Thursday, August 22, 2013

My cousin Mike, his bike, the "Auld Alliance"...and 260 miles, Edinburgh to Paris: Inspiration!

Mike, at home in Bridge of Allan.
My cousin Mike is an inspiration. His comments appear here every now and again. "MG Mike" - that's him. Mike lives in the beautiful Victorian Spa town of Bridge of Allan in Scotland. Walk out his front door and in just moments, you're on a marvellous walking and running route, through quiet pastoral fields, amidst the sheep and horses. Historic Stirling Castle and the National Wallace Monument, the towering tribute to Sir William Wallace, are in full view and seem to rise majestically out of the trees. 

Stirling Castle, a 16th Century centre of arts, culture, and royalty.
The monument to Sir William Wallace..
Mike is one of the 36 participants in this year's Auld Alliance Cycle Ride. (The Auld Alliance was the "alliance" or treaty between John Balliol, the King of Scotland and King Phillip IV of France way back in 1295. A special relationship, between the two countries, has been remembered ever since.) The event begins at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and after an overnight ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, Belgium, the gruelling miles in the saddle truly begin - 260 miles in four days, all the way to the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Mike has a reason for doing this. He's raising funds and awareness for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and in memory of his wife, Isabel, who passed away from breast cancer three years ago. In an interview with the Allanwater Herald, a few weeks ago, he said, "I felt it was time to get out there and help this charity which researches the causes of breast cancer and is making exciting, hope-filled discoveries of how genes can be highlighted and targeted. It has been many years since I have been on a bicycle so I know this will require a major effort on my part." Mike also shared this important thought: "The way I see it, is that you never know what will happen in life so you might as well make the most of every opportunity." 

"MG Mike" and Joan, in his other "ride" - pretty sweet!
(1953 MG TD, XPAG 1250cc engine, with twin SU carbs) 
And Mike does exactly that, from training runs on dark, winter mornings, through to these last few days before the cycle ride begins, he makes the most of every opportunity...and every moment.

"Hope" begins here - with a smile! 
Looking forward to toasting you, Mike, with one of the TinPot's fine "Bramble" ales...very soon. :) 

Journey safely...and enjoy those miles and the camaraderie of the Auld Alliance.

You are, indeed, an inspiration. 



  1. What an inspiration! It will be a journey of a lifetime and create very special memories.
    Your cousin Mike appears to be a little more outgoing and creative in his attire than you Duncan, maybe some of it will rub off on you when you next visit.
    Best wishes MG ..a safe journey.

  2. There you go, Mike. That's our Linda. :) "More outgoing and creative in his attire", eh? I really don't know what she's talking about! Haha! Thanks L, good comment. D.

  3. Go well Mike, and enjoy the "journey" as well as just the miles.....

    Kind Regards

  4. Well put, Ian, thank you. Best wishes. Duncan.

  5. The Auld Alliance Cycle Ride was given a good mention on our local radio station on Monday morning. I wish him a safe journey for a very worthwhile cause!

  6. Many thanks for that, Sarah. They'll be well on their way now and Mike will appreciate reading your comment when he's back. Best wishes from Joan and I. Duncan.