Friday, 26 August 2011

Cycling from London to Paris to raise funds for adoption and fostering

Guido talks about how he cycled from London to Paris to raise funds for adoption and fostering.

I have been going through the overseas adoption process with my wife now for 2 years; we have survived the social worker, and some of the high points for us have been courses provided by BAAF. These helped and guided us through decisions we knew we had to make and opened our eyes to issues we had not even thought of.

Last year, BAAF was running a charity bike ride from London to Paris - plenty of time to get fit and meet everyone so I signed up...

The ride was starting, very glamorously, at the Travel Lodge in Croyden. I arrived the evening before and knew I had the right place when I was directed straight to the bike storage room by reception. After checking in I wandered down to the bar and over a pint got into conversation with two men who looked about as (un)fit as me. This was a good start.

Breakfast was early next morning - in fact the only people at breakfast were lots of people in cycling gear. I was not that keen and after a full English had to go change ready to ride. Safety speeches and introductions were all passed quickly, a quick cheer for the radio while Nicky Campbell was interviewed and it began.

I think everyone on the ride had highs and lows. My training had failed to include any hills of note and Day 1 was hilly. At every step of the way there was always someone from the group cheering you on and pushing you forward, and at every food stop the crew were smiling, fixing bikes and motivating us with sweets and advice.

Day 2 started early again. I felt like a Tour de France rider cycling through Northern France but this was my worst morning; everyone overtook me, I stopped on every hill and my motivation hit zero. Luckily the spirit of the other riders pushed me along. Everyone had encouraging words and no matter what befell them everyone smiled - even when plagued with punctures.

Day 3 I woke with lots of energy. My body knew this was the last day and was raring to go - until it realised it was frosty and cold outside! But we soldiered on. Undulating hills gave way to flat and then the final push into Paris, over the hills and into the city.

The final ride to the Eiffel Tower was through traffic, but the gang was all still here - no one had dropped out and we finally made it, swinging round the last corner. Stopping to the sound of popping champagne corks and cheers made me feel so special!

If you would like to take part in a fundraising challenge to raise funds for BAAF, please visit our website. You may also enjoy reading one of our Adoption Champion's story about running the London Marathon.

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