Monday, 26 November 2012

Day 19 The Wandering Walton’s quest for Olympic Gold Post Boxes is Complete!

Sunday 25th November - Day 19                                               Daily Mileage 30 - Total 6739

110 Gold Post Boxes

Having spent 19 days in the saddle riding 6739 Miles over a period of 4 months and I can now say with pride that I have visited every single “Official” Gold Post Box within the UK!

Saturday was made especially memorable when I saw myself on the front cover of our local paper,the Rochdale Observer and an almost full page spread appearing on page 3 no less! It had been written by Katie Storey the reporter who I’d spoken to earlier in the week.

This is what Katie had to say:- 

A proud Brit has completed his own Olympic challenge by visiting every medal winner's golden postbox.

Ray Walton, 50, from Wardle travelled 6,709 miles  on his motorbike visiting all but one of the 110 postboxes, from rower Heather Stanning's in Lossiemouth, in north east Scotland to team dressage medal champion Carl Hester's in Sark, Guernsey.

He set himself 22 days to complete the challenge - the same time it took the Olympians and Paralypians to win the medals - but when he chalks off the final box, cyclist Philip Hines in Manchester, he will have finished the set in just 19 days.

The former motorbike salesman said: "I watched one or two events - the cycling in particular.

"I wasn't a mad Olympian, but I am patriotic and proud of what Team GB achieved - this is my way of showing my respect."

Royal Mail announced they were to paint a post box gold in the home-town of every Olympic champion after the games this summer.

Ray covered the distance in between caring for his daughter Lilie Rose, 12, who has Cerebral Palsy, and visited some of the post boxes with his wife Jeannie and son Ben, 11.

He has arranged to ride to the final postbox with a group of fellow bikers to Piccadilly Gardens Manchester.

He added: "My most productive day was 'Golden Sunday' when I visited London and collected 26 gold postbox photos in 18 hours on the way there and around London with my best friend Roland Fenwick.

"I have blogged ever single ride documenting the route, mileage ridden and phots of each and every gold postbox."

Ray also held a charity car wash on his drive in Wardle Road and raised £200 for Children in Need.

Ray added:" I will be visiting Manchester with Jeannie and a group of my biker friends who will ride in together from Sandbrook Park to celebrate my gold postbox challenge ride." 
For more information on the gold postbox route visit Ray's blog at: 

I went a little mad on Twitter for a while and got some fantastic Re-Tweets by Manchester Evening News, Rochdale Observer, Katie Storey and Sarah Storey Paralympic 4 times Gold Medallist no less.

Of course my good friend Bruce Smart of fame also gave me a fair few Re-Tweets which I really appreciate but I also want to mention Mark Ridler, Motorbike TV, , Gold Post Box Family, PaulaJubilee, Keep Britain Biking and last but not least my Manc Rider mate Glen Locket. It is simply wonderful that so many of you have shared my Gold Post Box Journey with me via Twitter and The Wandering Walton’s Blog and of course riding with me. Thank you all so very much.

Sunday I woke at 8.15am, no alarm, no prompting just “ping” I was awake. You know the sort of awake I mean, wide awake, as if you’ve never been to sleep at all. I was buzzing with anticipation. Looking out through the bedroom window the trees were swaying violently from side to side but there was very little rain.

My first thought was, “brilliant, no snow!” After getting almost daily weather alerts from Oggy by text I was starting to think about the weather far more now than I ever had done over the previous 18 outings. One thing I never do is look at weather reports. Why? The simple answer is, I don’t care! I have all the gear I need to get the job done and as long as there’s no snow or ice on the ground that’s me happy. I hate snow and ice when I’m out riding it’s just saps all the fun out of riding.

So with the weather blowing a gale, the rain trying its hardest to break through and me grinning from ear to ear I got myself “Triple S’ed” (Sh…., showered & shaved). By the time I was sorted Jeannie was up, Ben was watching kids TV and Lilie Rose had woken up ready for her breakfast.

The morning flew by like it always does. By the time Leah arrived to look after Lilie Rose & Ben whilst Jeannie & I went on our final Gold Post Box adventure together with the Manc Riders I’d calmed down, well almost.
9.40am on the dot we pulled off the drive heading to ASDA to fill up Mr T. You see I like everything to run in sequence, up, sorted, out, fuel, ride. It just seems to make everything feel sort of comfortable.

Pulling into the Sandbrook  Park car park at exactly 10.00am the “Breakfast Crew” were already there waiting for us. Within 2 minutes the rest of the guys arrived. 

How appropriate that we should meet in front of
Rochdale Co-operative Offices.

I was totally bowled over when Dave and Bez both presented me with my very own Gold Post Boxes. Dave’s being a money box which now has pride of place in the living room and the other from Bez being an antique Brass Post Box. They’re both fabulous and I really do appreciate all your kind efforts.

I asked Panman to take point as he likes to keep busy and I really just wanted to enjoy riding into Manchester. Initially there were 8 bikes and 10 of us but we stopped on Oldham Broadway where Chris and his son Kieran joined us on their bikes.

It was fantastic, riding into Manchester down Oldham Road all 10 bikes making their way to the final Gold Post Box on the edge of Piccadilly Gardens painted in honour of all the Olympic and Paralympic Cyclist who had won Gold Medals. I must admit, the fact that the post box was painted Gold well into my journey had started and after I had visited Manchester just told me “Fate” was looking after me once more. Why else would it have to be in Manchester if not so the Manc Riders could visit it with me and notch up their own very first Gold Post Box?

Arriving at the Gold Post Box I pulled up alongside the Gold Post Box leaving Panman to deal with what turned out to be a very unhappy “Salford Geezer” who had walked straight in front of both of us across green traffic lights. Still it made for good entertainment whilst everyone else parked up around the show, sorry Gold Post Box.

Gold Post Box number 110

Glen, Dave, Martin, Chris, Sam, Keith, Jeannie, Phil, Andy, Lefty, Chris, Kieran
Me kneeling down & Kev behind the camera. 

Photos were taken, pedestrians explained to as to what we were all doing there and all in all I think we all bar none had a brilliant Gold Post Box experience.

The Manc Riders

After the photo shoot we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways with a few of the guy’s including Sam & Jeannie, heading back to ours for coffee and cake just to round off what was an outstanding finally to a simply amazing day.

Piccadilly Gardens Manchester
Gold Post Box in celebration of all the Cycling Gold Medals

Day Nineteen - 1 Gold Post Box
The Best
Gold Post Box number 110

The Wandering Walton’s Quest for Olympic Gold….. Post Boxes Obviously!  Is Complete!

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