Tim Illston and David Bain are cycling to Hannover!


Left Tim Illston, local solicitor,Honorary German Consul and member of the Bristol Hannover Council executive committee. Right David Bain, local solicitor and expert in Family Law.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Bristol-Hannover twinning this year three close friends are setting off today to cycle from Hoek van Holland to Hannover: Tim Illston, David Bain and Gareth Williams. Tim and David very kindly answered some questions for us before they headed off. We wish them lots of luck (and good weather) on this two-wheeled exciting adventure!!!

The Q and A below is sourced from the ‘Bristol – European City of Sport 2017’ Facebook page found here:

  • How far are you planning to cycle? How long will it take you?

We’re cycling just over 500km over four days from Hoek van Holland to Hannover

  • Why are you doing this?

The seventieth anniversary of the Bristol-Hannover twinning has made this the year to start what might become a regular cycling trip (inspired by the highly successful Bristol-Bordeaux ride). It’s just a start, with just two close friends joining me, but hopefully we’ll learn from the experience and get others involved in years to come.

I’m also expecting to see some lovely countryside on roads less travelled….following part (a very small part!) of the Eurovelo Route 2 (which runs from Dublin to Moscow!).

  • How will you manage to do this? (Eat, drink, sleep, rest, recovery breaks, planned destination/ rest stops, etc.). Do you have to eat or drink anything special?

We reckon on eight hours cycling each day. Starting at nine, we should reach our evening’s destination in time for supper and a glass or two.

  • Is it hard to get back on your bike after you have taken a rest?

Very. Also really hard to get going in the morning with 130km ahead of you.

  • Do you have to take anything special with you? (For navigation, etc.?) / Do you have to wear anything to help with tired legs/ saddle sores, etc.?

There are some great well-established cycle routes (like the Sustrans network in the UK), so I’m expecting to follow way marking with the occasional look at maps. I still prefer the paper versions but won’t be ashamed to use my smartphone if need be! We’re carrying all our kit in saddle bags and bar bags, not much room for jacket and tie, so we won’t be staying upmarket…

We’ll take plenty of energy bars but ultimately bananas and water will normally hit the target. A bit of sudacrem also comes in handy after a long ride.

  • What are you most looking forwards to?

The most satisfying sleep at the end of the day imaginable! Otherwise, a nice bratwurst or two with some German beer, chatting with local people as we go along, and seeing the dunes of the Dutch coast, the River Rhine, the historic delights of Detmold and the wooded hills around Hamelin.

  • Is there anything that you are dreading?

Night falling and still having miles to go.

  • How will you motivate yourselves if you hit a low point?

Nothing more inspirational than coffee and chocolate! Being the three of us, there’ll be enough camaraderie to keep us going.

  • How will you celebrate such a phenomenal achievement?

By planning the next trip over a beer in Hannover.

  • How will you recover afterwards?

Sleeping on the ferry home…

  • What will be your next challenge?

Going back to work on the following day! But otherwise, this is a taster for doing the North Sea route which follows the coast from Holland through Scandinavia to the Shetland Islands, Scotland and down the East coast of England. But there’s also a ride in Germany that goes between the stadiums of leading football teams like Borussia Dortmund, that would be fun.

  • How will you get your bikes back to the UK?

Train and then ferry back to Harwich.

  • What sort of training are you doing to prepare for this? Have you had to research the type of terrain and will this affect your training, i.e. hills?

I’ve extended my ride to work and now take in Bridge Valley Road on a regular basis but we’ve got so many options for weekend riding around Bristol, whether it’s the Mendips or the Wye Valley.

  • Anything else you and your colleagues feel like adding which paints a picture. The answers don’t have to be long.

The picture is one of all of a sudden it’s upon us! We’re hoping to get fitter as we go along but four days isn’t very long!

Tim and David will also be accompanied by their friend Gareth Williams.


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