“Sorry Sir, you can’t bring your bike on the train”

I didn’t have the energy to tell James of Great Western trains that I had just covered in the region of 340 miles, climbing 16,000ft over 2 days on the bike in question. Instead, I simply said “how much will it cost to get that bike on that train?”

48 hours before, it was Friday morning and I was in at my second home – Henley Practice; this time being pieced and electrocuted on my Achilles. During the torture session, Laurence and I chatted generally about the best ride over a weekend; Henley to Paris or Henley to Lands End.  We concluded that with no ferries involved it would be Henley on Thames to Lands End. The conversation was general, for hypothetical reasons – just chewing the fat! Fast forward to 14.30 later that day, sat in Pret on Reading High Street and BBC weather prompted me to think ‘no time like the present – let’s give it a go”.  A quick dash to Primark next door, shorts, t shirts and flip flops – all for six quid!

Then booking.com to secure two hotels; one at the halfway point and one at Penzance (next to the train station). 14.52 on to the post office, posting my new items of clothing and one other to each of the recently booked hotels. 15.07 – 37minutes later, all my prep had been done for my 320mile cycling adventure!

Leaving Reading with not a great deal of research into the route, I was reminded why my Garmin 800 edge had remained in my kitchen draw unused for several years – it doesn’t work. Oh well, the defective Garmin justifies the purchase of my new airpods, which I slotted in, turning on my google maps, set to bike cycle directions and bang, we are in business. Two gravel paths and a tow path later, it was back to the Garmin!

Once I gathered my thoughts and left Reading we were in business, on route to my hotel in Sidmouth Devon, in the region of 165 miles away. Things improved when I got off the A4 just past Newbury onto car free, tree lined roads. I’d decided to keep an eye on ride time rather than distance, as 165 miles is a big number to count down. A stop for a lettuce wrap, carrot and shot of espresso at Marlborough, before hunkering down to several hours in the saddle, which took me through Salisbury, and onto the most delightful coffee stop at a farm shop at Ansty, Salisbury.  Although I’m one of those strange ‘plant only eaters’, I do turn a blind eye (and ask that you do too ????) when I am out on the bike. Therefore, with 5 hours in the saddle I treated myself to two magnums, two slabs of cake, a can of coke and of course two double espresso’s! Flicking on the google maps, I was enthused to see slightly under 70miles remaining.

I recall feeling in high spirits between Sherborne and Axminster, however when I hit Axminster, around 140 miles into the journey I was dreaming of a double portion of ‘chip shop chips’, can of coke, espresso (at least four!) and Perrier!

As the light drew in, rolling down to the sea front at Sidmouth, Devon looking for my hotel, filled me with a decent sense of achievement, and most importantly, marked the end of my first day in the saddle.  Somewhere in the region of 160 – 165 miles ticked off.  As I rolled my bike into the hotel reception, I was greeted by a suited chap who simply starred at me with a look of horror that I had dared to bring my bike in. He turned out to be a great chap, putting me in a room that was large enough to house my beloved bike.  When I walked into the room, I was relieved to see that the bathroom was perfectly equipped with a posh heated towel rail, which meant that I could hang wash my kit, ready to wear again tomorrow.  I turned on the heated rail, washed my kit in the sink and hung it up to dry by the morning, which it did.

I opened my parcel that I had posted from Reading a few hours before, changed into my new Primark clothes, paired up with my arm warmers and high viz cycling jacket and set off into Sidmouth. A delightful place, with an average age of 127, however I did find a lovely place that met my needs of salad, chips, cola and coffee.

A late breakfast and I was back in the saddle for 9am.  Google was boasting just 160miles from where I sat in Sidmouth to Lands End, and I was feeling confident, if not smug with my last-minute mammoth cycling adventure.  No need for an early start and miss a paid for breakfast, I stupidly thought!

