The Latest Newsletter from the Arch to Arc Cycle Ride

What fantastic weather we’ve been having over the past few weeks, plenty of opportunities for training before the event!

This is a very quick update newsletter to let you all know that we’ve had to change the route slightly.  We are now travelling to Calais rather than Boulogne, this is because the ferry companies are no longer sailing to Boulogne for financial reasons.

This will mean that we’ll forgo the stay in Dover on the first night and sail straight across to Calais which will give us a nice fresh start on the next day. We’ll publish the day 2 change in route on the web-site in due course so that those of you with GPS devices can upload them if you wish.

In terms of any extra distance it’s marginal so dont worry about that!

By now you should all have heard from Crispin with regards to the arrangements, rooms, shirt sizes, trains, bikes etc etc.  If you haven’t heard from us then please let us know as soon as possible so we can make sure we have everything organised.

As ever if you have any questions then please feel free to call us or e-mail us by clicking on this link

Keep up the training and we’ll be in touch again soon!

Andy Thomas Arch To Arc co-ordinator

Crispin Dior James Whale Fund Events Team

Posted under Andy Thomas, Arch To Arc 2011

This post was written by AndyThomas on April 25, 2011

The latest Arch to Arc Newsletter


First of all thank you once again to all of you who have signed up the Arch To Arc. With over 30 riders for this year’s event entries are now closed. So we have the team and we’re all raring to go!

Your Training

We hope you’re fully stuck into your training schedule. If not – don’t worry, you still have a good amount of time to feel fully prepared for the event by following the 14 week plan on our web site. For more information click on this link.  The weather’s been great recently so let’s hope it keeps up so we all have no excuses!

Your Fundraising

Most of you will be well on your way to your personal £1000 target and money is now starting to come into the charity, so thank you for your efforts so far, lets keep it going!

What you need to know

We’ll be setting off from London at 8am on the 23rd June so you need to make sure you’ve made arrangements to be at Speaker’s Corner (next to Marble Arch) by 7:30am at the latest.

We’ll take care of the rest! Ferries, Hotels and rail tickets will be taken care of and food will be provided along the way, breakfast, snacks, drinks, lunch and evening meals.  The only meal we ask you to pay for is your breakfast on the ferry over to Boulogne because we have a very early start on the Friday morning and there wont be time to get breakfast at the hotel before hand (The ferry does a great cooked breakfast!!).

We’ll give you the exact times for the rail trip back to London in the coming weeks once we have the confirmations from everyone (see below), however to help you we anticipate arriving in Paris around 2pm.

What we need from you

Here’s a list of things you need to let us know NOW so we can deal with the final fine details:

  • How do you want to get your bike back?  Click on this link to see the 3 options we have on offer.
  • If you are cycling with a partner or friend then please let us know who you want to share a room with for our overnight stays along the way. If you are cycling on your own, dont worry we’ll sort it for you.
  • What is your shirt size (s, m, l, xl)?  We want to provide everyone with a James Whale Fund cycling shirt as a momento of your efforts and for photo opportunities to promote the fund.
  • Any special dietary requirements you may have?
  • If you want to stay in Paris overnight then please let us know so we can book a rail ticket for you next day rather than on the day we arrive. You’ll be expected to make your own Hotel arrangements for that night if you’re staying in Paris.  For those staying we intend to arrange an informal post ride diner at somewhere reasonably priced where we can all share the costs.
  • Confirmation back to us of your full name as it appears on your passport.

That’s it for now, as ever if you have any questions then please feel free to call us or e-mail us by clicking on this link

Keep up the training and we’ll be in touch again soon!

Andy Thomas Arch To Arc co-ordinator

Crispin Dior James Whale Fund Events Team

Things you need to do and think about

Have you got your insurance?

How you want your bike to get back?

Have you started training yet?



Arch to Arc is a fundraising event of the James whale Fund, with its own unique WEB site. Please note that Unsubscribing to the Arch to Arc updates and any of its Newsletters will NOT exclude you from receiving updates and information about the General work and other events that the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer may send from time to time. To do this you must visit the site of and take the Unsubscribe option.


Posted under Andy Thomas, Arch To Arc 2011

This post was written by AndyThomas on March 30, 2011

A long time since my last blog……

It’s been ages and ages since I last write a blog but I’ve been so busy just settling down into my new job, riding bikes, buying dogs, roller-skiing and trying to sleep that there hasn’t been time.

However I thought it would be worth publishing the Arch to Arc video so you can all see what it was like, and hey it might even encourage some of you to sign up for it next year ………. Here it is!

