Stage 1 of 3 completed
4 days of hard work, unusual weather and mishaps
Day one: 24 July 2019 (Blackheath – Dover – Calais)
Having endured getting the tandem through London to Blackheath the day before, we had an early start with 5.30am breakfast, briefing at 6.30am and by 7.30am the peloton of 131 riders was on its way.
Four stages of 20 miles each lay ahead of us. Hills on a tandem are great when descending but hard work when ascending – “dig in” and “don’t look up” being the sayings of the trip. We had a puncture in stage 4 but luckily, the mechanic van was only minutes behind.
Arriving at Dover at around 4.30pm, we then queued to get on the 6.45pm ferry to Calais, which left at approximately 7.15pm.
Day two: 25 July 2019 (Calais – Arras)
Wow, this was the hottest day recorded in France and Europe, with temperatures hitting a peak of 48 degrees and road temperatures being in excess of 55 degrees. All 131 riders ploughed on and with the common goal of Alzheimer’s we persevered and completed a gruelling day.
A damaged spoke that the mechanics mended was the only mishap today.
Thank goodness for French cemeteries. They all have fresh water, which was a Godsend to all of us riders. A nice meal in Arras for the whole group was had in the evening, but it was early to bed as an early start in the morning beckoned.
Day three: 26 July 2019 (Arras – Compiègne)
Again, an early breakfast, but we set off just before 7am. Weather was cooler and the landscape was flatter, thankfully. Still some large hills to climb, but what goes up must come down and we whizzed down hills at speeds in excess of 40mph!!
The group was split up here and we had evening meals in different locations. Early to bed again as we had a 5-mile bike ride to the Mercure Hotel before we started the ride to Paris.
Day four: 27 July 2019 (to Paris)
The 5-mile ride to the Mercure seemed much longer!
We all set off and had shorter stops as only 67 miles today (plus the 5 miles already done)! Lunch was early at 10am. Then on our way to our meeting point, which was 3 miles from the finish line at the Eiffel Tower. Another spoke damaged but it could not be repaired so we just removed and tightened the others.
The finish line… we created a tight peloton and followed the Discover Adventure van, which had its hazards flashing, horns beeping as cycle outriders and other vans stopped the traffic so we had a clear run even round the Arc De Triomphe.
It was amazing and emotional. Lots of hugs and kisses all round.
We did it!!
Mike and I would like to thank all our sponsors, friends and family for their support. We are nearly at £10,000 now! We would also like to thank the Discovery Adventure team and mechanics led by Greg who was superb. The Alzheimer’s Society events team joined us for the ride and thanks to them for just being there and helping to organise the event. Must mention that the lunch stops food and drinks team did a fantastic job with tasty energy building food.
Stage 2: 15 September 2019 (London to Brighton)
HERE WE COME!