On Friday 3rd July 2015, 17 cyclists, five support vehicles and five support drivers set off from the Tower of London, en route to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The 4 day journey took the team through South East England, North East France and into the capital city. Each day, the team travelled over 80 miles and endured temperatures of over 30°C. The cycle team, which comprised of waste management professionals, were challenged both mentally and physically and for some, a return to cycling had been 30 years in the making.
Day one saw the cyclist depart from the Guildhall in London, blessed by the Guildhall vicar, before being officially released by the Lord Mayor. From the Guildhall, the team travelled to the Tower of London and then on towards the Port of Dover.
It was an early start on day two. The team had planned to cross from Dover to Dunkirk at 8am, but with recent events and delays at the port, the group were delayed by 4 hours and didn’t arrive into France until 14:30. From Dunkirk, the team travelled to Valenciennes, a Northern town, famed for its lace production. After a brief overnight stop, tyre changes and ice packs, the team were back on the road to start day 3.
Day 3 took the cyclists on a route through towns, villages and farm land, often overlooked by tourists and visitors. The team were met by locals with words of encouragement and pride that the team had chosen to travel through their local area. The local topography was challenging on day 3, with rolling hills and steep ascents to contend with in the sweltering heat. After almost 90 miles, the team arrived into Soissons, one of the country’s most ancient towns. After a gruelling journey, the team relaxed before preparing for the final stint towards the final destination.
The team set off on the final day towards Paris in 30° heat. The journey took the team south towards the capital city, under the flight path of Charles de Gaulle airport, with Airbus A380s flying overhead. With just a few miles to go, the team took a break to agree a strategy for safely navigating the city centre. The 17 cyclists were split up into two groups, both with vehicle support at the front and back. In this final stint, hundreds of supporters logged into www.meninlycra.co.uk to view the action in real time. The support vehicles were fitted with vehicle telematics from CMS SupaTrak and via the SupaTrak system, supporters could view the real time location of the team and live camera feeds, provided by Vision Techniques VT Live cameras. The team persevered through the heat and crazy Parisian driving, but at 7pm the whole team arrived safely at the Eiffel Tower, where they were greeted by friends and family.
Tower to Tower Challenge
The team has collectively generated over £20,000 of donations so far for a number of charities close to the cyclists’ hearts. The justgiving page will remain open until the end of the month, so please support the team https://www.justgiving.com/teams/Tower-Towercycle