One rainy day in April whilst enjoying a pint with my mate Bob, we decided it was time to undergo a challenge, not a drinking challenge but a challenge to get fit and raise some cash for charity.
Having completed a few cycling challenges in the past for various charities we discussed raising money for The Hospice of St Francis. As a Corporate Partner and subsequently taking a tour of the Hospice it was clear to see what a wonderful and very special place this is. The atmosphere alone is inspiring and there is so much love, care and dedication.
Now I haven’t had any direct contact with the Hospice, but I have experienced personal tragedy, and appreciate the lengths people go to in trying to help. The support a loved one and family gets during the last days of their lives is priceless and The Hospice of St Francis makes that happen.
We set about finding the right cycle challenge and we found what we were looking for in the Euro 3 City Challenge – London to Brussels via Amsterdam, 2 men, 3 cities, 300 miles. So the challenge was set, with Lycra on we set about training, cycling through the glorious Chiltern Hills pushing our bodies through the pain barrier building up our fitness to undergo this amazing challenge.
We arranged the trip through a company called Global Adventure Challenges and they organise charity challenges of all descriptions from Trekking to Sledding, making it very easy for participants to concentrate on raising money for their chosen charity.
So the day arrived, on a sunny September morning, we met with over 30 other like-minded cyclists from all over the country raising money for various charities. The tyres were pumped (as were we!), with helmets firmly attached off we went.
We set off cycling through the gorgeous Essex and East Anglian countryside heading to Harwich. We spent a long 75 miles in the saddle but by the time we arrived in Harwich it was worth it. We celebrated with a drink that night which of course helped calm the nerves for the over-night ferry to Hook in Holland for day 2…
Day 2 was amazing; we cycled along the Dutch coastline through some enchanting settings on our way to Amsterdam. What a wonderful way to discover a country whilst raise money for a good cause at the same time! During the day we were very active on social media trying to raise awareness of our adventure allowing us to raise money whilst posting pictures and a mile-count. We were successful in encouraging people to donate where possible.
Bob and I bonded well with the rest of the group and embraced a handful of fantastic miles riding as a Peloton.
During day 3 a few of us wanted to up the pace and managed to clock up an impressive number of miles in a short time. The effort, organisation and experience demonstrated by the support team was incredible, and they were always on hand to help if we had any problems. Fellow cyclists would help if we encountered punctures etc. It was a real team effort to complete the 300 miles. We met some really inspiring people during the challenge, each person had their goal and ultimately we all had something in common – we wanted to make a difference to others.Bob and Dan in Brussels
So the challenge was nearly over, we were on the last few miles to Brussels, where we had an amazing group of people cheering us on and welcoming us at the finish line. The bubbles were open and celebrations began.
The biggest celebration for me personally is that I have helped in a small way those inspirational people that devote their lives to helping others in their time of need by raising money.
I would recommend this challenge to everyone! You get fit, look good in Lycra (allegedly), and raise loads of money for charity.What more could you want?!
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