Hello everyone….I think we’ve probably all done our facebook entries, so you know we did it and have seen the photos as evidence! It all feels very surreal…were we really cycling around Paris for 9 hours on Saturday night? There were so many brilliant moments leading up to Saturday’s Nightrider… Frank parking the van literally across the road from le tour Eiffel..and arriving to find everyone having a cup of tea with twinkly lights behind them…. The ride itself… Our group leader got lost at least 3 times in the first half hour, which would have been really funny if we hadn’t glad 9 hours cycling to go…then he tripped over a pavement on his bike and finally careered into Annabel’s bike and damaged her spokes! She breathed deeply and even managed a desperate smile! Then we changed leaders and directions were suddenly much clearer..then there was our group guide at the back of our group who had a huge beat box (rubbish music too!) There were some really moving stories and we were all really sad when one guy, in a kind of go kart bike that he worked with his arms had an accident and he and his friend had to pull out.. All through the night different episodes and different people living Paris at night… sunrise seemed to come all of a sudden… And the last few hours, as Paris woke up, were extraordinary…. Cycling through Pigalle as people left the clubs…people going to work from about 5… All of us we in yellow reflector vests and back lights flashing red..so it was special to feel part of this group of people cycling for all kinds of reasons through the night! The end came all of a sudden…and we were on the left bank of the Seine…where people were waiting with medals and porridge! Back to Lille for a rest and a shower and some food, then to Zeebruges… A drink or two in the bar, then us 4 girls into our bunk beds and next thing we knew it was morning and we were in Hull… So we’re talking now of Coast to Coast or Paris to Budapest perhaps…we feel well and relaxed….Reka went back into chemo today and I reflected on why we do these rides and felt very strongly that it’s so important to keep cycling… it takes a lot of effort, a lot of patience from partners, children…. These rides aren’t convenient we know…but they’re not a luxury or just a bit of fun… For Reka and I, we think they are helping to keep us well… But it would be even harder to do them without the company and support of friends and family….we appreciate all that more than you can imagine…. We believe that more people with cancer can have more fun during treatment, that our bodies can manage adventures that are physically challenging. Our favourite comment in our exhibition comments book was ‘having seen your ride, I’m going home from treatment to get my bike out.’ That’s what it’s about x x x x
Thank you to Francoise and Serge at St Martin l’hortier……the hotel was beautiful and your warmth and It was wonderful cycling on the route… and then it stopped ‘temporarily!’ So, we did what we thought was the right direction and 2 hours later, there we were about 5 kilometers away! But there were lots of brambles and a few hills. We met a lovely girl in stripes and spots and alternative cycling gear with panniers full of camping gear..she was Polish but lived in Brighton and she was going to a vintage bike festival in Italy! we stopped to eat lunch and met another cyclist called Rakesh who was going to Paris. Amazingly, he was a cancer surgeon and specialized in colo-rectal cancer and knew Reka’s surgeon! Incredible coincidence! So 5 of us shared lunch, Rakesh bought us fruit tarts….and we put the flowers that Chris had sent to Reka for their wedding anniversary…on our table in the village square…. We plan to bring out the anniversary flowers for all our picnics… Thank you Chris for Reka’s flowers, which you were clever enough to send to the hotel to arrive on time and which we are all enjoying!…..we chickens have arrived Jemilla, your Mum was well impressed with your message in French and we all get very emotional when we get messages from our families…. Thank you for commenting and keeping us going everyone!……lots of love x x x x