Arch 2 Arch London/Paris Cycle from Laurence Cameron on Vimeo.

I think Laurie has done a great job, just about the right length.

The roller-skiing has started again in ernest, which is a good thing since I’ve put on so much weight since the bike ride… Crazy given all the cycling, running and skiing I’ve done, but at least you now know why there’s a pie shortage in Southern England.

Lots of exciting things have been going on at the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer over the past couple of months. I’ll try and make an effort to write about them shortly, things like the nurses on-line training course and the Patient Day that’s coming up on the 17th November. Check out the web-site if you want to learn more.

Oh yeah, and here’s a pici of the new hound ….

Hands up who didn’t go Awwww Cute!!! ….. (we’ll see just how cute it remains once she’s destroyed our carpets and furniture).

Please sponsor me by clicking on either of these links VirginGiving

Posted under Andy Thomas, Arch To Arc 2011, General

This post was written by AndyThomas on August 25, 2010

Just a week left to the great Kidney Cancer Arch to Arc Cycle Ride!!

We’re so close now to the event,  just a few days and we’re all off to Paris and if the weather holds like it is today it’ll be fantastic !

The team have raise over £22,000 so far and the contributions still seem to be coming in…. what an effort!

It sounds like the team have been training hard and every-one’s physically ready, but don’t forget to give yourself a few days off before we go, time to taper off as they say.  My final ride will be on Sunday (the London to Brighton) and I’m just going to take it nice and easy and enjoy the day.  I can’t do anymore than I’ve done and my experience from doing it back in March tells me that it’s worth being well rested up before we start. 

Also If you can get to your local bike shop before we go then it’s worth getting them to give it a quick check over, however a certain amount of spares will be taken and we have a spare bike in the support van if all else fails.  There are cycle shops along the route (at least in Boulogne and Aberville so we can get parts if needed, they all seemed to be very helpful)

As before, if you’ve got any questions about logistics or anything then let me know, I’m taking the whole of next week off so I have plenty of time to run around for people if needed.  We have a final pre-event meeting over at the James Whale Fund on Monday where we’ll do our final checks.

Everyone should have received their Arch to Arc tops by now, and here’s a picture of one of the riders modelling it for us …nice hip work Trevor!!  Makes it all seem much more real, the excitement for me is palpable.

The Official Arch to Arc Shirt

I’ve been forced into riding my push-bike into work this week due to a flat tyre on my motorbike :(   I was only intending to ride in one day this week, but never mind at least the sun’s out.  My BMW dealership love to delay things, I almost feel guilty asking them for anything, it’s like they’re doing me some big favour allowing me to buy one.  Anyway, enough of that I could rant for hours on how badly I’ve been treated as a customer.

As for next year’s ride, I’ve been plodding around the streets of London during my Lunch-hours going into as many cycle shops as possible asking them to put up a poster and leaving them with a batch of leaflets, they’ve all been pretty nice about it so far and CycleSurgery and Evans Cycles have both given me contacts in their head office marketing departments. 

We’re looking to learn from this year’s ride and extend it to 50 people next year so it’s going to mean a lot of leg work to get the riders.  Jane and the kids have agreed to hand out leaflets at the London to Brighton event this weekend to see if tapping into a targeted audience has any impact.  I’m of the belief that doing as many of the Cycling Sportif’s as possible this year and handing out leaflets and talking to people may be the best way forward.  Anyway, nothing to lose by trying that approach.

If you’re reading this and still want to donate then please click on one of the links at the bottom of this blog, if we could get to £25,000 this year … well, wow!!

Please sponsor me by clicking on either of these links VirginGiving or JustGiving

Posted under Andy Thomas, Arch To Arc 2010, Arch To Arc 2011

This post was written by AndyThomas on June 16, 2010

Care to Cycle? ……..

I’m in a quandary. I’ve been raising money now for the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer over the past 3 years and I hope I’ve been reasonably successful at it, or at the very least played my part .  The Arch to Arc Cycle Ride is clearly the one thing that I can point at and call an achievement, yes it would have been nice to have had a few more riders this year however it’s the first time it’s been done and it’s been kept deliberately small this year whilst we find our feet and discover the SNAFUs with a smaller more manageable group.

The great news is for this year, we’ve hit out £20,000 target, which I think for a dozen or so people is an absolutely amazing achievement, so yet again, thanks to everyone on the team, you’ve all been brilliant! and I’m so looking forward to just getting on and doing it in a few weeks time.

