Adam Lynch, Betty Blok, Ellen Aherne, Ian Flight, Izzy Brinsden, Louise Derrick, Mark Brandon, Patrick Teague, Paul Lynch (driver) Sam Austin and Tom Kieran, all embarked on the toughest of challenges for 2010, cycling from London to Paris. For all of the pictures please see here.
Early on Wednesday 1st September, the RideForEmma team began their epic journey at The Royal Marsden hospital in Sutton, but tragedy struck before they had even left the car park. A complete blowout on Adam’s tyre meant that he was unable to ride. So the team (minus Adam) began the ride while the Aherne family took Adam to the very kind Corridori Cycle Store (http://www.corridori.co.uk/), to pick up spare bike parts…more on this later.
Eventually the team were reunited, to continue along the now famous London to Brighton route. All of the girls had clearly been in training as this year they were flying along. After a quick stop for lunch at The Gardeners Arms we set off again, with very few problems after the horrific start to the morning. Before we knew it we were in Ditchling, the point on the London to Brighton ride that many people start to worry. Luckily for us we were taking a left and bypassing the awful Ditchling Beacon, in order to setup camp in Newhaven. Sadly the day ended as it started with Ian gaining a puncture which needed to be fixed. The team were split up and ended up missing the campsite. Fortunately before the sun set the team were re-united and promptly set up camp for a cold night in tents by the sea.
Very early the next morning after a sleepless night we had to pack up camp and head to the Newhaven ferry for the 4 hour crossing to Dieppe. The weather was fantastic, perfect for riding, which was a shame that we were on the ferry for so long. However we made it across to France and once again set off along the best road surfaces we had encountered yet. We had intended to get to Gourney-en-Bray to camp, however light was fading fast and we had cycled a very good distance in a short time.Â We found a great place to camp at Forges les Eaux, the French really do know how its done, with hot showers and a great pitch. The guys all heading into town for a meal (the best chinese in france) with the girls staying back at camp to cook pasta round a gas hob.
An early night yet again allowed us to get back on the road for the furthest ride to date. We needed to make up the time for stopping short yesterday. Yet again the roads were nice and flat and superbly maintained, which allowed for us to build up a good amount of speed and cover a lot of ground quickly. After an hour of cycling the team had split into two distinct groups, with Mark leading the way. Sadly though for the second time on the trip disaster struck with the leader of the pack gaining a blowout. Fortunately Adam had stocked up on spare parts and had fortunately bought a few extra tyres. Waiting for Paul to arrive in the van, the majority of the team set off ahead to gain some ground, with Mark and Adam insisting that they would catch up quickly.
Eventually after 2 hours of chasing the teams were reunited and in desperate need of some lunch. Sadly though the farmlands of outer Paris didn’t play well for restaurants or places to eat and so a picnic ensued on the side of the road. We were aiming for the International Camping of Maisons Laffitte, 20km outside of Paris. We made it after cycling a staggering 109km, the furthest the girls have ever cycled!Â Once again we bedded down for the night all very excited for the last short trip into Paris.
A small sleep in the next day, Sam donned his pink attire, for the last short ride into Paris, with the aim of finding the St. Christophers Inn after navigating our way to the Arc du Triomphe to officially complete the ride. Paris proved to be a very confusing place indeed with many one way streets, awful cobbled roads and horrific drivers. We stuck together as a group though and eventually we made it after cycling 279.9km!
Congratulations to all of this years participants and BIG BIG thanks to Paul for driving home that night to Dieppe as there was no-where for him to park the van in Paris. Special thanks must also go to ISHOKA for borrowing of the van for the 5 day trip and also to the Corridori team for such great advice for the ride when it was desperately needed!