Here we are on the ‘avenue verte’ well on the way to Paris..quick 2 day catch up..lots of rain and wind for the last UK days and hills too…Monday was finally finished at Joe and Barbara’s house… Our 7 p.m. arrival had finally become 10 p.m. But they couldn’t have been more welcoming and had loads of dinner waiting for us…hot showers and comfy beds, all so gorgeous when you’re wet and stiff. In the morning we set off refreshed and happy so thank you to Joe and Barbara…loads! The route from there to Brighton was very pretty along the North Downs way and through Christ’s hospital… It was all cycle path the first part but it rained and it rained and it rained! I went off to my sisters with cycling clothes to wash and dry and we all met up at the hotel ‘guest and the city’ in Brighton. Massive thank you to Mardi and Dan, who have also been touched by a personal cancer story. They offered us free rooms, lovely breakfast, brought our bikes in out of the rain, and just couldn’t have been kinder. If anyone is ever going to stay in Brighton, go and stay there. you’ll love it… We will do our trip adviser pages when we come back but for now…they get about a 120 out of 10! We had dinner at ‘terre a terre, a beautiful vegetarian restaurant, which could have been intimidatingly smart but their staff were so lovely they made us all feel not only relaxed but as though they had been looking forward to seeing us, which really is the mark of a special restaurant. I’m aware that this blog is becoming a bit of a thank you page, but we just seem to have met the nicest people this week. We set off to bike the 10 miles from Brighton to Newhaven to catch the ferry along the cliffs… Gentle hills, clear skies, grey sea… Perfect! Ferry wasn’t too rough, although Reka did go a bit green for a moment! We found our way out of Dieppe and were rewarded with the start of l’avenue verte..45 miles of uninterrupted cycling paths along a disused railway line…flat, smooth… Time to look up and see Norman water mills, wooden houses… Early sunsets… And…. Will fill you in tonight on the rest….. X
sorry no blog yesterday, late arrival, will explain why later! lovely breakfast at Malmaison… their staff were so friendly and kind, took our bikes down to the garage, gave us iced water for our water bottles, just couldn’t have been more hospitable.. we decided the mark of a gorgeous hotel is the detail and the attention to stuff….thank you so much to Malmaison…even down to the good luck cards in our rooms!
beautiful morning and great cycle path through Oxford, Abingdon and the Oxfordshire countryside…. there were red kites flying overhead, amazing birds and wooded, river side cycling paths. We cycled about 35 miles then stopped at a little pub that seemed to appear out of nowhere.. they were just closing but the landlord brought us a tray of tea and coffee and waved our money away when he knew we were doing a charity ride. Thats the best thing about these rides, peoples’ generosity of spirit and meeting other cyclists, people stopping to chat when we’ve stopped…. our sponsored hotels…. I started off after the pub all downhill, which was gorgeous but after half an hour, blow out of back tyre! Frank came back for me and my wheel needs a good sort out, so he’ll do that now but that was my cycling over after about 40 miles, still.. first day so a few more to go before Saturday! Reka and Annabel cycled off into the distance..Frank, Lisa and i set off in ‘Arriba’ Frank’s camper and had a traffic jam ride down to Godalming, during which we realised that although tough physically, there’s something so amazing about cycling from A to B.. Now Reka and Annabel wouldn’t have agreed yesterday because after following the cycling route all together for the morning, from late afternoon apparently all the signage disappeared, villages listed were no longer villages and finally at 9 p.m. they made it to Godalming and we were guided into Joe and Barbara’s house just before 10 p.m. Thank you to Joe and Barbara for comfy beds, baked potatoes and loads of other food, hot showers and everything we needed! So hopefully Frank will get my wheel fixed now and we’ll be setting off to Brighton…Anyone out there with insomnia start cycling…. your head hits the pillow and suddenly its morning! x
Penny here . I joined everyone last night in Oxford. Funny journey down, trains overcrowded and delayed, but ended up on floor outside Guards Van with 4 other people with bikes, so we stopped stories and listened to a Canadian woman who kept going past us in the corridor and telling us we had to write to our MPs when we got home to complain about the British rail service…which one?!
