Date: 22nd August 2010 at 10:17pm
Written by:

Barrow to Grimsby the hard way.

Vital Towers has just got wind of a bike ride from Barrow to Grimsby as two Barrow lads attempt to bike from Holker Street to Blundell Park.

Without further ado over to Ralph of the Holker Street Newsletter.


In a recent edition of the Newsletter we told of the plan by two Barrow supporters, Mark Johnson and Phil Hayward to embark on a three-day charity bike-ride from Holker Street to Grimsby for the Bluebirds’ away game against Grimsby Town on Saturday 20 November.

They are hoping to raise GBP2500 for Mind, a mental-health charity, and if you are interested in helping this very worthy case, have a look at


Mark Johnson has been in touch to provide us with a some background on their odyssey and will keep us up to dates with their plans. WembleyPhil was born in Barrow but his dad’s side of the family are from Grimsby, and he still follows Grimsby Town.

This trip was his idea. We were at Wembley for the FA Trophy Final – which turned out to be a very bitter-sweet feeling for Phil. We were having a few drinks a couple of hours before kick-off, when Phil disappeared to look for a FM radio so he could catch the final day antics in League 2. He was enjoying watching Barrow while getting frustrating and dis-heartening updates from the Pirelli Stadium.

Grimsby had to win at Burton to stand any chance of survival. I had always wanted Barrow to draw Grimsby in the FA Cup (for the trip out and to get one over on Phil if we could pull off the ‘upset’) so couldn’t believe my luck when I found out there was a strong chance we could be playing them in the League next season! Grimsby did have a mini-revival towards the end of the League 2 campaign but it wasn’t quite enough, and defeat at Burton condemned them to the Blue Square Premier for the 2010/11 season.

Later, Phil didn’t know whether he was drinking to celebrate Barrow’s glorious victory or to commiserate Grimsby’s defeat and relegation into the abyss of non-league football. I was celebrating both (but primarily Barrow’s victory of course!) IdeaNow living in Manchester, I only get back to Barrow once a month. I was in the Knights of St Columbus with Phil and I drunkenly agreed to the idea of a 180-mile bike-ride. I thought it was a good idea at the time, and think it’s an even better idea now.


We have planned a route which consists of a pretty even distance over three days. The main problems will probably be weather and light related- so careful preparation in equipment, clothing and supplies is essential. We will also have to set off as soon as it gets light and aim to finish for the day around 4pm.

We have a car supporting our route in case of emergencies which can also take any ‘luggage’ off us and leave us free to ride and achieve our daily goals.

Day 1
Day 1 will see us getting to grips with the elements. Phil is the more confident rider so I will let him take the lead. We plan to reach Settle before dark, where we will ‘settle’ down and get much-needed rest for the next days ride. I think Phil has it in his head that we will be taking the opportunity to have a night out- but I’ll defiantly be on the Ginger Beer.

Day 2

Hopefully (being the key word) in our stride by now, we will be aiming to reach Selby, in the heart of Yorkshire, before dark. This is when the supply car could come in handy so I will make sure my mobile phone is to hand. I guess we will have to get accustomed to aching bones if we want to progress any further and put up with sleet/snow/rain/wind while we are at it! We’ll eventually be at Selby, not Mark Selby, and hopefully we won’t be snookered by this point!

Day 3 – The match day. Need we say more? If we don’t reach Blundell Park for 3pm, we will miss kick-off and it will be a case of mission failed. We certainly don’t need a Blundell Blunder on the last hurdle. We will sit back, enjoy the match and leave the singing to the professionals!

Thanks again to Ralph and the Holker Street Newsletter