It has to be said that no matter how much advice you glean from others that have run these types of events it’s still a learning experience when you do it.  It’s a bit like riding a bike really, you can be told exactly what to do and how to do it, but it still takes a while to find your balance once you get on.  I know there maybe some folks that felt it might have been best if we’d gone with a larger group.  Well, we did take that into consideration but the Fund really wanted to do this for themselves, and I can see why.  If you go with a larger group of charities you’re diluting the message you want to get across.  It does mean the growth and learning curve is going to be steep, but the net result, we hope, is that we have an event that is wholly specific to Kidney Cancer…. “from little acorns” as they say.

So what’s my quandary?  Well, it’s that steep growth curve I want to achieve.  There are two things that concern me.  One is personal:

  • How do I raise £2000/£3000  year on year? How do I go back to my friends and colleagues each year asking again and again? It’s a big ask.  Everyone has been very generous and I get a sense that people get “Giving Fatigue” … I know I do.

So what do I do?  Do I get a new set of friends? …. well that’s not terribly logical and I’m quite happy with the ones I’ve got.  However, if I can’t keep on asking for their money maybe I need to engage people in a different way and ask them to push the event harder on their own Social Networks i.e. Friends of Friends. That’s one way I guess, but I sense the message will get more and more diluted the further the degrees of separation.

I think the real answers for me are four fold

  1. I need to engage local business more than I’ve done so far and get out there and pound the streets a bit.  It’s the annual donations that will really make a difference.
  2. Look at doing little mini-events like Curry nights or maybe even mini-cycle events.  We could look at creating a James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer Sportif around the Watford area (or Cambridge where the charity’s based)
  3. Try and engage the Social networking wizzards like JP to see if they have ideas on how you can mobilise an army of twitter & facebook friends/followers
  4. Make sure that we publicise what the charity will be using this money for and how it can help patients and their families.  I’ve often been asked that question this year, especially from those people who work in a health related profession.  I can’t tell you how important that is, there are quite a few people out there that are reticent to give because they’re not sure if the money will be used wisely.

My seconnd quandry is less personal but still relevant to the first one:

  • How do we attract up to 200 people onto this event, year on year?  What’s the hook?  What will make people choose the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer instead of something else?

I really don’t have any real answers to this, but plenty of ideas

  • Clearly, we’re going to have to make it good … year on year.
  • Get each of the major cycle shops (like Evans and Cyclesurgery) to put adverts up on their web-sites and in their shops
  • Advertise in the cycle trade journals
  • Write articles for one of the trade journals on this years event

However what I really want to do is to tap into the family and friends of Kidney Cancer patients.  I think this is where we could make this event a really special thing.  I love the fact that as a Kidney Cancer survivor myself I can give back by taking on this type of challenge, and there has to be more folks like me that feel the same way.  I have my health, which is the one thing I can give.  If you’re in the US or anywhere else in the world this could be a great way of tying it into a European holiday.

So to all you fellow survivors or patients, pass this message onto you nearest and dearest, and to your friends.  See if they want to come along to next year’s event.  Lets see if we can grow this event into something really special.

If anyone has good ideas or ways to push this then please let me know, I could use all the help I can get!

Please sponsor me by clicking on either of these links VirginGiving or JustGiving

Posted under Arch To Arc 2010, Arch To Arc 2011, General

This post was written by AndyThomas on May 28, 2010

Arch to Arc 2010 – Last few weeks before the off!

Before I move onto the Arch to Arc ride I thought I’d report on my time at the KCA patient day a couple of weeks ago in London.  It was a long but interesting day covering a varied set of topics ranging from the very scientific to the practicalities of dealing day to day with the side effects of treatments.

I did take some notes on the day but to be honest looking back on them they’re probably of little value to anyone.  Anything that helps raise awareness is always a good thing.  What it did highlight to me (and I dont mean this to sound bad) is that most of the questions were directed at the nurses who were able to provide really good practical advice to patients about the control of side effects and the various treatment options.

There was one area they touched upon and that was patient appeals for drugs not approved by NICE and I wanted to bring readers attention to that.  Please dont feel you’re alone with this; Rose Woodward and Julia Black are always available to help you wade through this.  If you want to contact either of them then go via the James Whale Fund forum (Kidney Cancer Support Network).  Appeals can be very fraught, so realise there is help out there.

Anyway, onto the Arch to Arc. We’re down to the last few weeks before we set off and I’m getting really twitchy and excited by it.  Myself, Nikki and Sarah from the fund are off on a jaunt to Paris next weekend after the riders get together in Cambridge on Saturday.  Why are we doing this?  Well, we want to check the route one more time (by car) so everyone is comfortable that we know where we’re going and where the best stop off points are along the route.  Yes I cycled it a month back but I have to admit that it was hard work and I wasn’t as able to take as many notes as I’d hoped.

