As part of my company’s 25th Anniversary year, we set ourselves a challenge of raising, £20,000 for 4 good causes. We work in safety, so we chose Children’s’ Burns Trust and Mesothelioma UK as our first two causes. I was lucky enough to put forward Caring Matters Now and have it accepted as the next charity along with Macmillan Cancer Support. The main fundraising event we decided upon was to cycle through 6 countries in 6 days, covering a total distance of 500 miles.
10 brave souls made up of both competent and ‘developing’ cyclists and with a combined age that exceeded the planned mileage, set off on 21st September from Saarbrücken, Germany. We cycled through France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland. Some countries proved extremely accommodating for cyclist, others seemed intent to turn us into road kill. I’ll leave you to decide which they were. We finished the ride late on 26th September arriving at Trafalgar Square. We were more than a little saddle sore, but totally exhilarated at our achievement.
It would be fair to say that we experienced a number of ‘amusing’ incidents over the course of the 6 days – some of which cannot be repeated for fear of litigation. The most bizarre was Day 5 when we thought we had plenty of time to get to Dunkirk for our ‘evacuation’ back to Blighty. We got to Dunkirk with 90 minutes to spare, or so we thought. Unlike Calais, Dunkirk port is over an hours ride from Dunkirk. As you need to check in 60 minutes before this left us with a bit of a problem. The solution was to send our 2 strongest riders with all our passports on ahead, while the rest of us peddled as fast as we could. The second group duly arrived at the port to find no trace of our flying squad. Unfortunately, our 2 ‘leaders’ had gotten completely lost (bearing in mind they are carrying our passports) and had taken a wrong turn into a migrant camp. Needless to say the boys were a little concerned and beat a hasty retreat, and as it turns out – the wrong way up a motorway! They finally arrived with 3 mins to spare and we were luckily all waved through to the ferry.
We were on the bikes at around 7.15am every day and usually not off them before 6.45 in the evening, so some very long days. We were self navigating as we went, and therefore had some very interesting decisions to take vis a vis closed roads – often we rode through a number of construction sites! For the geeks among you, we racked up some interesting stats over the 6 days; over 18000 additional calories burned, 45 hours of active ride time, over 17000 ft climbed and over 509 miles ridden and 5 falls – mostly because someone forgot to unclip! One thing’s for sure, it was one of the most memorable events I’ve done and I loved being part of this fundraising team. To date we have raised around £14,000 and have a few more events in our sights.