Preparations continue apace for Bankstone’s 2011 charity fundraising jaunt Medieval Monkeys. The big idea – with apologies to those who’ve heard this a hundred times before – is that Bankstone and friends (yes, they have some) ride a dozen or more monkey bikes (miniature motorcycles) circa 350 miles round Yorkshire over the weekend of 2-3 July dressed as medieval knights, calling in at ten of the county’s finest castles en route, thereby raising (apologies for long sentence) around £7.5k: enough to keep Yorkshire Air Ambulance’s two helicopters in business saving lives across the region for one whole day.

Monkey in chief Dickon Tysoe and his faithful navigator Davy-Jane McManus this week carried out an exhaustive reconnaissance mission along the proposed route (which turned out to involve quite a bit of footpath and cycle track – thank you Microsoft Autoroute) aboard an economical if ridicule-inviting white Fiat Panda (see pic, which also features Bolton Castle and some leaves).

The pair stopped at 8/10 of the castles on the proposed route: Skipton, Bolton, Middleham, Richmond, Helmsley, Pickering, Knaresborough and Ripley, missing out only Scarborough (‘tis a silly place) and the other one (Sheriff Hutton, replacing Castle Howard, which – brace yourself – isn’t really a castle, just a big fancy house).

Whether moved by pity at the sight of two generously proportioned gents unfolding themselves awkwardly from the aforementioned Panda or simply because they had nothing better to do, staff at the various castles were uniformly helpful and welcoming, quick with accommodating offers of help, advice on the best place to pose for knightly group photos, lengthy discursions on topics of no possible interest to anyone, and even a sample of sloe gin.

Especially helpful were staff at Richmond Castle who promised to allow Bankstone’s medieval monkeybikers to pass through the main gates to the grassy central courtyard, there to pose to their hearts’ content.

Anyone who would like to take part can purchase their very own monkey bike (fully branded in the livery of your choice) for just £600 (a fraction of its re-sale value). Five new bikes have been ordered by participants this very week. If you don’t have your own knightly garb, Bankstone can also offer guidance on appropriate fancy dress purchase and has a batch of custom-made skullskin medieval-biker helmet pullovers on their way over from the USA.

If you can’t be bothered to take part yourself (shame on you), please visit Bankstone’s Just Giving Page and give what you can to help save a life by airlift.


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