At the weekend my Paris to London bike ride finished with the Hero Ride into London. If you were anywhere near a TV news channel you probably saw the images of a phalanx of cyclists (over 1400) riding in formation up to Horseguards, to be welcomed by cheering friends and family.
The week was a tough one, cold wet weather on day 1, lengthy days on many cycling days, and plenty of hard work. Sadly, because of a lung infection, and the consequential (quite severe) asthma attack I was unable to cycle every mile of the way. I made just over 300 miles in the week, but when your lung capacity is eroded by 40% or so, there\’s only so much you can do!
My main ride ended in Kent when on a level road, I found I could not turn over the pedals even in 2nd (out of 20!) gear. I was very disappointed at the time, but some kind words from Jamie Hull (one of our heroes cycling with us again this year), and Charlie Chaplin (the trike cycling Sapper from 2012) helped me see it in a better light. The diagnosis from the quack this week made me realise I *really* had tried as hard as I could. But it still disappoints!
The absolute highlight for me this year was the Spitfire flypast at the Battle of Britain memorial at Capel Le Ferne. That morning I had risen at 4:30am, cycled into the dock at Calais the promised 4 miles (along with the remaining 3.87!) and gently cruised across to Dover. The next stage was a 7 mile uphill ride (a bit of a struggle for me by then – thanks Keith!) to the memorial where tea, biscuits and other wonderful refreshments beckoned. A moving ceremony with the Peddling Padre (Fr Roger), the British Legion standard bearers completed the atmosphere; and then the Spitfire turned up!
I hope to blog a few photos here later, but I need another rest! But in the meantime, the crosses for my 2 Great Great Uncles at Thiepval will have to do
Bye for now!