Sixteen of our property experts have completed the demanding 215-mile cycle ride from London to Paris in just three and a half days.
The challenge was completed in support of the British Heart Foundation, a charity that provides funding, research and awareness campaigns aimed at preventing heart disease across the UK. The teams efforts have already raised £2,645, surpassing the initial £2,000 fundraising target. There is still time for you to donate and you can do so via our JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/2016SW.
About the Ride
Setting off from SW’s office on Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, the team struggled through the hectic London traffic on what turned out to be a whistle-stop tour of the capital’s major attractions – passing Trafalgar Square, 10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and the Tate Modern – before joining Sustrans route 21 at Greenwich for the 90 or so mile journey south. A strong headwind; the odd mechanical malfunction; a team record number of punctures; and news of left luggage in Leeds, tested the team’s spirit to its limit – a veritable text-book exercise in crisis management and disaster recovery! However, the encountered difficulties only served to galvanise the unity of the team further, as they pushed their way over the North and then South Downs before arriving to catch the 11.00pm ferry at Newhaven, on England’s south coast.
The team’s overnight ferry docked at Dieppe at 5.00am (French time), just in time for the dawn of the day. Devoid of any meaningful sleep, all were relieved that the riding for Day 2 was to be only circa 30 miles or so, along the Avenue Verte – a converted former railway that has been incorporated into the green cycleway linking London with Paris – which meant a steady section of riding without any more significant hills to contend with! After a morale boosting breakfast stop in Neufchâtel-en-Bray, the team arrived at the destination for their overnight stay in Forges-les-Eaux early in the afternoon for a well-deserved rest and a taste of ‘home-cooked’ Normandy cuisine.
The weather gods well and truly smiled upon Team SW for Day 3 – as the winds of change powered them through the beautiful rolling French countryside and picturesque towns & villages towards the outskirts of Paris in bright and sunny conditions, where the welcoming and attentive staff of the Campanile at Villennes-sur-Seine ensured the team were comfortably fed, rested and entertained. The mood in the camp was now well and truly upbeat, as Team SW looked forward to the following day’s ride into Paris with a forecast of further bright and sunny conditions.
The final morning involved a relatively short ride of just under 30 miles of well surfaced forest paths through the outskirts of Paris, using the Bois de Boulogne and other Royal Forests, through the leafy suburbs and boulevards of Paris, before finally arriving at the Eiffel Tower – where the team instantly became a photographic sensation with the hordes of International tourists.
Simon Heather, Partner in the Manchester office, and organiser of this year’s trip said: “After a particularly tough first day, we are absolutely delighted to have completed the trip as a team, all in one piece…and with all our luggage! The funds we have raised will be gratefully received by this year’s chosen charity. On behalf of the team, I would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone that has donated as this support really does make all the hard work worthwhile.”