charities, Wigan and Leigh Hospice and the Fethiye International Group, will be out there tomorrow and the day after and the day after that, etc,doing what they do, which is quite simply to give up their time to make other people's lives better. I just hope that anyone who has read and enjoyed this story has made an appropriate contribution which will enable them to continue to carry out their wonderful work.



  1. Hi Tom. Congratulations and well done! Been reading your Blog avidly since Dan pointed me in the right direction. When the book comes out I want a signed copy!Will be making a donation to the Hospice for all your efforts.Enjoy your well earned break. Rose and Geoff. See you soon.

    1. Thanks Rose and Geoff.

      Your donation will be very much appreciated.

      All the best


  2. Got emotional then reading about the finish line/final day, once again WELL DONE and it was a pleasure to witness you start & finish this epic journey !! Lots of love Liane xxxx

    1. Great to see you there love. x x x

  3. Tom,

    You are more machine than man.... Hope you enjoy your rest.

    I simply can not put into words how big an achievement this is. We are all so proud of you here at Wigan & Leigh Hospice. I also go a little emotional reading your blog yesterday, I’m so delighted that you were given such a fabulous reception to end what has been an amazing journey.

    Sit back now Tom and reminisce on what has been an epic adventure…

    Fundraising manager
    Wigan & Leigh Hospice

    1. Thanks Dan

      Will be in touch when I get back

  4. FROM RUTH & FRANK - Well Done Tom. We have followed your blog all the way. Frank has also followed you all the way on the map. He probably knows the route as well as you do! The blog was great reading, it really described the ups, downs and emotions of it all.

    We will be Calis in two weeks time. Will you still be there? If so perhaps we can buy you a drink. Best Wishes Ruth and Frank.

    1. Thanks to you both

      I will be home on Friday but will have a chat and a drink and bore you some time soon.


  5. Well done Tom.
    What a fantastic end to your amazing journey. I have so enjoyed reading your blog and watching your progress.
    This is an outstanding achievement. Enjoy a nice cool drink and spending time with your family.Thank you for choosing to support Wigan and Leigh Hospice and WELL DONE.
    I look forward to seeing you on your return.
    Community Support Officer
    Wigan and Leigh Hospice

  6. You got away with the speech somehow, no worries there. :) Hope you raised loads of cash for Wigan Hospice and FIG and that the money keeps on rolling in. Glad to see you're carrying on with your blog for a while and congratulations on your huge achievement. We were privileged to be able to see you finish your journey!