Peloton for Patrick 2011, London - Paris

31/01/2012

Saturday September 10th Tuesday September 13th

At 9 am on the 10th September 2011 a team of brave cyclists set out for Paris to raise money for the Patrick Evans Foundation. After stopping for a hearty breakfast in Reigate we set off on the first leg of the trip to Portsmouth.

The first day went reasonably smoothly with the team working well together and we made good progress. Having arrived in Portsmouth we all sat down for a solid dinner and  a few beers to replenish the energy that had been spent cycling the 100 miles from London to Portsmouth. On arriving at the ferry port we got some funny looks as they asked to look inside the van and there were 4 riders standing in the pitch black in the back of the van. We reflected that at least British immigration is stopping people being smuggled out of the country.

After this small drama, we all boarded the ferry and got a few hours’ sleep. This year it was a delightful change to actually be in a cabin, compared to last year when we slept in shop doorways in Dieppe.

On arriving in Caen and having refuelled with breakfast, we set off towards Louviers. This year our route was travelling east towards Paris, compared to last year where we travelled south along the Avenue Verte. The difference was that it was a much longer and hillier route. Luckily we had good weather and we were treated to some stunning scenes over the French countryside.

On arriving at the Chateau D’Argeronne outside Louviers we were treated to our own building on the lawn of the picturesque Chateau. It had been a long day and a few beers were welcomed before a nice meal in a traditional French restaurant.

On Day 3 we awoke to a fantastic spread for breakfast which set us up well for the final day into Paris. However, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and we found ourselves peddling across open farmland into a strong headwind. This made for a hard start to the day, and was not helped but a large number of punctures, but soon we had regained our rhythm and powered through to Paris.

The foundation would like to thank the team of Francis, Tom, Matt, Milos, Tony, John and Mike for all their hard work in the saddle, but our biggest thank you has to go to Hector who valiantly supported us over the 3 days in the SOS van. This support enabled the riders to really focus on the task at hand with knowledge that any refreshment or running repair was instantly available in the back of the van. It is worth mentioning the great job that Tom and Hector did in navigating the team across France, always finding a safe and suitable route for the cyclists to take and we could not have done it without them.

The ride raised just under £3000 for the foundation and was another great success for the foundation. We are planning to do another ride in the summer 2012 and if you are interested please get in touch with the foundation and we will include you in any plans for future rides.

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