Day 16 – Shrewsbury-Birmingham
Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton. Lest we forget. 85 kilometres of pure hell that i never want to relive.
I started off where I finished. About 5 miles from a place called Wem. One of those places that have bunting up by the chippy. I’m assuming it’s a retirement village because its quaint, clean and the only person I know who enjoys this much bunting is my nan. Pleasant little place but getting from there to Wolverhampton via Shrewsburys ground was one of the hardest thing I’ve done this trip.
The worst thing about this trip is only seeing 1 stadium when you’re out for 10 hours. But these trips are needed to be done to get to cities where there are more than one. The Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium, home to Shrewsbury Town was where I landed after a swift 13 miles dodging roadkill through the country lanes of Shropshire. Shrewsbury Town have a nice stadium. The front of it would make for an awesome picture, but some plank has decided to put a bloody lamppost right in the middle.
It’s only 13 years old and you can tell, it’s still shinier than Kojaks bonce in the sun and nothings made of wood. To all you fans who haven’t seen it yet, heres a sneaky peek at how your pitch is looking for the new season 👍
Quite a small stadium for a new build. Especially as it’s the only club around for a good couple of miles radius. But I was shocked to see the population of Shrewsbury is only 71,715. Unless someone’s literally just given birth there this minute, which messes up my system. So 1 in 7 people in the area are going to watch the team, which to be fair is bloody impressive as the stadium holds 9,875, with their record attendance being 10,361 when they added temporary seating. Despite covid, they must be expecting those record crowds again soon, as the Lidl next door to the stadium currently has a sale on garden furniture.
Shrewsbury town do what they want. Their rivalry with nearby Hereford was recently ranked British footballs 19th most fierce rivalry. Other rivals the club have upon research, include everyone else. When now defunct rivals Chester City disbanded, a new club, Chester FC was born. So they started hating them instead. So little of a damn they give, their chairman Roland Wycherley even went and named a stand after himself.
They’ve even won the Welsh Cup six times. Which would explain this homage to Gavin and Stacy.
The Shrews, give not a toss. About anything. Which makes them a top club. Great work 👍
So on to Wolverhampton. A treacherous journey. Some of you are intrigued as to what its like doing this, so as I only saw 1 stadium today, let me take the time of explaining to you some of the pitfalls of being on the road on a day like this. All 40 miles of it. Everything was Uphill. Let me put it into context. I’d rather set up a group chat on WhatsApp with all my exes than face this Shropshire terrain again. Cycling on a constantly serious incline for around 27 miles is painful and time consuming. Especially when you have to stop at every single hospital and doctors surgery you drive past to have them surgically remove a bike seat from your arse.
People passing me on e-bikes laughing because I’m slogging it on a normal bike is fun. It’s like watching someone with a beautiful girl walk past you, all smug, making sure you acknowledge what they’ve got, but you know she’s cheating. Also I’ve learned that motorists LOVE cyclists. Probably as much as a slug loves a relaxing salt bath. Talking of which, I was determined to slug my way to Wolverhampton.
The worst thing is looking at a never ending incline that you can’t even see the end of, but you know you have to do it. It’s like when you owe your mate a favour and they invite you to their kids Christmas school play. You know it’s going to be rubbish but you have to do it anyway. Or a B road that people insist of either testing their Lambourghinis at 90 miles an hour round the endless bends in a loop or taking their caravans for a spin down. I swear to God, no one who owns a Mini takes B roads or country lanes. It’s reserved for boy racers, people with the widest cars known to man, tractors and tanks.
Every single time I built up speed today, the cycle path lasted about as long as my first ever performance in bed. In fact it was exactly like it. The momentum was non existent, I couldn’t pick up pace for long periods of time and no one walked away happy. It gets frustrating but I finally got to Wolverhampton at about 9pm and checked into a lovely hotel that I can only assume took the inspirations for their rooms from old pictures of the cells in Alcatraz.
So, todays tale of the tape looks like this; 1,504.6 kilometres ridden, 40 clubs visited, £3,661 raised
Genuinely, thank you for all your support, honestly you lot are brilliant, with your support, donations and shouting out to your friends, family and everyone on social media, I can’t thank you enough. To the people across the UK and abroad that I’ve never met, your continued support is incredible. Together we are helping end the stigma that is mental health. Not a bad team are we 🙂
But we aren’t done there, first, we got some proper business to attend to. Like Greater Manchester, I’m aiming to conquer Birmingham in 1 day. 5 clubs then a 40 mile ride to Leicester before I get the bike serviced and do a few radio interviews. You can catch me tomorrow morning live with the legendary Jonny Owen on the mighty Talksport at 9am and Monday morning just after 10am live from the King Power stadium on BBC Leicester.
Please keep shouting about what we are doing. The stigma of mental health is still unfortunately huge. This is set up to raise awareness of that. The more we push the issue, the more every single road becomes easier and worthwhile, for me literally AND people suffering mentally. Together we can make this difference.
Big love. We got this