6 September 2013
Robert Cross and the team at Gare du Nord after completing the ride.
This summer an adventurous group of 15 budding cyclists, led by Robert Cross, 27, from Bramhope, took on an epic 300 mile London to Paris Cycle Challenge to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
They set themselves the challenge of navigating their way through the British and French countryside over three days armed only with a sat nav. Their adventures saw them searching for roads on the sat nav that no longer existed, taking more than a few wrong turns and collecting a huge number of cuts, scrapes and shredded cycling shorts.
'We never want to hear the word ‘puncture’ again. Many people lost energy and patience, but we can laugh about it now! On one big hill, I helped one of our cyclists, Ben Scholey, get to the top as he was really struggling for breath and said he felt dizzy, so we pulled over. Within seconds he was throwing up. Not disheartened by this, he told me to take a photo of the event, as I think he was proud of his determination.'
Sadly the weather wasn’t on their side during the trip and it took a turn for the worse on day two. Robert explains:
'We cycled into the heaviest thunderstorm I have ever encountered, with hail and heavy rain for approximately two hours solid.'
And day three was even worse, said Robert:
'We woke to the sound of lightning and thunder right over our heads, and the weather forecast said it would follow us all the way to Paris. With bodies exhausted, we came down for breakfast. There was negativity among the guys, unsure whether we could face another gruelling day in such vicious weather conditions.
'We met in the hotel lobby at 9am to decide on our next move. Some arrived fully geared up for the battle, others were in normal clothes assuming we may have to get a train to Paris. With some guys very keen to go on, we convinced everyone to continue. It was the best decision of the tour as we would have felt like we had let ourselves down. We all got on our bikes and to our amazement, the weather was perfect for the whole day.'
All of the team managed to make it to Paris and they celebrated by having their picture taken at the Gare du Nord (pictured).
They were motivated to complete the ride because of the amazing care Macmillan provided Robert’s sister Evelyn who sadly passed away from cancer at the age of 29 in November.
Clara White, Fundraising Manager for Macmillan in Leeds said:
'After reading all about this incredible adventure I was so impressed by everyone’s amazing determination to complete the ride. They all pushed themselves to the ultimate limit to support Macmillan and we hugely appreciate it. Every penny they have raised will make a really massive difference to the lives of people affected by cancer so we can make sure no one has to face it alone.'
The cyclists raised over £5000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you wish to sponsor the team, you can still do so on their Justgiving page.