My lovely sister, brother in law and nephew met me with newly downloaded personal play list and iPod and no ear speakers! The other arrived at Malmaison at the same time and thank you to the Rusty Bike in Oxford for generous sponsorship of dinner. it was delicious. So, just to fill you in from Reka as she is re packing her bag… They had a lovely night at the Swan in Bedford….thank you so much to them for sponsorship, their spa, their dinner and their bed for the night…they set off yesterday morning in sunshine but with the promises of dark clouds and storms overhead… And the promise was fulfilled…winds got up and helped prevent the rain to start with..then the rain started and the hills ‘with no benefits!’ How can hills have no downs? But they didn’t! Frank apparently has been a superstar… Driving, mending punctures, supporting… Lisa is very proud of her Dad.. We left him last night feeling very guilty as we slept in our comfy beds in Malmaison and he went off to sleep in the van, but he assured everyone that was what he preferred! But thank you Frank from everyone! Reka slipped off her bike yesterday, on a rubber pathway that had been laid up to a marquee outside what they think might have been Richard Branson’s house, so her fall was his fault if it was! Photos to follow tonight everyone…breakfast calling… Already day 4.. But day 1 for me… So ready for stiffness and soreness tonight! x x x
I am knacked and was shivering only an hour ago when we rolled in to Boston after our first day which was sliiiiighly longer than we thought … 85ish
… but there is big grin on my face … today was really lovely
The setting of was really quite special… loads of lovely friends turned up some with bikes some with chocolate… and 10am (ish) 11 of us set off, most of them said goodbye at the humber bridge some kept going over the river and beyond with us. The sun was out and the hills were gentle (well most the time). The route was very well signposted and only got lost once when the route went off road and we found ourselves in middle of the field. After Market Rasen the weather got drizzlier but the road got staight and flat. We had an absolutely gorgeous ride next to the river …cormorans and swans
The last couple of miles seemed for ever and very dark and just before Boston when we were really really wet and well ready for a hot cuppa and a shower … Annabel’s brand new tyre burst. So we have our jobs cut out for tomorrrow morning.
But now we are just chilling with windswept faces, lightly achy legs and a bit fuzzy head
… sorry i am a bit tired to funny or clever … will try harder
Thanks for the White Hart to putting up with us.
Reka , Lisa and Annabel and flapjack during last year’s night ride
Last night… manically packing … 3 dresses… crochet bag … paper and drawing pen … who am I kidding … mind you, our support vehicle is a little camper van, maybe I can take the kitchen sink then. I did pack some sensible stuff too, like mascara.
Will set off at 10 with a little posse in tow who we say goodbye to at the Humber bridge. The route tomorrow seems ok although one of the longest ones, so it will be a little shock to the system but we have flapjack so I am sure things will work out just fine.
I had a look at the BBC weather and it looks a bit … well, promising the first autumn storm for Sunday with an A rated wind warning coming from the West and heavy rain …. The only problem here is the wind and the rain and the direction … well we just have to see
I am starting to not make sense, better if I go to sleep …. I will try to report tomorrow night.
Last year we set a bit of a tall order and a rather long distance … 1000 miles (ish) to be precise … on our bikes through the 5 capitals of the Isles; and although it was a giggle, a great way to see the sights and undoubtedly we ended up with perter bottoms. Whilst that was a perk, the real issue is about that having cancer and 2 weekly chemo treatment, is not a barrel of laughs, but we all have to play our cards as best we can.
Keeping active and gaining control back over our bodies and minds is our way of keeping our heads above the water and trying not to end up as a sob story.
This is the story; this is what The Ride is about.
And now we are embarking on a new challenge ratatata!….. the world first Hull to Paris cycle ride!!!!
All 5 of us are affected in some shape or form and 2 of us have a face to face relationship at the moment (yes it is damn ugly!).
Blimey…. Yes only a couple of days to go and all I have done in the last couple is bashing the computer to start to smooth out the last little bits … but it meant I haven’t moved seriously for ages which is doesn’t bode well when I’m just about to embark on a rather long bike ride… well it kind of happened last year too and I did suffer the first couple of days… last least I know what is coming. Everybody is really excited though, so the adrenalin will carry us for a while and then I have ordered a backwind and then I have to think of something … harnessing horses … catching a lift from a unicorn?
We got together a couple of our friends and did a little photo shoot with all the lovely clothes we were given from our very generous sponsors. Jen is working on them at the moment and hopefully will be ready by Thursday so I can put them up just before we go.