What we want to do is break the route out into 20 mile’ish chunks so we all get regular breaks which is pretty much what you’d expect on an organised ride of any sort.  We want it to be a fun run, not a race!

I know lots of the team are starting to do really long rides (75 Miles+).   I’m so pleased that we’re all out there training, it at least means we know what we’re in for.  I get the odd message from Sally, Sam, Trevor and Jeanie telling me of their exploits (which is spurring me on to do more training).  Some of them have been doing these things called “Sportives” which seem to be events organised by local cycle clubs that can give you a 50 – 100Mile organised run, you may want to check them out, here’s the link.

I had a great ride this weekend called the Hyde900 (Wantage to Winchester) with Ptol (another of the riders). It was about 53 Miles through rolling countryside. I’m for sure going to do that one again next year as it was so much better than the London to Brighton.

However here’s a lesson for all us riders. Please, please make sure your bike has had a good service through a reputable bike shop before you embark on this.  I had mine serviced just before I went to Paris last time and it’s already worn out.  I need new front cogs, a new crank shaft, new headset bearings and pedals (some of it was in a pretty dangerous state).  I took it in by chance today to get a “granny” gear fitted only to find that was the least of my problems.

If you’re like me you just get on the bike and ride it, I’m not much for servicing it myself or doing general maintenance, ergo it gradually starts wearing out without me knowing it.  So dont forget, get somebody to give your cycle a quick look over, dont rely wholly on your own judgment no matter how experienced you are.

Good news as ever!! We’ve collectively hit over 90% of the £20,000 target and the money keeps on coming in.  This money is going to really help, and I think for the first year it’s an amazing effort.  Special Thanks has to goto Sally Hewitt who has raised over 1/4 of the money so far … go team Sally!!

So, we’re onto next year then … who’s up for it? We’re starting to take names, our target is 50 people to raise £50,000.  It’s an ambitious target but you have to have ambition, right? If you want to sign up then the details can be found on either facebook or at the James Whale Fund web-site.  Pass the word round to those who wanted to do it this year or who expressed an interest.  If you’re cycling in these Sportive type events then pass it along to those you meet on the way.

Keep on pedalling and hope to see most of you this Saturday, if not then see you at the Arch!

Please sponsor me by clicking on either of these links VirginGiving or JustGiving

Posted under Arch To Arc 2010, Arch To Arc 2011

This post was written by AndyThomas on May 17, 2010

Arch to Arc Update ……….

It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog, however it’s been a very busy time for me having just started a new job.  My focus has been elsewhere, however it hasn’t stopped me training and getting myself ready.

The biggest pain I’ve had to deal with is thinking I’d be able to commute to my new job and have a safe place to put my bike, sadly no …..  so I’ve had to purchase a foldaway bike that I can keep by my desk.  I’m amazed at how good it is, clearly it’s not quite as fast as my road bike, but it’s pretty close and has the same riding position.  So I’ve done 120 miles on it this week!

I’ve also got a couple of big rides coming up, the Wantage to Winchester and the London to Brighton.  Both of these are around 50 miles so will be great warm ups for the London to Paris, and dont forget that those of you on the team that want to get together, we have the 22nd May to look forward to.  I hope that everyone on the team has been busy building up their mileage, it’s not long now before the big event.

Jane, my wife’s, been busy and completed the London Marathon in an impressive 4hrs 20mins for the James Whale Fund

London Marathon 2010

Quite a day, I’ve never been to one before and it’s great to see London with no cars.  I might try for it myself next year if I can summon up the energy to do all that training.

The Arch to Arc fund raising is going very well, we’re getting really close to our £20,000 target and it’s made me think that it’s time to start contemplating 2011.

It may seem a little early to start planing the next ride, but to be honest I’d like to see if we can get 50 riders signed up next year.  I’ll be creating a facebook page inviting people to sign up so for those of you who missed out this year and want to be part of it in 2011 then now’s your chance.  Just get in touch with me.

To bring the need of raising awareness a little closer to home for me an ex-work colleague of mine sadly passed away this week of Kidney Cancer (so I’ve been told).  It was a total shock to us and I dont think many of us even knew he’d been ill.  Such a shame, he was a great guy and well liked, and so young.  My heart goes out to his family.

Please sponsor me by clicking on either of these links VirginGiving or JustGiving

Posted under Andy Thomas, Arch To Arc 2010, Arch To Arc 2011

This post was written by AndyThomas on May 2, 2010