I'm writing this partly as something I meant to do anyway, and partly in response to a couple of fair points raised as comments upon my dearly beloved blog.
First of all... a genuine thanks to each and every company that has given me anything. For a long time I received not an iota, for a rather too stressful period I was forced to suggest that things were getting moving when, in reality, they were not, and then - in a rather successful period - I named potential sponsors as confirmed sponsors when approaching new sponsors, which resulted in the actual acquisition of confirmed sponsors, and just goes to show that honesty is not really anything like the best policy where trying to muster up a bit of commitment is concerned. As for my sponsors as they now appear... I give especial thanks to Donald at Adventure Trading Post, an outright great bloke who pledged sponsorship of my GPS before anyone else even seemed close to considering me, and who has since invested his time and efforts in trying to help me get a whole host of logistics off the ground. I'm also delighted to have met Shaun, at the London Copy Centre, who printed my posters for free, who also prints posters for his local church and school, and who chuckled as he told me, with confused frankness "I don't make a lot of money, to be honest".
Over and above those human encounters... None of my supporting businesses are in any way compromising my very high moral principles... I even researched the ones that I suspected might be doing so. Others amongst them are paid-up members of do-gooding, wholesome bohemia, and others amongst them are just straight-down-the-line independent businesses, working hard to make honest livings. I urge you to give patronage to such businesses... and with particular relevance to bike shops, I can only suggest that you deserve the shoddy and half-arsed treatment that you'll receive, should you venture, in a non-emergency situation, into one of the soulless warehouses that are becoming too prominent in the cycle trade.
So... this is my self-defence I suppose... I'm aware that sponsors and my pitch might not sit perfectly together, so let me just clarify that I am not at all anti-business, or even anti the free market... accordingly, should any reader of this wish to pay me to stand next to a wind turbine with a big grin then I'll happily do so.. and, beyond that, I reserve the right to feel that I have not sold-out on anything until my website boasts a banner of "Wheels - £50 - Ice Cream 70p - Shorts £20 - Sunset on the Black Sea - Priceless ... for everything else there's Mastercard"
At that point I will deserve all criticism, and encourage people to heap it upon me... In the meantime, I nevertheless welcome all criticism in the name of that delightful thing that is *getting people talking*, and though I would profess a difference between my own sponsors and major investment funds, it is of course the prerogative of individuals to see matters as they wish. To counter any ideas that notforcharity is its own brand of nihilism, I direct people to the websites on my Friends page, and suggest that the values there expressed are those that I seek to represent.
This will probably be my final blog entry before I leave, and so I will end it with a sincere nod of respect to Mark Beaumont. I respect his ambition, his industry, the scale of his achievement, and I respect, most of all, the moment in his documentary in which he states that it's no big deal to ride 100miles a day, just a case of routine.
And now enough of all that.
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