Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Giant Bradley


Since last Sunday in Paris the country has been overcome by a wave of euphoria surrounding the triumphant exploits of Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France.
The media circus, with little else to cheer about - have been surfing this good news story as far up the beach that they can.

Now the whole nation knows about him. 
They have not only been told  that he is the first Briton to win the Tour de France - but what he eats, drinks, wears.
What music he listens to, and details of the 'mod' scooters he rides.
His side burns and nicknames also receive attention, I particularly liked 'The banana with sideburns'

Cycling rarely features in any of the red tops, but even they are cashing in.
 The Daily Mirror a paper renowned for cycling coverage (He says tongue firmly in cheek) provides us with Ten things we didnt know about Bradley Wiggins.
Who didnt know? Is that the royal 'We' or just the Non Cycling Public

Another headline that caught my imagination was from the Yahoo website which stated 'Bradley becomes a sporting Giant'

My attention was immediately diverted to the local people of Market Weighton who must have have had apoplexy when they woke up to the news that a giant called Bradley had won the Tour de France.
Surprisingly none of the editors of the 'fish and chip wrappers' seemed to pick up on a previous Bradley who was equally famous and somewhat larger than life.

William Bradley or 'Bradley the giant' as he has become known was born on 10th February 1787 in Market Weighton, about 13 miles from where I live. He was one of thirteen children.
John Bradley, his father, was a respectable master tailor, his mother seemingly a professional child bearer.
At birth William weighed 14lbs and at the age of 11 he weighed 154 lbs.
At 19 he weighed 378 lbs and was 7ft 9ins in height.
His stockings measured 3ft 9ins, his walking stick 5ft 10in and his shoes were 15ins long and 5.5ins wide.
I am quite certain Sidi do not do this size!


William occasionally worked assisting a local butcher, Robert Foster, and on such occasions could get plenty of food to satisfy his large appetite. It was said that he could eat with ease a full sized leg of mutton with vegetables at one sitting. For desert he settled for half an apple orchard.
With falling profits the butcher let him go.
In his teens he went into farm service but he broke the forks, rake shovels and other tools so his employers had to get larger and stronger tools made for him.

William once accepted a challenge for a wager that he could load a wagon with manure in less time than it took two men. He filled his wagon long before his two competitors.
Despite this achievement  nobody was brave enough to call him a S**T shoveller

Whilst at Market Weighton one year, Barnum’s travelling show were exhibiting a huge pig bred in Sancton known as ‘The Great Yorkshire Pig’.
They struck a deal with John Bradley to take William around the country along with Edward Calvet, a dwarf from Shiptonthorpe.
A giant, dwarf and inflated pig ...........They didn't scrimp on entertainment in the 18th Century!!!!
The show attracted vast crowds wherever it went.
 At the time he was as famous as our side burned hero.

As well as being the home of the Giant Bradley Market Weighton is also one of the landmarks on The Big G Cycle sportive which was another less famous cycling event that occurred last Saturday an warm up to the main event. Last year I swore that I would never do it again and was reminded why, when I took to the relentless succession of hills. My lack of climbing credentials are always highlighted on such sportives where it is now a standing joke that I have got the only bike with a reverse gear.
Nunburnholme hill featured below was a real leg burner, especially coming so close to the end.
I have never seen so many people toppling over into the verge.
Most cyclists will know that feeling....... When the hill is so steep that any kind of controlled extraction from your cleats is impossible. Fortunately It has not happened to me for a few years, but its a real art lining up that bit of 'softer' road or a verge with no nettles to execute your capsize.
Some people make it into an art form, others end up like bugs laid on their backs, their legs thrashing around  trying to remove their cleats from a horizontal position.
Thankfully I remained upright but was unable to muster a smile for the Camera.
Whilst the Anglo Mules were Taking part in the Big G the US Mules were completing The Katy Flat Lands
with 16 of the Team the largest group that they had assembled all in their livery...Some sight.
Unlike our course, theirs weres as flat as a pool table and they were able to average an impressive 20mph



I do like the sense of unity when the US and UK Mules are riding in events at the same time in different continents.



There next ride is the Hotter than Hell up in Wichita Falls North Texas.
It will feel strange not being part of it for the first time in Four years.



Instead I will be tacking another elevated climbing sportive in North Lancashirewhich is called  the Bradley Wiggins Sportive .
Yes you got it The Bradley Wiggins !!!!!!
It is to highlight his charity to get young people cycling.
 The great man will be riding so obviously I will be looking for for both his wheel and his approach to join the Mule Team.

1 comment:

jeff said...

If you're successful, The Mules will have to be invited to the Tour de France next year. Vive la Tour!