At 10.15 this morning, me and Chopper with Trailer in tow entered the hall at Gunnislake school. I was nervous.
The kids filed in and sat cross legged on the floor. They sat in rows and were silent. Perfectly behaved kids? Do they exist? They did at Gunnislake School this morning!
Earlier, I'd parked my contraption in the school entrance waiting for the hall to be ready and was offered a cuppa in the staff room. Some of the older boys were looking at Chopper, and I listened to their comments. "Cool!" "Awesome!!" were the main ones. Kids have always liked Raleigh Choppers. Awful bikes, but great fun to own. A design classic.
The time came for me to wheel in, and I arranged myself and rig at the far end, standing Chopper on his prop-stand. I'd designed a map of the British Isles and blown it up to A2, having stuck it onto a board and it stood there to one side for all to see.
I introduced myself and then off I went with my stuff about where John O'Groats is, and all the places I'll be stopping on my way to Land's End. The kids listened intently. I described all the bits on Chopper, showed them my trailer-box and panniers, and even demonstrated the SPD system showing them the underside of my shoes.
Then I took questions from the floor. I have no idea how many questions there were, but I answered plainly and simply. Some of the questions:
"How many days will it take you?"
"How long will you be cycling each day?"
"What will you eat?"
"What will you do if the food is yukky?"
"How are you going to get to Scotland?"
"What is that stick thing for?"
"How much money are you going to raise?"
To this last question, I answered, "As much as possible." then added, "A million pounds!" They all giggled. The kids break up today for Easter, and they'll all be taking home a note about my ride - and a sponsor sheet too. Maybe some sponsorship pledges will start to roll in.
Afterwards, the head of the infants class took me and Chopper + Trailer plus two of the little kids for a photograph. I stood to one side in the sunshine, and we held hands for a publicity shot for the press.
I came away with a smile and glassy eyes.