BBC weather had been spot-on and the sun shone bright, with the arm warmers rolled down. The second day of the adventure was far harder than the first.  Flicking between a problematic Garmin and my google maps, didn’t bother me overly, as I wasn’t in a rush and the journey would take me as long as it would take me…With my full trust now totally in in my defective digital device, I made a U-turn halfway down ‘Ferry Lane’, battling with my head that surely I’m not required to get on a ferry.  Stopping to ask a couple of walkers, I continued down the lane and joined the queue for the ferry. It was a small ‘roll on ferry’ and I turned out to be in Dart, Dartmouth. This was the first of my two ferries, the second being at Tor-Point; it was when I rolled onto the Tor Point ferry, I asked the chap – “where are we going”.  With a Quizzical look he replied “Cornwall!”. This was supposed to be the ride option with ‘no ferries’!

Now Devon is hilly, but Cornwall is another level, literally! I’d had Lands End postcode programmed into my Garmin and at one point my distance had measure 100 miles covered that day, but ‘distance destination’ still read 81miles. How could this be as the total distance from Sidmouth to Land End was only due to be 160 miles! Looking back on my iPhone I can see I was in Tor Point at 16.29, which was still a whopping 90 miles from Lands End…how could this be? Doing the math on the mileage, it started to hit home how much I had bitten off and how little respect I’d given the size of the challenge, not to mention the 16,000 ft of climbing. The saving grace was, although I was unprepared on the navigation front I never mess around on safety and was well equipped with the mother of all Lezyne lights with additional charging powerpack…good job I had the arm warmers and high viz in the pocket too.

The official BBC ‘sun down’ for Sunday evening was 19.28 and although I’d had my rear light on for 30 minutes, this is when I’d pulled over to turn my front light on. Checking my iPhone since it is listing that I pulled in at Saint Blaise Gate, which is still 50 miles from Penzance with 2,700 feet of climbing. Lands End is out of the question now and I’m heading for Penzance (my hotel) and hoping to be in the chippie for 22.30 – no chance! Cornwall gets dark, very dark…then it gets misty and dark, then it rains! This was a tough leg and exactly what I love about setting your own limits, against the elements. The petrol stations and shops close early in isolated parts of Cornwall – I say early but it was well past 9pm, so I guess not that early. I did find one small shop open, that I wheeled my bike into, stocked up on mars bars, Haribo and a couple of cans of cokes.

The final leg was tough, really tough! I’d given up on the ‘bike route’ and had my head down on the A390 & A30 signposted Truro, Redruth and then Penzance! My light was out of juice and it turned out that it would only charge when not in use, therefore I had to keep stopping to give it a little charge. As I stood safely off the road, every noise, sound or movement scared me in the pitch black dark Cornish coastline! The Garmin was dead, the phone was running out of battery and I didn’t want to use any of the charging pack on anything other than my light. However, my trusty £3 decathlon watch still worked and it was reading 11pm! The A30 seemed to go on forever and when I started to gather a bit of pace, boom another hill. As I was having to stop continuously to charge my front light, I didn’t roll into Penzance until 23.50.  In my room for midnight, where I boiled the kettle, made a tea, coffee and hot chocolate, demolishing the free biscuits and sat in a lukewarm bath.

I contemplated finishing the journey; 10miles to Lands End (20 mile round trip back to Penzance station) before my 8am train back to Reading the next day, but that thought fleeted all of a second later!

James was great and he booked my bike on the train after stopping me at Penzance station.  A direct train back to Reading on the Monday morning had me at my desk before 12, reflecting on my herculean last minute adventure!

I’d covered somewhere in the region of 340 miles and google details 16,000 ft of climbing.  I’ll be revisiting the challenge in summer next year to finish off the leg that remains uncovered!

Author. Barry Keane Team Meglio member, Meglio CEO ????



Meglio, the Reading based supplier of branded physiotherapy and rehabilitation products has enlisted Ian Thomas, who joins the Executive Board as a Non-Executive Director & Strategy Advisor.

