Brian & Kimberley

I like a wedding where we can just fade into the background and take amazing shots, today was one of the days. This fantastic wedding with Brian, Kimberley and their family and friends took place during the world famous Lincoln Christmas market and it didn’t disappoint either. Followed by a fabulous reception at the Bentley. Have a great honeymoon.

London to Paris Day 3

Day 3 – Gournay en Bray to Paris 75 miles

Breakfast was at 5:30am, for the roll out a 7am. As we walked out to a chilly morning, the sun had yet to get up, there was an eerie mist laying heavy in the fields.

With cycle lights illuminated we set off, sticking together for the first 10 km. A few route deviations were necessary, due to Sunday markets in several villages, one of which we rode thorough! I wish that I could speak French because it must have caused some interesting comments by the locals, as a bunch of amputee cyclists threaded themselves through their market stalls!

As the sun started its gentle rise into the sky, the temperature began to lift and I started to get the feeling back in my fingers! The countryside also began to come alive and, as with day 2, the views were amazing. With a warning from the tour manager that the terrain would become increasingly hillier we settled down for a hard day in the saddle.

By the time we got to the first feed station people had ridden off the initial muscle stiffness and had got their cycling legs back (no pun intended for a bunch of amputees). We were now working together, like a pro-cycling team, albeit a little slower! The ‘train’ was working well and as we pulled into the lunch stop 50 miles in, but with another 25 miles of testing climbs yet to tackle.

After lunch, a difficult 20 miles were covered during the course of the afternoon. Our surroundings became more urban and the traffic steadily increased. We stopped at the Bois de Boulogne to regroup for the final assault on the Eiffel Tower.

The last 5 miles were stop start, as Paris unfortunately resembled the M25 on a Friday evening! So instead of the conclusion resembling a Tour De France sprint finish, it was a slow crawl to the base of the Eiffel Tower, but thankfully to our finish line!

The frustrating French traffic faded into insignificance as we all arrived at the finish in one big pack. The feeling of elation and immense pride, not only for yourself but for the achievement of the whole of the group, was indescribable. Rest assured that it won’t be forgotten in a hurry and the friendships made in one weekend will hopefully last a lifetime.

London to Paris day 2

Day 2 – Dieppe to Gournay en Bray 65 miles

In the morning we refuelled with a hearty breakfast for the day ahead which was described as ‘undulating country side’.

Starting the day with no leg or socket issues was a major bonus, although others weren’t as lucky, so a big thank you to the guys at PACE! I was quietly confident about the day ahead, looking forward to getting to know the rest of the guys and girls on the ride.

We began with a 5km ride out of Dieppe and were asked to stick as a group before we were unleashed into the French country side.

By lunch time I had met and conversed with some amazing people, many of which were fellow amputees who were using a varied range of devices to propel themselves to the French capital.I was drafted as the lead out man, which i enjoyed. We arrived in Gournay en Bray with the second day in the bag having ridden through some beautiful countryside.

We were all ready for the evening meal and a good night’s sleep, as we had another early start the next day.

London to Paris day 1

Day 1 – Bexley to Dover 75 miles

As we all got together for the first time for the safety briefing, I was wondering what I had let myself in for. Although it wasn’t a race, I did find myself checking out the other riders, trying and assess their fitness and what bikes they were on.

Just after 7am, it was time for the off! We rolled out of Bexley into the rush hour traffic! I don’t need to say any more about that! However, once we got to the first feed station the traffic had died down and we could start to enjoy the ride and take in the surrounding countryside.

As we made our way further south, the terrain started to change and become hillier with some testing climbs.
The final feed station was approximately 60 miles out, 15 miles from the port of Dover. We stopped above the Chunnel depot to consider what lay ahead.

Described as a ‘short sharp climb’ it proved to be a big test. Being in excess of a mile, on a 15% gradient, it certainly was a challenge, particularly for us amputee riders.

Thankfully it was conquered by everyone, one way or another! Thankfully, thereafter it was ‘all downhill’ with a welcomed fast run down into Dover, averaging 25mph!

The group ended a very difficult day with smiles on our faces, as we boarding the ferry.

After a coach transfer to the hotel we arrived in Dieppe at around 2:30 am. We needed to be up and on the start line for 10am, so we weren’t going to get too much sleep!

After a challenging initial day, I was delighted that there weren’t any issues with me or the prosthesis. I could rest knowing that I could start the second day in good shape.