Our epic adventure is now over and we can reflect on what the trip has meant to us, and which memories will stay with us, for good or bad.

Steve (Nelly):



When I first heard of this opportunity through FORCE I signed up thinking it would be a great adventure, but without fully appreciating how hard it would be (they say ignorance is bliss!). We had many highs and a few lows, but all added to the trip and allowed us to have some wonderful memories that will stay with me forever.

  • Best meal: Day 2, a virtually empty Italian restaurant we only found through a conversation in French!
  • Best accommodation & hosts: Days 6 & 7, Chalet Michelle.
  • Best climb: Day 6, Col Du Galibier, with honourable mentions to Col du Telegraph and (day 5) Col du Mont-Cenis.
  • Hardest day’s ride: Day 1, still the most difficult day’s ride I’ve ever done.
  • Low point: Day 1, my spoke breaking. Thankfully Nelly kept my spirits up when I needed it most.
  • Most fun: Day 13, The music festival in Nevers.
  • Most memorable: Day 19, Utah beach.
  • Best moment: Day 20, The finish! Second: Day 6, Getting to the top of Col du Galibier

Thanks Steve. This was all possible thanks to you mate


A note on the ride statistics:

We primarily used garmin GPS tracking devices to record our rides. Our particular garmins give accurate figures for distance and [especially] elevation. While we were away we were unable to upload these files so we also recorded the rides on mobile phones, allowing everyone to see the days rides. There is a well know issue with elevation figures that phones (and some other devices) produce, usually over-inflation. The elevation figures quoted on each days page are from the garmin devices and so do not correspond with the ride files in the links.


Welcome to the Nelly 2014 website

This is a ride Steve Norman and Shane Johnston are doing in June from Venice to Topsham for the Force Cancer charity in Exeter.

The Ride is the route in reverse that two cyclist’s (Nello Ghezzo and Marc Millon) did in 1997 to raise money for Cancer Research, (read their daily diary at http://www.rideforlife.org.uk/diary.html ). Sadly the following year Nello passed away with cancer, so in his memory Marc and a few friends started the Force Century Cycle Challenge (which was their training route around Exmoor) and has now grown every year, with this year 1,500 cyclists taking part, making it Force’s main fundraising event of the year.

They plan to fly out to Venice on Sunday 8th June,  and then start the epic 1,150 mile challenge on Monday 9th which will include two of the toughest climbs over the Alps, Col du Galibier and Alpe d’ Huez, and then return to complete this year’s Century Challenge now known as the “Nello” on Sunday 29th June.

We’ve been out training a few times now. For details of what we’ve been up to, along with links to GPS files of our rides, please see our training page

Photos of our rides and what we’re up to are on this site and also our flick page (click on any of the photos in the flickr section on the right hand side for the link)