The French 400 – teamwork, generosity and some great roads help generate £50k for charity
The Bath Rugby Foundation is the charitable arm of Bath Rugby, running programs to help disadvantaged young people with their health, education, employability and inclusion.
Around 90 cyclists travelled over to France, 16 of whom all work together here at Royds Withy King. I was there as a group leader for the Foundation, but we also had two colleagues who weren’t cycling.
The event organisers had planned a stunning route starting in Quineville and working its way towards a picturesque forest on the outskirts of Rouen.
There were two things that struck me about riding in Normandy. First, the excellent quality of the road surfaces, especially for us British cyclists who usually have to make their way around obstacles such as potholes on a daily basis, and second the attitudes of drivers; noticeably different to those in England.
The team from Royds Withy King all thoroughly enjoyed meeting and cycling with contacts made through work and new friends, whilst at the same time supporting one another during the ride.
We travelled on an overnight ferry on Wednesday night and we travelled home late on Sunday.
In between these long travel stints, we cycled for three consecutive days and covered a total of 255 miles, covering an average of about 85 miles each day:
Needless to say there were difficult times – one poor chap had 4 punctures on the same day! Our most significant mechanical failure though occurred when a rear mech hanger completely sheared away rendering the bike unusable.
These events really brought out our team spirit, though. Riders helped each other to fix punctures, waited for each other at the top of hills, and received support from a mechanic, physio and paramedic, who had all given up their valuable time for this event.
A special mention must go to those riders who were unlucky enough to pick up injuries during the ride and were without hesitation willing to lend their bicycles to other members of the group. These people would have been unable to ride without the generosity of those who had to drop out because of serious mechanical problems that could not be rectified mid-ride.
The trip was a huge success, raising in excess of £50,000 for the Foundation which will make a huge difference to the disadvantaged young people the charity supports.