Ian Thomas

Ian enjoyed a successful four years as UK MD & Head of International at Performance Health whose brands include Theraband & Biofreeze.  During his tenure the company went through significant changes, including the spin-off from Patterson Companies and the acquisition of Performance Health.  Prior to Performance Health, Ian held various senior management roles at Baxter Healthcare.

Meglio CEO, Barry Keane commented “Ian is hugely respected in the global healthcare industry and his long-term strategic approach is a fantastic asset to bring to the Meglio Board. Meglio continue to rapidly grow in both local and international geographies.  Therefore, Ian was naturally top of the list when I wanted to bring on an executive with relevant experience to the board.”

Ian said “When Barry contacted me, I was keen to see under the bonnet of the firm that is successfully disrupting the Physiotherapy/Rehab market. Once I had a peek, it was impossible not to join Meglio on their exciting journey.


Martino Gorretti is an Italian lightweight rower, current 2019 World champion and a dual Olympian. He has represented Italy at the World Rowing Championships and World Cups from 2005 until 2019. He is a five-time world champion at senior level and has won three titles in Italian lightweight eights. In 2019 Martino won the lightweight single scull world title. He also finished 4th in the Olympics in Rio 2016 and at London 2012. We met up with Martino at Henley Royal Regatta 2019 and he said:

I’m from Mandello, a small town on lake Como famous for the MOTO GUZZI motorbike factory. I was having a dream when i was 15 and to became an NBA player. Unfortunately I was not tall enough, but my coach was telling me that I was tough and that I was a worker… I was not thinking back then that this was a compliment. 

I’m 34 years old and a professional rower from Fiamme Oro (italian Police). I live travelling from Italy to the Netherlands, because my girlfriend is also a rower, from the Dutch team. 

I started rowing late, when i was 18 because i was not good enough for NBA. I first started because in Mandello, we have more than 10 Olympic medalists and more than 30 world champion medals since 1900 or so, and for a small town like Mandello is a lot.  Rowing is the SPORT to do at least once, and I was good at my first try so i’m still here.

What is your best result and proudest achievement?

 I think this World Championship gold medal (pictured above) in the single sculls and my first IRONMAN, because i have achieved both by myself.

What has been the toughest/challenging race you have done? And why?

For sure my 2nd IRONMAN. I was not mentally prepared, and it was a difficult period in my life. I understood a lot about the power of my head… because i’ve finished it anyway.

What athletes have inspired you?

In rowing, Rob Waddell (NZL), but also Chris McCormak was one of my idols, not for a specific reason 

What advice would you give to anyone who would like to start with rowing?

First learn the technique as good as you can, as that is the key to enjoy it fully, in a sport which is about feeling and not about power.

You can follow Martino Goretti on his Instagram profile below.

Let me introduce myself, I’m Maxime, a young engineer specialising in Management and Innovation graduated from a school called ENSGI (National School in Industrial Systems Engineering) in France. In this article, I will tell you my experience during my internship at Meglio.

First, I was working at DXC Technology (Paris la Defense) as a change management consultant in a mission which took place in the headquarter of Crédit Agricole (Bank). After that, I’ve decided to move to United Kingdom in order to get out of my comfort zone. I worked in few part time jobs before applying to Meglio.

During the interview, I presented to Maksim Minkov the Brand and Marketing Manager of Meglio an action plan to develop the French Market Place, we talked about my experience and ideas. In a couple of days I received a phone call that I have successfully been selected.

A quick background of Meglio.

Meglio supply a major part of the public and private physiotherapy and fitness sectors in UK. Meglio’s product became popular in the UK and the company decided to expand its markets across Europe and US, therefore a French speaking intern was needed to develop the French market.

My internship.

My assignment was given to me on my first working day, which is a great thing for me to understand quickly what I had to do. My task was to understand, build and develop a French Market Place from scratch.

