Nigel Blackburn and Robyn English joined hundreds of cyclists from all over the country on a four-day bike ride from London to Paris. The annual fundraiser is a firm favourite in the events calendar, organised by the Royal British Legion.
The ‘Pedal to Paris’ fundraiser saw our athletic project manager’s peddle the 460km distance between the two country’s capital cities; starting in London in the early hours of Thursday 30th August, passing through Dover, Calais, Abbeville and Beauvais before reaching their final destination in Paris on the 2nd September.
Here’s how they got on..
Their ride down to Dover became a blur of red and white jerseys as they followed the signs and the shouts of the Race Captains, stopped for food, drinks, cars and roundabouts. They were soon upon their first big hill which made for a nice decent into Dover and in-between cheers and tears they had made it 136km and the first day under their belts.
Once in France they experienced the expertise of the French outriders and enjoyed the benefits of riding with rolling road blocks, a lead car keeping them pace and the sunshine on our backs as they made their way over the rolling hills taking in the views.
- Day 2 took them from Calais to Abbeville (135 km)
- Day 3 Abbeville to Beauvais (104km)
- Day 4 Beauvais to Paris (100km)
In Abbeville, Auchy la Montagne and Beauville Nigel and Robyn were able to join with local dignitaries and towns people who held ceremonies of remembrance and laid wreaths to remember how these places were liberated by British Forces during the world wars.
A highlight for Robyn was on day 4 when they re-grouped after lunch, so they could ride the last 30km as a peloton into the centre of Paris, up to the Champs Elysees and to the finish line, the Arc de Triomphe.
They were met by a hero’s welcome, including friends and family who had made the journey to Paris to join them in a moving ceremony of remembrance; by the flame that burns on the tomb of the unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe.
Robyn said: “It was such an unforgettable journey that brought together 300 riders and an unbelievable number of support crew, for all their individual reasons; but ultimately to support the Royal British Legion to enable them through our fundraising to support others.”
Nigel added: “Being ex-Army I had always wanted to give something back to support a charity like the Royal British Legion; this seemed the ideal way and also knock something off my bucket list. For anyone who is inspired by our participation in this event, it is an absolute must, extremely well organised and supported and the final ride up the Champs Elysees was superb.”
Nigel and Robyn have raised nearly £2,000 combined which is a fantastic achievement. Well done to both – we are all immensely proud!