I spent eight hours driving 100 miles at the weekend - and no, I wasn't stuck in bank holiday traffic. I was part of the support crew for a fantastic annual event I help organise as part of my job as the part-time Community Affairs Manager for the toys and games company, Hasbro.
The whole toy industry takes part in an annual charity cycle ride that sees teams doing Land's End to John O'Groats, and back in a single day, raising more than £50,000 for disadvantaged children.
The country is divided into 'legs'. The support crew is also split up. For the past two years we've drawn the short straw and I've had to co-ordinate getting bikes and bodies up to Scotland - and back.
This year luck was on our side and I drew the Worcester to Somerset leg, which meant no plane flights, lovely scenery and not too many hills.
While the scenery is stunning at Aviemore in Scotland, I was glad I was driving it rather than having to cycle!
My role on the day was as one of the support drivers, keeping track of all the cyclists, making sure everyone was safe, on the same route and handing out refreshments, such as bananas, energy bars and drinks. It was amazing being part of such a great team.
Our nine cyclists - Graham Pullinger, Charlotte Pain, Emma Spivey, Mark Wilde, Pete Burcham, Martin Rowe, Paul McPherson, Hayden West and Marcus Paddison (pictured above) completed their 100-mile pedal in a very admirable eight hours. The Hit! team going the other way took 12 hours to complete its leg!
Despite four of the riders taking unscheduled detours in Gloucester and five punctures, the team managed to prove that it's significantly quicker to cycle through Bristol on a Saturday afternoon than it is to drive!
As they all whizzed past me at different times, I hoped they'd
manage to find their way through the maze of roads. I was glad it was me that took a wrong turning, ending up on the M32, and not one of our riders.
A special mention for Graham Pullinger, who managed to complete the journey despite suffering four punctures, the first of which happened less than a mile into the ride and the last on the final mile.
I helped pump his tyre up for him but was glad some of the other cyclists stopped to help change the tyre as I wouldn't have known where to start!
Graham (pictured below) flagged me down half way through saying that he'd forgotten to put Vaseline somewhere really important and would I help him. I look at him, horrified, until he explained he needed it on his eyebrows to stop the sweat dripping in his eyes. Very funny, Graham!
Hayden West also gets a mention for managing to increase the route by two miles. Rather than stopping at the scheduled finish point, Hayden, the first to reach it, decided to
keep riding until the magic 100 appeared on his bicycle's distance counter!
A massive 'well done' to the team. It's a huge achievement and it was amazing to see how they supported each other throughout the ride by stopping to help with punctures, motivating each other and generally getting through.
There is still time to sponsor the Hasbro cyclists. You can make a donation, via their web page at www.justgiving.com/ hasbrocycleride08.
On a slightly different tack, Imust tell you about a great-sounding remake of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre, in Regents Park between July 8 and August 2.
Shakespeare's play has been re-imagined for anyone aged over six years and this 80-minute version is rich in physical humour and visual delights.
The show last two hours, including the interval. Tickets cost £12. Book early by calling 0844 826 4242 or see www.openairtheatre.org