London To Paris – a retrospective

Forgive me if you have already read or know about this and feel free to skip this post. About two years ago I went a little mad and decided to take on a huge challenge by cycling from London to Paris for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support. When I took this on I had a mass of ideas of how to raise money and to cut a long story short (because this is going to be a multi-post retrospective) if you are planning to do something like this plan and apply early. You need time to train and you need time to raise money and new and inventive ways to do so. While I was doing this I wrote a blog which now sadly is no more because Twitter have decided to remove Posterous, however I did manage to salvage all the data before it went away and wanted to retrospectively write about what I went through taken from the previous blog.

So I started the whole blog with an introduction as to why I was doing it, so it only seems fitting to include that so prepare yourself (once again) to meet my Dad who passed away in 2005 due to pancreatic cancer. I have written a complete homage to him on my website which details the days leading up to his death, it does not go into (too much) how that affected me but one day I intend to write about that. It took me six years from him dying to work my way up to paying Macmillan back for the great work they did while he was seriously ill. I always say about this ride that it was the most challenging and emotional ride I have ever done I would do it again because it felt so amazing to do it, plus it (as of time of writing) got my photo on the Macmillan website, anyway here is a photo of the man himself.

Dad on holiday

So in order to raise the money that I needed to for the ride I asked friends, relatives, work colleagues and strangers to put their hand in their pocket. In doing so I actually took on a second job of sorts. I decided that in the evenings that I had free I would rent a cycle rickshaw (also known as a pedicab) which is a three wheeled open top bicycle, powered purely by humans (no electric motor), the only electrics it it were to power the lights. I rode this around London taking strangers from one place to another. In doing so not only would I be putting any money they give towards the cause and I even got cards made up promoting the blog, my ride and Macmillan.

Cycle Rickshaw

By pure coincidence while I was doing this a rather famous person by the name of Steve Jobs also died after a long fight with pancreatic cancer which of course I blogged about to highlight who this affects. I rode the pedicab around for nearly six months raising money, in that time I only had one incident where I felt unsafe which I can tell you all about this if you like. I also remember being harassed by a gay guy one night who wanted me to cycle naked for him while it was about 5°C outside, again there is a bigger piece I could write about this if you like, I am willing to do a lot for charity but this was going just a little too far. I also baked some awesome breakfast bars (courtesy of a recipe from the BBC) and sold them, I even sold my tickets to go and see Marilyn Manson and other things for cold hard cash. In the end I did not reach my target of £2000 but I got pretty close with a final total of £1,444.15 which is really good in my eyes. In the next retrospective I will be probably re-posting a lot of content from the four days I spent on the road with the other people.

Stay tuned and if your on the road on two wheels most of all stay safe.

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