First day in the office, no tie, no suit and no barrier to innovation. In this creative start-up atmosphere, I was able to develop my attributes to my task.

At Meglio, if you have an idea or initiative, there is no need to climb through different managers and departments to get approval, as managers sit right next to you.

Here are the advantages for working at Meglio:

  • Fast Learning through experience
  • Strong skill development
  • A strong sense of belonging and a passionate atmosphere

I would only have one piece of advice for you, go for it! You will participate in a project in which you will be the main actor, you will be valued and will have to face new challenges all the time. You will come out of this adventure deeply changed and empowered.

Max is also an extremely talented artist, we gave him a blank canvas one of our walls to create an artwork.

Thank you Max!

As ever the days leading up to the Marlow Ride 100 were filled with comical challenges, needing to be overcome.

Having just got off a plane, returning from Copenhagen Ironman, where Lauren had obliterated a 10h 53min Ironman, her bike needed to reassembled and thoroughly cleaned (Lauren will explain one day..). Pete was busy rebuilding, retooling and making use of his 3D printer to replace items on his bike that fell below standard, or had simply buckled under previous power displayed…

Over the last weeks, I’ve maintained my title of Henley on Thames most injured man, constantly found on physio beds, Pilates mats or strapped to a Pilates reformer.

The biggest challenge in the lead up to the event was, of all things – sock length!  With the clothing manufacturers attempting to reach the high demands to ensure the sock reached the bottom of the calf, which they didn’t. Therefore, our most respected rider of the group (Pete), outright rejecting the Meglio socks on offer, instead turning to his 3D printer to engineer specific socks to meet the required length and aero ability…

The 100 mile Marlow Red Kite Sportive set off and finished in Marlow.  Marlow is a town in south Buckinghamshire, England. It is located on the River Thames, 33 miles west of Central London and 7 miles from Henley on Thames, where a number of Team Meglio, including me reside.  The Red Kite Ride (RKR) sportive gives you a taster of the Chilterns, a top UK cycling destination. Beautiful rolling countryside, home to the graceful Red Kite, provides challenging climbs rewarded with sweeping descents.  The Red kite Ride event featured in Cycling Weeky’s Best Sportives near London.

Team Meglio had decided to cycle the 7 miles to the event and joined a starter funnel at 8.20am.  The roads were car free, the sun shone, and the hills kept coming.  Luckily Pete was in full Team Meglio spirit, dialing back his speed and ability. Pete, an IM Kona veteran and of TT royalty has previously pulled out 100mile TTs in times of 3hr18 and completed the 12hour TT, where he covered an eye watering 312 miles in 12 hours. Mind blowing! Anyhow, Pete was happy for me to sit in behind him and take me on a tour of the Chilterns.  As ever, Lauren was pulling the pedals off the bike and happily attacking each hill that popped up.  As the Marlow Red Kite event organisers had released all the riders off in batches then the roads were not clogged with riders and unlike that busy ride round London, there was no reason to stop, other than to enjoy the beautifully stocked feed stations. Thanks guys.

Team Meglio stuck together, enjoyed the day, and chatted about the Team Meglio A race for 2020! I’ll be pitching the idea to Team Principle in the coming days.. so watch this space.

After a little amusement of battling a few other groups and riders, Team Meglio rolled over the line, together, smiling and in a time of 5hours 34. I quickly nailed two cans of coke (naughty but nice) and we set off on the 7 mile ride home back to Henley. As the maximum Id cycled this year was 60miles (nowhere near the 100miles of the event), I think the 7 mile ride home took as long as the event itself.  Cycling out of Marlow I was overtaken by a child on a micro scooter, which was a first and hopefully a last.

The Marlow Red Kite 100 is the best sportive I have ever completed and offers options of 50miles and 80 miles. Give it ago – all money goes to charity.  https://marlowredkiteride.co.uk/


Author. Barry Keane Team Meglio member, Meglio CEO ????