I am alive! 28 of my colleagues and I successfully cycled all of the way to to Paris without any deaths or injuries. It was easily the best thing I’ve done all year. I am so proud to have organised this whole project with the great Chris Spearing. The best thing is, we raised over £16,500 for Independent Age. This will fund a volunteering project that we’ll start in November, where we will be visiting socially isolated elderly people a few times a month.
The ride itself was hard. But not that hard. I thought it would be a lot worse than it was. Don’t tell anyone, everyone has been congratulating me and that has been nice.
We set off from Greenwich Observatory, everyone looked somewhat trepidatious, I think the picture below really illustrates this. The view was banging though.
On that first day, we made our way through the 100km down to Newhaven, going along some pretty dodgy roads. Some roads seemed completely endless, and the undulating countryside became incredibly tiresome. A trip like this really is a mental challenge, it is very hard to summon the motivation to keep going when you can’t see anyone miles in front of you or behind you. You find mad little phrases going round in your head to get you to keep going. Mine was ‘This isn’t a hill, it’s actually a flat road. This is a trick of the mind.’ My friend’s phrase was ‘all the gear and no idea.’ I’m not sure how that kept her motivated, but it worked. We arrived in Newhaven over an hour early and then had a joyous time in the Brewers Fair.
On day two we had a lovely chilled ferry ride down to Dieppe, which gave us a chance to relax and eat as many Mars bars as we could. Getting back on the bike for another 50 miles when everything hurt wasn’t easy, but at least it was sunny and our route was littered with chateaus and bakeries.
And then we were en route to Paris. This was easily the scariest 2 hours of my life. Parisian drivers literally want to kill you. They seems to be gunning for you rather than avoiding bikes. I don’t think I’d like to cycle around the Arc de Triomphe again.
When we finally got to the Eiffel Tower it was a huge relief, and our lovely MD met us there with some champagne. Everyone took selfies, group shots and there were various attempts to lift bikes above heads for profile picture material. By this point I had no strength left so it was a bit of a struggle.
Thanks for pics from the very talented cyclist and photographer Sam King.