The magic of the last day!

The magic of the last day!

So, we all met again in Richmond Park where there was about to be a huge cycling race. The cycling lanes were marked and as the race hadn’t begun, the stewards let us cycle through and film and photograph. Carl told the waiting crowd about our journey and Reka was spontaneously applauded as she cycled through, much to Carl’s delight and Reka’s complete embarassement! After a lovely lunch prepared by Liz, our lovely friend and host, Carl, Reka and I set off to cycle to no 10 Downing Street, where we had decided to end the ride. It was a beautiful ride, sunny and warm and along the towpath right into the city. It was the first cycling Olympic event, so again all roads closed except to cyclists. SO… the three of us cycled all the way from Hammersmith to Downing Street in the middle of the road, playing around at Trafalgar Square, round in circles at Speakers Corner… just having fun and loving all the bikes owning the roads of central London. We saw the Olympic cyclists speed past at about the same speed we had been doing!! and got to no 10 for our designated 4.30 p.m. slot. We gave in our passports and the policeman came back to tell us we weren’t on the official list! Suddenly, our world wasn’t so bright… symbolically Reka wanted to finish by standing at the door of no 10 and it didn’t look possible. We cajoled and persuaded and begged, but the police said they just couldn’t do it. Suddenly a second policeman came over ‘gorgeous Jason’ and listened to our story. He went away and conferred, then said he would take Carl’s camera and take a shot of no 10. We did say thank you and Carl took a photo of him taking a photo of the door with his camera! But it wasn’t quite what we wanted and Jason the policeman saw that… SO…. finally, he said he would accompany Reka in.. but we had to wait for a slot between Cameron leaving and the new police arriving… 2 hours later…. we did it… Cameron left no 10… the vans with the change over police began to draw up and whoosh, Jason took Reka in and took photos of her infront of no 10 with Carl’s camera!! So we finished as we meant to…..
And then it really was over…. we cycled magically back to Richmond from no 10 in the evening sunlight…. no cars on the roads…. just us and thousands of other bikes….
It was so late that we decided to sleep for a few hours and finally left London (massive thank you to Liz for the extra lunch, dinner and night) at 3.30 this morning. Carl drove out of London in record time as there was no one on the road and took us the first 2 hours. Then we stopped and I had my first expresso coffee for 6 months! Enough to mean I was very happy to take over the driving and get us to Hull. We made it in 3 hours 40 minutes which for those of you who have driven that route is only possible at that time of the morning on a Sunday! I felt the most incredible sense of well being than I can remember feeling for a very long time. The sun came up slowly on another sunny day and the Humber bridge came into sight about 6.45 a.m. The three of us sang very loudly and badly for the last half hour in the car… and arrived for breakfast at Ella Street not long after 7.00 a.m. Within minutes, lovely Lisa was there… and then John, Leila with roses.. and then other of Reka’s lovely friends, who we feel are our friends too now, thanks to Reka and Chris. After laughter and breakfast, we went off to support Reka lead the Hull ‘race for life’ as lead cyclist. Suddenly Reka had me in a red cycling support for the race jacket and I was with 4 women also in red jackets with Reka, leading the race… and suddently I was cycling another 5k with 2000 women in pink behind me! Much more scary than those Scottish mountains! No, it was lots of fun… and finally Carl and I left…. Reka and I didn’t say goodbye…. we both knew what the other was feeling….

It’s hard at the moment to express my emotions.. above all a sense of well being and physically, mentally feeling strong and energised; a sense of deep friendship, of new important relationships…. I hadn’t prepared physically or mentally for these last 2 weeks and yet somehow it had all been ok.. and I think I know what to do next time! There will be a next time…. it will be different and not this same journey but with new challenges but certainly with more of the laughter and joy we found on this one. I daren’t ask Carl to crop and download photos tonight so bit more patience everyone for the last set of photos. We’ve got lots of work now… editing, writing….. thinking about how and when we will be able to show you our little film, the exhibition of photos and texts we want to put together.. But you will all be invited and so so welcome when we do finally get things together to give you what we believe will be the representation that works for all of us of the ride. Carl will go to the hospital with Reka tomorrow and will film her consultaion and chemo. My consultation is delayed until a week tomorrow…. Through the generosity of family, friends, hotels, couch surfing hosts…. we managed to spend as little as we could so any money we have left will go into Reka and I forming a small community interest company ‘the ride’ which will go on to advocate the importance of real and sustained exercise during cancer treatments and beyone… we are already excited about what we can do from September…. don’t leave the blog…. photos will go up next week and more thoughts from all of us…. please all the riders comment, make yourself a biog on the riders page.. Pru, Toddy, John, Lisa, Rita…. and others… So no goodbyes from me either… just yet….

9 Responses »

  1. Hello there. Pleased to meet you yesterday Penny. Were all went on to have a lovely welcome home gathering at Lisa’s, so the joy didn’t stop :) Well done again guys xxx

  2. I wish I could have seen you cycling through London! It sounded so exciting. You must have been on an absolute high. What courage and determination…..and then no.10. You have let nothing deter you, I am amazed. Penny, you should write a book…I have so enjoyed reading your posts. Long may they continue xxx

  3. Ah my friend Raindrop, what an amazing unique experience and how beautifully you have written it. It’s so moving and gutsy and inspired. Well done and well done and well done. I don’t know what to say other than thank you for sharing it with us as you went along. Big hugs and lots of happy tears!!!
    Ruth xxxxx

  4. What can I say?! Huge, huge congratulations! An epic journey…in so many ways! Truly inspiring and heartwarming. Your message has been totally captivating and convincing; a real catalyst for a change and new ways. And now a little well earned rest, I hope! Love you Pen xxxx

  5. Congratulations Penny to you and your companion bikers!!! What an accomplishment – all those miles of roads & all that wheeling! my little girl is wearing a tshirt today which says ‘bicycles bring you to beautiful places’ looks like you’ve been to many too with beautiful photos from Carl! Good luck with the rest of the campaigning and exhibition, Emma xxx

  6. What a coincidence that you were in Richmond Park when I was – I wish I had seen you soaking up the much-deserved applause of the crowd. Ian did spot you on the Thames towpath – another of many amazing coincidences. You had adventures to the very last . I so much admire your ingenuity in overcoming unexpected problems.
    I’ve put up my own account my tiny involvement in The Ride on my website – happy to do as you suggest and add it to the ‘riders’ section if you let me know how.
    I now know why I struggled so much on the hills – I got my latest scan results on Monday and I’m sorry to say they showed a marked deterioration. That’s why I was getting so breathless. But, undeterred, I shall keep up the cycling with all of you – especially Penny and Reka – as my inspiration. Let me know f there’s any help I can give.

    • Hello Mike. I have replied to your blog but will send you how to log on as a rider… we will all motivate each other to keep pedalling because we know how important it is.. I somehow had to get on my bike today, 6 miles across the harbour and the sea front with my 6 year old grandson, magical to watch his excitement as he negotiated without stabilisers and less magical when he was so busy watching some kites that he cycled straight into a post and went flying, but picked himself up and rubbed his bruised knee with a big smile!Stay strong Mike and remember how badly we fit into the ‘statistics.’ We’re all much too ready for adventures and our own management of cancer that we’re probably off the radar… on your bike in the morning, whatever the weather! Much love, Penny

  7. Congratulations to you all! Penny, I so wanted to stay on and catch up with you at Mum’s but I had to leave (how bad was that timing…Leaving the day before you arrived?). I am filled with emotion…pride, love and awe. You are one in a million! LOVE and hugs to you from Xander, Hugo, Nick and Kate xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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