by Rachel Radford
Early in the morning of July 14th, nine of us from Forward stumbled sleepily to Crystal Palace, the start line of our cycling adventure to Paris. The next 4 days were some of the most fun, toughest, days we had ever experienced. We travelled a total of 465 km (289 miles) up and down hills in the wind to Dover, then through the beautiful fields of Northern France.
Everyone’s training and fitness paid off, and we all stuck to a really good pace each day. We just had a few tweaks – Mike Jone’s leg was cramping up for 60 miles of day 1, Rachel came off her bike (perfectly somersaulting over a fence onto an incredibly soft lawn!), Scrooby was drugged up on ibuprofen, Baris was wearing a knee brace on the last day and there was a few cases of saddle soreness… but these are all just excuses for not being able to keep up with Mike Power-Legs Fuller. Every day he would power on, racing up hills and down valleys to arrive at the end – sometimes even an hour! – ahead of everyone else.
Cycling in to Paris was something we will never forget; the people in the streets stopped to clap and cheer us on with allez allez! The 14th July is Bastille Day so there was a great atmosphere and fireworks that evening which, when coupled with a bottle of wine, finished off the trip perfectly.
Thank you so much for your support and donations – we managed to raise over £8,500 for War Child, including Forward’s fundraising supplement. So we have helped children & young people in Central Africa Republic get back on their feet and recover from the terrible effects of war – which makes this a double feel-good achievement!