In 2010, Jon Carter and Simon Griffiths cycled from London to Paris in aid of Article 25. Earlier this month they cycled from Oxford to Barcelona in 9 days. They are currently looking for new challenges, and are welcoming any suggestions.
“I don’t know many Aussie’s, in fact I only know two and I met them the night before we were due to set off from Oxford, on our 950 mile cycle ride to Barcelona. Simon had known Lach for a number of years and often mentioned his “Crocodile Dundee” approach to life. I think it was fair to say that both Simon and I were slightly anxious about the next 9 days ahead and we weren’t sure if Lach or Lucy (Lach’s girlfriend) knew why we needed their assistance on the trip. However their response was always the same, both that night and all the way to Barcelona, “No dramas”! The conversation flowed that night, between Simon and Lach but not really knowing them myself, I was not sure what to say. I stood their quietly thinking I wonder who Lach prefers, Kylie or Danni?! I then thought maybe they will appreciate that I have Rolf Harris’s Greatest Hits on my iTunes, but apparently not!! Anyway as the days unfolded it was clear that Simon had organised the best support team you could ask for.
It’s becoming a running theme with our cycling challenges, but on Wednesday 9th September we set off a few hours later than planned! Our route took us from the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford south over slightly bigger hills then expected to the gloomy ferry port in Portsmouth. Knowing that there was only one ferry to catch and fighting against strong winds, we pushed hard to make it in time! Arriving in time felt like a huge achievement, therefore given the sense of jubilation after Day 1, we couldn’t imagine Day 9!
Throughout France, everyday started in similar fashion to the last, we would both ensure everything was in place and did all we could to delay setting off!! However, no matter how we felt physically or mentally, after the first 30 miles we would get into a good rhythm. Simon would set the pace, but I had the gps attached to my bike, so I would shout out directions to him. Unfortunately, the strong winds made it difficulty to hear one another. We would pass through quiet French towns and villages shouting as loud as we could, probably amusing locals as two seemingly angry Englishmen cycled by!
We knew no matter how tough days 1 to 6 would be, nothing would be as tough as the Pyrenees. Neither of us hid the fact that we were slightly worried about that stage of our challenge, as it would be the point where we would know if we’d trained enough! Towards the end of Day 6 Simon shouted back to me “do you think that’s them?!”, I looked up and spanning across the horizon , just above the clouds were the mountain peaks. We both started to laugh as we now knew the scale of the next two days cycling!
As we hit the foot of our first climb on day 7, the scale of what lay ahead was overwhelming but yet exciting at the same time. Cars descended down as we climbed up and I was convinced we looked very professional but looking back, I doubt it very much!!
Simon cycles to work in Basingstoke and myself, Didcot. Unfortunately these rides have now been put into perspective, nothing will ever be as breathtaking and adrenalin pumping as descending the Pyrenees at 45mph+!!
We both cycled into Barcelona with huge grins on our faces. To locals, we looked like any other amateur cyclist doing a lap of the block, but we felt like a hereos!! The final sprint was far from a sprint, we were stopped at every red light possible, hopping between road and cycle path. We were met at our finish point, the Olympic port, by a number of friends and our fantastic support crew. That was it, job done, 962miles on our basic road bikes in 9 days, 3 countries, a mountain range and 1 tyre puncture! Oh and yes………………. very saddle sore!!!”
At Article 25 we are extremely grateful to them and are looking forward to supporting them in their next ”epic adventure”. A BIG thank you guys!