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Danny John-Jules, better known as ‘The Cat’ from TV Sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, and co-rider Graham Hoskins began their adventure to take in 14 countries in 15 days in a motorcycle tour around the Mediterranean this weekend, attempting to raise money for Sport Relief.

The pair, supported by motorcycle insurance broker Carole Nash, will be reporting on their journey as it progresses and as they continue to raise money for good causes in both the UK and overseas.

It wasn’t the start that the pair had in mind on Saturday, with torrential rain affecting their departure from the Ace Cafe show at the Alexandra Palace in London, but you can read the full story behind the first two days of their adventure in their opening Iron Butts progress report:

Danny’s Blog: Sat 27 Feb

After waking up on Saturday morning to the sound of torrential rain, I was to meet Graham Hoskins at the Ace Cafe bike show at the Alexander palace before heading off on the 7,000 mile journey around the Med.

We are taking in 14 countries in 15 days and I was not in any way enthusiastic about hacking down the North Circular Rd. But I did; and got soaked. My phone got waterlogged and stopped working, meaning that I missed the interview that I was meant to do with DJ Elaine at Colourful radio.

My Mrs and kids were there, as were Graham’s and before we hit the road, we were introduced on stage by Mark Wilsmore from Ace Cafe. Then it was time for the big send off.

After I sat on the most perfect bike ever for me, the Black Jaguar low rider, we set off…. to Victoria to get our passports. They were with the visa agent because the Algerian Consul didn’t sign the visa in time for the trip. So the first drama had reared its ugly head and now we had to bypass Algeria and get a ferry to Tunisia.

Nevertheless, we were now on our way to the Channel tunnel and we arrived in Calais about 6 o’clock to get our heads down.

Waking up was like the end of a nightmare. I got all my time back to front and what was meant to be a rendezvous at eleven where the bike was parked turned into near heart failure! I looked out of the window and one of the bikes was gone! It was also crapping it down. Thank the lord Graham had moved his bike out of the rain and under the canopy, whilst I was dribbling on my pillow dreaming of a Caribbean holiday. I went to rescue my bike and to my horror found my bank card lying in a big puddle in the car park.

It was the shape of the things to come that day.

Graham’s Blog: Sun 28 Feb

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day! Driving rain and strong winds: not the most auspicious start but then again, what can we expect starting the first European leg of our challenge in the depths of winter?

The bad outlook was not helped by a phone/alarm/time zone confusion which had me outside packing up the bike thinking I was very clever and early when in truth, I was an hour late and Danny had been too polite to knock on my door. Still, we were away by a very reasonable first day time and off into the grey murk.

However, within an hour, the temperature was bearable. There was a hint of sun and the music on the iPod was chasing the missing the family for two weeks blues away. Happy days were short lived though.

I have ridden in some strong winds in the UK from time to time. I’d even say that some of them were a little scary. However, today brought a whole new meaning to the need for clean underwear. A solid 5 hours of barely controlled weaving and central reservation avoidance was the worst road wind knows either of us have ever encountered. It’ll be neck aches in the morning.

We did come through the first 540 mile day however, even met a guy who knows Craig from his local! I’m writing this from our green and red Ibis in Geneva – lucky us!

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