|The B4 Charity Bike Ride - Paris To Oxford In Aid Of Oxfam.
All 12 cyclists, including B4’s Richard Rosser, Keith Simpson, Rob Scotcher and John Kennedy, enjoyed a fantastic experience they will never forget. B4 were fantastically supported by Kieran Lynch of Oxford Event Hire, James 'The Candy Man' White of InTouch CRM, David 'Hill Master' Robertson of Buildbase together with his wife, Jane ‘Legend’ Robertson, Wayne Harris of Ibstock, Nigel Pursall of OrangeStripe Telecommunications with his nephew Dan and mutual friend Stevie Archer.
The group arrived in Paris on Friday 1st June by Eurostar following months of training which for some was totally alien. Others, like Dave Robertson, had previously completed the route from London to Paris but, by his own admission, this was a far more rewarding experience. “I did a very similar challenge last year but I must say I enjoyed this trip a lot more. From the organisation side it could not have run smoother. Then the TEAM mates – It was amazing how quickly twelve people can come to terms with the challenge and start to work as a unit to ensure we all achieved – It was great to be a part of it.”
The group set off early on Saturday morning, guided by the fantastic Martin and Joe from Passion in Events who organised the event with B4. Nikki and Simon were the support team and Zoe was the team photographer, quickly amassing a library of photos, mainly of various members of the team struggling to make it up the tortuous hills!
First stop was Evreux, 75 miles from Paris, which the team reached with two hours to spare. After an evening meal it was early to bed before Day Two’s colossal 90 miles to Caen from where the team took to the overnight ferry to Portsmouth. Before boarding, the group had a fantastic meal and the opportunity to reflect on two great days and 165 miles covered. For many it was the first time they had cycled long distances on consecutive days, but without any real aches and pains, it was testament to the hours of training they had all put in that there were no major problems ahead of the last day. As the cyclists set off to board the ferry, although there was an air of satisfaction, most realised the last day would be the hardest, with the 100 mile trek from Portsmouth to Blenheim Palace ahead of them, with heavy rain forecast.
Good weather had been a major plus for the trip, with only light showers on day two to contend with. However, as the group assembled below deck at 6.30am on the final day, the weather, on what was supposed to be a glorious Jubilee Monday, was anything but welcoming. Before the group had got into their stride, they were confronted with a 100 metre climb out of Portsmouth, an early reminder that this was going to be the toughest day. Breakfast was provided on the roadside shortly after, with the ever present Simon and Nikki ready with a warm smile and the largest bacon sandwiches!
From there on the signs became more familiar with Basingstoke, then Newbury, then Wantage passing by. As the team climbed the final 200 metre plus hill, Oxfordshire was before them and the sun began to shine. Tea was served in Eaton and as the team made its way through Wolvercote, team jester, James White, succumbed to his first and well deserved drink for over a month just outside Woodstock as there was an hour to kill whilst friends and family were still arriving to greet the group at Blenheim. The final mile brought home to the cyclists what they had achieved and it was with relief and a little sadness that the final mile slipped by and Jane lead the team through the Hensington Gates up the drive to Blenheim Palace, a wonderful venue for the climax to this fantastic adventure.
Over one hundred friends and family had gathered to cheer the group home, along with supporters from Oxfam, B4’s preferred charity. The total raised so far for Oxfam is £11,000 with more money to come in. Oxfam’s Oxfordshire Development Manager, Anna Thorne, commented, “£10,000 is enough to build two water tanks and refurbish two classrooms which is an amazing achievement, The team did a great job!”
To see photos from the event please