I Never Said I was a Good Golfer

Golf for some is their passion, they couldn’t live without it. For some of us we would like to play better, but somehow never find the time to put in the practice. This year with my charity bike ride in Myanmar to train for, even my weekly friendly round of golf fell by the wayside.

Golf societies can be a great way to play some good courses, competing against players that you do not play every week, the Runnymede Golf Society is the one I choose to play with. The Runnymede Golf Society plays at some of the best golf courses in the South East of England, they are a friendly bunch of people but beware if you come last.

Talk in the club house after the game is not who came first or who got a birdie. What everyone wants to know is “Who won Charlie?” As you may well have worked out Charlie is the trophy given to the player who comes last. People have left early without saying goodbye just to avoid the shame of taking Charlie home.

So what does this have to do with my bike ride in Burma?

Knowing I had not played much golf this year and when I had it had not been brilliant, I braved the society game at Blackmoor Golf Club. We were asked to predict our score to win a prize, as I had won the last time I played with the society my first prediction was laughed at, so I doubled it. I should have stuck with by first prediction.

It became clear to me very early in my round that Charlie was coming home with me again. I say again, it has been some time since I last “won” him, but there was a time that it was rumoured he had his own bedroom at my house. Once I knew coming last was not just a possibility, but a certainty I relaxed and enjoyed my day.

Sitting through dinner knowing you are going to receive Charlie is never good, but I had a reason to stay. I had 38 people who could donate to my charity Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service

They can be cruel when you get Charlie, but they are also generous.

I would like to thank everyone at the Runnymede Golf Society who donated to the charity as well as all my other sponsors. Their donations will make my ride in Burma more worthwhile.


Myanmar on a Bike – An Uphill Struggle

As with most things in life, a charity cycle challenge in Myanmar requires preparation. Sitting day after day staring at a computer in a freight company is not the ideal place to start, so training is essential. On the challenge there are many obstacles to overcome: the heat and humidity, long days in the saddle and the distances we will cover – up to 100 kms in a day

But the element that concerns me most is the hills. Having reached a level of fitness where I hope I can keep up a steady pace for most of the day, hills still cause me anxiety

On my first practice session in March I set out to tackle a local hill from my teenage cycling years. But nearly 40 years on and after a confident announcement that I would ‘only ride up it once’, I made it just a third of the way up and – feeling decidedly ill at the side of the road – my confidence took a blow. The scale of this challenge hit home

I have since conquered that hill several times and have tackled longer steeper hills, but nothing on the scale that I expect to meet on the challenge

Riding up long steep inclines is no fun, but it is a large part of the challenge. So, with a little under 5 weeks to go I have decided to switch my focus and concentrate fully on going uphill

This Saturday I rode up and down that hill 5 times before a further hilly 40km

No one ever failed by training too well … or did they?

If you would like to support my charity Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service you can donate at:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barry-birdsall

No money from donations will go towards my travel expenses as Beat My Freight Quote Ltd and Key Air & Sea Limited, London have sponsored the trip


Cycle Burma – A Mid Life Crisis or a Cry for Help?

I have been a member of a gym for over 20 years, but I would not say I am fit.

My usual pattern of gym usage probably mirrors that of the majority of people – a flurry of gentle exercise each New Year, gradually leading to concentrated inactivity for the next ten months

This year has been altogether different.

In December at an Institute of Directors dinner a close friend announced he was taking part in a 5-day 360km charity cycle event in Myanmar in October. I don’t know why, but I heard myself saying “I would Love to do that”. I don’t even like cycling and I doubt if I had been on a bike more than a dozen times over the last 20 years. It turned out he was happy to have someone along, so it was agreed that I would sign up.

The next day still excited by the prospect I tried to sign up for the event, but it was fully booked. I had mixed emotions I was disappointed and relieved at the same time.

Move forward to March and I received an email, there were now places available. I didn’t know how I felt, I had completely given up on the idea and had missed 4 months of training (even the gym membership had lapsed), but I still wanted to go.

This time I did sign up so Myanmar here I come.

Our UK agency Key Air & Sea Limited is donating the trip expenses, so any money raised goes direct to the charity Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service.

If you would like to donate you can do so at:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barry-birdsall

 


Qualities of a Freight Agent

If you were to prioritise the qualities of a freight forwarder ‘kind’ would not be high on the list, but I cannot think of a better way to describe our latest partner in Myanmar.

I have known the owner of Care Freight in Myanmar for almost 20 years and in all that time I have never seen him lose his cool. Anyone who works in the logistics or freight industry (or has any dealings with freight forwarders) will know that we all have our off days, it is unavoidable when working in such a fast moving industry, so to work with someone who is so level headed is a pleasure.

Shipping freight to Yangon, Myanmar is not without problems, the country still has many restrictions on what can be imported. To outsiders the list of prohibited goods does not always seem to follow any rules of logic, this is where the help of a local expert is so valuable.

With the embargoes on goods to Myanmar being lifted we are noticing an increase in enquiries from all parts of the world.  With Care Freight as our partner we know it will make exporting to Myanmar easier.