First of all: a massive thank you to the club for the publicity and encouragement that we have received over the past few months and for the generous donations that members have given us. It's a great reminder that being part of a club brings benefits that are totally out of proportion to the exceptionally modest cost of membership!
For the record, here is a report of our journey to Paris:
At 4pm on Saturday May 30th three radiographers from Macclesfield Hospital (including Wheelers Mike Calamanan and Paul Fenton, along with their colleague Marc Branson), set off on an epic 24 hour cycle journey from London to Paris. The event was planned as a charity fundraiser in memory of Abe Vincent (son to Julie Vincent, a sonographer at Macclesfield Hospital), who had tragically died from bone cancer in January of this year at the age of 21.
A VIP departure from the Palace of Westminster, arranged by Macclesfield MP David Rutley, provided an amazing backdrop to the start - and gave the support crew the most exclusive parking spot in London! Threading their way through the crowded streets of the Capital the cyclists headed south to the port of Newhaven some 60 miles away.
The first stage of the trip was blessed with good weather and the team made rapid progress, passing over the South Downs en route.
Arriving at Newhaven almost exactly on schedule the riders and support crew then took the midnight ferry across to Dieppe, managing to squeeze in a couple of hours of sleep into the bargain! The respite was brief however, and they were back in the saddle again at 4am (5am French time) to begin the 130 mile journey to Paris.
At this point, however, the weather changed for the worse and rain began to fall almost uninterrupted for nearly 12 hours straight. Nevertheless, the team pedalled on through the early morning, stopping for a breakfast of coffee and croissants after 3 hours of effort. Soon afterwards the weather conditions deteriorated further as the rain became heavier and the winds blew even stronger. Despite the atrocious conditions the group made its way through some hilly countryside for several hours before descending towards the River Seine, a quick refreshment break, and the final run into Paris.
After making their way through a series of vast parklands on the outskirts of the French capital,the surroundings became much more urban and the cyclists got their first taste of the anarchic Parisian road traffic. Although they were cold, wet and tired the team safely navigated through the streets of Paris and finally arrived at the Eiffel Tower after a total of nearly 19 hours in the saddle.
At the time of writing nearly £2000 had been donated to Team X-ray, in support of the Bone Cancer Research Trust, and it is hoped that this figure will continue to rise. Anybody wishing to donate can do via the team's Just Giving webpage at http://www.justgiving.com/xray
The trip ran like clockwork, with no mechanicals or punctures. In fact the only incident of note occurred when one member fell off his bike after what we presume was a micro power nap (even though he protested he had hit a patch of gravel!).
Once again, many many thanks to everybody who has supported us, it is greatly appreciated.