POSTED IN FG Family ON 30 October, 2019
30 Oct Sentimental Journey – A London to Paris Bike Ride
A London to Paris Bike Ride
Our very own Suzy Whalley raises over £1,900 with a London to Paris Bike Ride!
Suzy Whalley, PA to our Managing Director Ben Dellicompagni, recently did her #FGFamily proud when she completed a London to Paris bike ride in just 4 days, covering approximately 300 miles in total and raising over £1,900 for Katharine House Hospice, Stafford.
We spoke to Suzy about what led her to undertake the challenge and why Katharine House Hospice was her charity of choice.
Why did you decide to undertake the challenge?
My partner and I wanted to raise money for Katharine House Hospice; he is a keen cyclist and I had bought a cheap road bike, we thought why not push ourselves and take on something together that would be memorable; so, London to Paris was booked! There was a lot of hesitation from me in the beginning, as the longest I had cycled was to the nearest pub and back!
Was your training regime intense?
We were given an outline for a 5-month training plan for the challenge. We started doing 10-to-15-to-20 mile rides out on the road for the first 4 weeks. We then increased the weekend rides from 20 miles, eventually up to 60-70 miles over a 4-month period! This became very time consuming and took over most of our weekends, so normal life was put on hold for quite a few months!
Why did you choose to raise money for Katharine House Hospice?
My Mum passed away back in 2007 aged only 57 to bowel cancer. When she was receiving palliative care at home, a place in Katharine House Hospice was made available for her. However, Mum’s deterioration was quite quick towards the end, so it was too late to move her. The Hospice were on hand 24/7 whilst Mum was receiving care at home and for our family, following Mum’s passing, with support and guidance on how to cope with the loss. The Hospice provide amazing care for the people of Stafford and it is run totally on fundraising monies, so that’s why we felt it was important to raise money to just give a little something back, so that some other families can benefit from the support that we had in our time of need.
Suzy & Nigel reach the Finish line in Paris!
Tell us about your experience during the cycle ride?
Well, where do I start?! Day 1 from Crystal Palace to Calais felt like one of the longest days of my life! Temperatures had hit 30 degrees and with a total of 95 miles to complete, it really was a challenge to actually get to the ferry crossing; but with the support of the other 85 cyclists who were part of our group, we somehow managed to get on the ferry.
As the temperatures were due to hit 40 degrees for day two, we were asked to make a 6.00am start! Honestly, I think those first few hours on the bike I was still waking up, because I do not remember how I got from the hotel to the first water stop! I do now look back and think how did I manage to cycle 52 miles in temperatures of 43 degrees?!
We were then told that it was deemed too dangerous for us to complete the remaining mileage for the day as other riders were suffering from heat stroke. We awoke to a lovely 25 degrees heat to tackle Day 3; this was the best day, the scenery and lovely French villages we passed through were beautiful and again we met a great bunch of fellow cyclists who made it a pleasure to ride with; you actually forgot how many miles you were cycling! Day 4 was a very wet day, which made it a little slippy on our way to the centre of Paris. Luckily, the rain stopped, ready for our arrival up the Champs-Elysees, past the Arc de Triomphe and our finish under the Eiffel Tower.
The warm welcome we received at the finish was one I will never forget; random people clapping, cars stopping for us to pass through and then to see some of our fellow cyclists, especially the men, break down and cry with sheer exhaustion but elation that they had finished, made it a truly memorable experience. Champagne was handed around for us all to celebrate, it seemed surreal what we had actually achieved.
Would you like to do it again?
Absolutely, but without the hot temperatures!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to take on a similar challenge?
I would definitely advise them to give it a go. They must be prepared to put in the training, because this did make the challenge a little more enjoyable, but the sense of achievement that we felt when we cycled to the Eiffel Tower was unexplainable! The people that we met made it such a fantastic and unforgettable experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Congratulations Suzy, your #FGFamily are so proud of you; here’s to the next challenge!