|In September 2006 a team of 10 from our churches completed a sponsored bike ride from Hook of Holland to Dokkum. ‘The bike ride follows our very successful one from Crediton in Devon to Nursling, Southampton in 2004. Crediton is the birthplace of St. Boniface and our church in Nursling is on the probable site of the monastery where St. Boniface spent many years before becoming a missionary to Germany. Our destination Dokkum is the town where he was martyred in 754.
It was a great time of challenges, fellowship and new experiences for us all. A big thank you to those who sponsored us, to Thora for 4 wonderful cakes that kept us going at tea break, Thelma for organising the shirts and publicity and all those in our churches who prayed for us. It was a great 7 days together, cycling 210 miles over 4 days. Dokkum is a very beautiful town, and their Boniface centre very impressive. Enjoy Andy’s article below, which I think captures the ‘flavour’ of the week. Mike Bunce.As you are all aware, hopefully from the deficit in your purses and wallets, a team of 10 riders went to the Netherlands in August riding from Hoek Van Holland to Dokkum as a sponsored pilgrimage to the site where St Boniface was murdered. Mike put in a huge amount of planning for this trip over several years, and deserves credit for making it happen.
In similar manner to the previous Crediton to Nursling ride in 2004, the week proved to contain a broad spectrum of experience from the deep and sublime to the side splittingly hilarious (well I thought so). Spending a week sharing days and dorms with your brothers and sisters in Christ, some of whom you don’t know all that well, inevitably confirmed that we are all made perfect by grace through faith and not by any perfection of our own.
Did you know that the average age of the team was over 50? (Meaning Stuart should have been in a youth group and Jamie in the Créche.) 232 miles were cycled, primarily over 4 days. (Some of the team had never previously cycled anywhere near this daily mileage!) We went through a country which has many homes well below the canal water level next to them and possibly the best cycling facilities in the world. Bouts of heavy rain could only temporarily dampen spirits. The day before we arrived in Dokkum they had ‘the day of the smile’ which involved 150 clowns seeking to brighten people’s days.
Highlights of the week that I’ve been asked to mention: The beautifully designed remembrance site to ‘St Bonifatius’.
Singing praise each morning led by David Thompson (including some hot new songs from David) followed by prayer time.
Enjoying the beautiful lush countryside in the Netherlands.
The wildlife, primarily birdlife, including storks, spoonbills and hawks.
The level of exercise and how well you sleep after it.
David’s navigation through the Netherlands extensive cycle track network.
Stuart performing the fastest ever puncture repair.
Meeting up with John’s friends also touring the area.
Like I said there were a fair measure of hilarious moments, such as: Staying in what can only be described as Frodo Baggins’ home.
Colin wanting to teach the Netherlands Dibs, for which he is the self proclaimed World Champion.
Jamie and Colin buying what were described (unfairly might I add) as armchair saddles.
Artistic creations over dinner at the restaurants
The mozzie bite competition.
The open air showers.
Whether John needed to risk assess every activity he did.
Sighting giant calves and the many wildrooster (cattle grids).
Pancakes almost the size of a car spare wheel, with a taste not dissimilar to said wheels fried in fat.
Tales from Colin of being mistaken for a vagrant.
Bungee cord capers.
The bizarre bedroom with a double bed in the middle and 4 Punch and Judy style curtained cupboard beds around it.
Trying to find toilets in villages out of season.
One landlord’s irrigation system.
70’s disco music at one place we stayed.
Adopting our very own St Bunciface
Possibly the most used words were sore and b*m. A huge well done goes to the team for rising to this challenge, with fairly impaired preparations. Not one to forget and we trust it raised some useful funding for youth ventures both near and far. Andy Ball