After the huge success of Posh 2 Paris in 2012, an even more ambitious plan was drawn up to visit another European capital city; this time organiser Marc Humphries and his band of merry men and ladies decided to head to Belgium.
The gruelling four day ride has so far raised the incredible amount of over £16,000 for Free Kicks Foundation, which is a fantastic achievement! Huge thanks must go to all of the riders and support team, especially Marc, who put hours of organisation into the route and logistics of getting all the guys to and from Brussels safely.
We asked Martyn Mcghee to tell us all about the ride, as you can imagine it wasn’t without incident:
Where can I start trying to describe such an epic adventure!!! The build up to P2B was amazing, the excitement, the stress, the ‘have we forgotten to cover anything’ seemed to go on for weeks. All of this disappeared as we stood at the Posh Ground on the morning of the 26th May.
The weather had promised to be awful and true to form … it was! It rained constantly for almost two days. We had it all, light drizzly rain from the start (you know the stuff, light but still gets you really wet!!!) heavy driving rain on our journey down through Surrey towards the coast and generally really low temperatures for the time of year. The weather aside, we stayed in good spirits (mostly)
We had allsorts to contend with during the trip, some of which I don’t think we could have prepared for.
We had in summary:
• An incredible puncture count, now…. we only have unofficial figures, but we have settled on 38! Yep, 38 punctures in three days (day 4 was puncture free). Quite some going really and incredibly disruptive!
• A disturbingly angry little woman at Papworth who clearly didn’t like cyclists, not sure why but she made her feelings perfectly clear as did we!
• Multiple route disputes, the Garmins were …… interesting (aka useless), Sat Nav that didn’t always inspire confidence and constant disruptions for punctures made it really difficult to keep track of who was where and who was heading in which direction.
• A missed ferry. I think we managed 3 punctures in the 9 miles it was from the hotel in Folkestone (which was a sight to behold.. think jolly boys outing) and Dover. The final puncture involved Marc running the last kilometre to the port and just when we thought we’d made it, we were told we couldn’t board!!! They let the van on though, which was helpful!
• Did I mention we had loads of punctures??????
The problems certainly tested the patience of each and every one of us, but personally for me it really showed how much determination there was amongst us to crack on and get the job done! A determination you can’t help but be inspired by!
All the punctures, navigational disputes and poor weather aside, we did manage to stay relatively injury free. Other than the odd ‘niggle’, a crash between a couple of the riders, a fall down the stairs whilst carrying the bikes (worth mentioning we were only using the steps because the Sat Nav got us lost looking for the sea!!) and the inevitable “Uh oh, I can’t unclip…….crash!!!!” we arrived at the end of each day in one piece.
It was only really day four that gave us some decent weather, although it didn’t start off particularly nice and we all found ourselves far too overdressed by about the mid way point so there were quite a few stripping cyclists in Aalst! It did however give us a beautiful backdrop for the trip into Brussels, or it would have if we hadn’t decided to visit the Automium building (Steel testicles as it is now affectionately known) first.
This gave us a slight detour to contend with and a journey across Brussels that nobody was prepared for.
The last 2 miles reminded me of something out of a film, we were all darting in and out of traffic that was coming from all angles, up on the path, back on the road, through a little wooded area… mayhem. I remember catching the tandem at one point and they said ‘not sure how we made it across that junction, but we did! Absolute chaos, but fun all the same!!!!
Even though the Sat Nav died, we found our finishing point of the ‘Grande Place’ This should have been a place to deliberate and look back on our achievement but it’d taken us that long to get there we only had time for a couple of quick pictures before we had to dart off again to make sure Secky got his train! More mayhem….. he made it though, we found the station, we found the hotel and most importantly we found the van to collect his luggage….. And breathe!!!!!!!!
It was a rushed end to what had been an epic journey, one that had tested a lot of nerves but certainly one that we can all be incredibly proud of. Not once did I hear anybody wanting to give in, even during the miserable weather!
We were all there to finish the job, see it through and repay the faith our sponsors had shown in us, Repay Steve for the faith he had shown by allowing us to do it for Freekicks. Most importantly for me was we had to finish for all the people riding with us, all of whom had shown great strength in character to stick with it even when we had our ‘navigational differences of opinion’.
All in all, it was amazing and to be sitting here having contributed to raising in excess of £16,000 makes all the issues insignificant.
Here’s to next year!!!
We must also mention Justin Parr, Ben Wade and Mike Reynolds who completed the ride in three days, continuing to Dunkerque on Day 2, before completing the journey on Day 3!!
The riders were :
Also massive thanks to all of the companies who sponsored or provided drinks, food or equipment, including :
Rapidrop Global Ltd
IFI Commercial Fitout
Yorkshire Building Society
Boundary Sports and Social Club, Market Deeping
Zumba Nat Fitness
Peterborough Audi (Vindis)
Asda in Peterborough