London to Paris Cycle Challenge forCrohns July 2016

In July 2016, Adam Rigby and his friends Cal, James, Martin, Paul & Tom’s set off on a London to Paris Cycle Ride to raising over £2,000 for forCrohns. They challenge came about after one of their close mutual friends explained that he had been diagnosed with Crohns disease. Here Adam relives their challenge…image8

Initially we all didn’t know much about the disease and the impact it can have on someone’s life but we all set about learning and doing what we could to help him as best we could.

As a group of cycling enthusiasts (of massively varying levels, one recently completing an Ironman whilst one is lucky to manage 30 miles!) we decided the best thing we could do to help was to get on our bikes!

The challenge started with a slightly wet and windy day making our way from the London Eye, out of the capital, past Gatwick airport finishing up in East Grinstead for the night. The hotel had a luxury spa and we certainly made the most of it!

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Day two took us from East Grinstead to Newhaven on the South Coast where we’d spend the night before catching an early ferry the next morning over to France. When arriving into Newhaven our route took us along the South Coast, literally 10 feet away from the sea at times. It was only a short two mile stretch along the coast but due to the incredibly high winds, these were two of the most challenging miles of the whole journey.

Day three started nice and early. The plan was to get to the ferry port around 8.30am before setting sail 9.30ish. We’d get comfortable on the ferry and have a nice breakfast so we’d be ready to cycle the 35 miles to our hotel in Forges-les-Eaux, arriving around 5.00pm and having a nice look around the town. The reality was much different. We did arrive at the ferry port at 8.30am only to see the ferry sailing away in the distance. Turns out we should have been there at 7.30am to catch the ferry!

So instead we had an impromptu day out in Brighton before catching the ferry at 5.30pm. We eventually docked in France just after 11.00pm, still with a 35 mile ride in front of us, in a foreign country, with no visible road signs and some poorly lit roads. This however turned out to be one of the highlights of the challenge as we cycled along a designated cycle path without any traffic and a clear nights sky. We could even see the Milky Way above as we rode. Eventually we arrived at our hotel, much too late to have a walk around the town at 2.00am.

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The next couple of days all blur in to one. Miles and miles of beautiful French countryside with the odd small town or village to stop at for a small bite to eat.

Sunday was the last day of cycling. 40 miles in to the centre of Paris. The heat and humidity was stifling. We were running low on water supplies due to the amount we had to consume just to keep hydrated but one thought kept us going. We’ve come this far, raised over £2000, we can’t let everybody down.

We made it to Paris and the Notre Dame cathedral, passing by the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower in the process. What a great feeling it was to finally finish the challenge. 290 miles, across two countries and we’d done it. There might have been the odd beer and bottle of champagne that evening to celebrate.

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Whilst we’d rode 290 miles that wasn’t our greatest achievement. Our greatest achievement was raising £2108 in the process for ForCrohns.

Our mutual friend knew of our challenge but didn’t know of the fundraising we were doing. When the news broke to him he was having a particularly difficult period. Knowing that we’d helped to raise his spirits made the whole challenge worth while.

Thank you to everybody who donated to our JustGiving page and helped us smash our initial £1000 target.

You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/londontoparisforcrohns