UPDATE: RIDE COMPLETE!!
It's been a fun weekend - 160 miles ride over, with relatively good weather - despite the forecasts we only had heavy rain in the afternoon in Flanders. The going was tougher than expected in Kent, but the continent is so beautifully flat it more than made up for it! The music fest was fantastic on the Sunday too. Full report available on my blog at http://samcrawley.blogspot.com/2008/07/london-to-lille-charity-ride-2008.html. Thank you so much to all those who have donated...
This year we decided to vary the old London Brighton BHF ride. In casting about for new and alliterative routes we rejected Harlow to Holt and Dalston to Delhi, instead settling on..
LONDON to LILLE on the 5h July 2008!
Yes, that's right, Lille in France. Why? Well, why not? Plus a direct train back to London may have been a factor! Now this is not an inconsiderable effort on our part, something along the lines of (assuming we don't get lost) 180 miles or 290km!!! Eurotunnel will be conveying us across the water, no swimming required!
There is a point to this madness though, and the point is we are hoping to raise money for the very worthy cause of AVERT, a British charity working worldwide to combat HIV and AIDS, both through prevention and helping those already affected. Lewis and I having personally seen the devastation this disease is wreaking on our travels in Southern Africa, and knowing that India and China are beginning to be affected too, we understand only too well how important this battle is for all of us.
So, donating? It's very easy, just put your credit card in to this secure page etc, and it automatically deducts the cash! Good, huh? Otherwise speak to Sam and we'll work out a way. Don't forget to allow Gift Aid if you're eligible (UK taxpayer).
Any amount you can give would be appreciated, anonymous or otherwise, it all adds up. In return you'll benefit from an immediate cessation of nagging, amusing cheesy photos and the knowledge that we'll actually have to do the ride if the cash is there! Thank-you in advance, and please pass this on to anyone you know with spare dosh or by all means come along too!
Frequently asked Questions
1. Will you be cycling back?
2. Have you done much training?
Sam and Will have done a little - with rides from London to Oxford, London to Whitstable and Sam completed Cambridge to Aldborough (95 miles), but it's not nearly enough.
3. Don't you think it's more important to give money to Burma aid right now?
AIDS is a massive problem in Burma - due to the poverty caused by the Generals, especially Than Shwe's mis-management, and the pointless Western embargo, there is enormous poverty there, hence large numbers of sex workers, usually not using protection. Burma has some of the highest AIDS rates in Asia, and little access to assistance in tackling this epidemic.
4. Why Lille?
It's an ambitious distance, there's a train straight back to London, lots of interesting WWI sites nearby to visit, and last but not least, the Main Square Festival in Arras (nearby) with Radiohead and Sigur Ros playing on Sunday!
5. Can I come?
Sure. It's just the three of us for now (with 5 friends and family coming out to Lille to meet us) but the more the merrier!
6. Will you do the same ride next year?
Maybe. We'll definitely be doing a big charity ride. As to where and when, watch this space! If you've not done a ride like this before, I do recommend the BHF London Brighton ride,it's very well organised - we've being doing it for several years now.