Well, we made it! We got all the way to Amsterdam from London. A huge thanks to our key sponsors Barracuda, Adatis, Solidsoft Reply, Node4 Ltd, ANS Group and Ensono who between them donated many thousands of pounds. Also a great big thank you to all of the individual people who sponsored me and the rest of the team. Overall the total raised for Bowel Cancer UK stands at £19,057.13 but this figure is still rising as the charity matching from Microsoft is added and as more people donate at the last minute at https://mytime.benevity.org/community/fundraiser/view/56. If you can, please click and help us really smash our original goal of £20,000 and help this great charity.
We arrived at our offices in London Paddington at 5:45am on Wednesday ready and raring to go. After some quick photos and a pep talk from Mark at https://broomwagoncycletours.co.uk/ we headed off. Thanks to some niggles of GPS, we headed off in the wrong direction, but we did get to see a little more of Kingdom Street in the process!
Heading south, we worked our way through Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park taking in the sights of central London including Buckingham Palace, the houses of Parliament and of course our biggest landmark currently undergoing renovation Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben!).
If you’ve never cycled in London, you’d be surprised at how great it is to ride. This was my first time and I was pleasantly surprised that we barely rode on roads. The whole city is now covered in an excellent cycle network (albeit with WAY too many traffic lights!)
Once out of the city we then rode north east to Harwich, nearly 90 miles away. Here, we had a quick shower at the Pier Hotel followed by a meal before boarding the overnight ferry to Hook of Holland.
After a quick breakfast on board and getting our bikes ready we headed off at 9am along the Netherlands cycle network. Initially we followed the coast line north with a fantastic tail wind which allowed the whole group to cruise at 25mph for the first hour! Unfortunately we then had to stop for some mechanical work as one of the team had some problems with her pedals which had extremently strong springs in them, leading to some scary moments where she couldn’t unclip with tired legs. On we went through forests and towns, often not even close to the road network. The Netherlands is bliss for cycling whether you are a seasoned cyclist or new to the sport.
As DCRainmaker says, it’s illegal to cycle past a windmill in the Netherlands without taking a photo, so naturally I had to comply! I think maybe this isn’t enforced, but who doesn’t love a windmill shot!
Finally we rolled in to Schiphol where we found our offices and stopped for a break. The local team provided fruit and drinks and typical Dutch hospitality, leaving us fealing well looked after.
It had been a long day, but we weren’t done yet. We then cycled from the office to our hotel. Thanks to a diversion we ended up doing a lap of the airport, which was a surprisingly pleasant ride on cycle paths and along some canals.
After a much needed shower and rest we headed into Amsterdam for a meal before turning in ready for the journey home. I feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of this ride and to have a team and friends around me to help achieve these things. I’m also greatful to work somewhere that allows for days off to help charity, and an amployer that matched charity donations to really help me make an impact.
If you’d like to donate and support the ride, please go to https://mytime.benevity.org/community/fundraiser/view/56. There are no fees, every penny goes to the charity and will be matched by my employer so for every pound you donate the charity will get two!