I have completed my 1,155 mile cycle ride from NE Hampshire to Nice to raise vital funds for our Village Agents service!!
This was a huge challenge that myself and my friend Allan undertook over 4 weeks starting from Friday 25 May. We were completely self-supported, carrying our own equipment and supplies - no guide and no support van following behind!
Day One - our ride got underway Friday morning as we set off from The Windmill pub in Ewshot, where I volunteer as a Village Agent and made a quick stop en-route to Alton Day Care Centre. Afterwards we received a warm welcome from all our staff and volunteers at HQ in Winchester. It wasn't long till we were on the road again and made our final stop at our Lockswood Day Centre where we were cheered on our way by all the clients at the centre and had a special visit from the Major of Fareham. We made it down to Portsmouth in time for our ferry across the channel to St-Malo.
Day 2-4 - We started the French leg of the Tour on Sunday morning and are now heading towards the Loire. Total mileage so far is about 200 miles with 1000 remaining. We have already been mechanically tested with two broken spokes repaired but are in great spirits as we continue on surrounded by spectator scenery.
Day 5-6 - Now up to 325 miles and things are starting to get a bit tender so we are wearing two pairs of padded shorts. We've had strong winds to battle against and a bit of rain. Stayed in Fontevraud L'Abbaye and finished up day 6 in Parthenay.
Day 7-9 - We have now entered the Dordogne and covered 500 miles. We have tired legs but are in great spirits which is good as we're got some big climbs ahead of us.
Day 10-13 - Up to 660 miles and into the Lot Valley. Conditions had been fairly wet and we had to take shelter in bus shelters and under trees, and even sometimes stop here for a nap. We've been through the beautiful towns of Brantome and Sarlat in the Dordogne. We stayed in a friends converted barn and were able to spend a few rest days here to recuperate and rest our sore legs.
Day 14-17 - We've completed 820 miles which we can't quite believe. Last night was a tough night as we had a power cut at our hotel which meant we didn't have access to any food or even a beer. We had to wait until breakfast to eat. However, this didn't stop us and we even reached the top of our highest climb today before the rain hit.
Day 18-22 - Still going strong - crossed the Rhône today and have just arrived in Chateauneuf du Pape this evening. Hope to reach Nice on Monday. Up to 921 miles - a big milestone as this is more than Lands End to John o’Groats!!! Just passed the 1000 miles - phew!
Day 23-25 - We have made it to Nice! We cycled our final climb out of the Gorge du Verdon and then descended downhill all the way into Nice, arriving on Monday evening ready for some well-deserved rest and just in time to enjoy the first England match.
A few stats: Total mileage: 1,155 miles, Total climbing: 43,765 ft, Number of days riding: 23 days, Average miles per day: 50 miles, Average speed: 11.75 mph, Mechanicals: 4 spokes, one tube No falls, accidents or scrapes - thankfully.
We would really like to thank everyone for their generous support and donations
Fundraising for the Village Agent service
It is important to fund raise for our Village Agent service - since Hampshire Country Council ended its funding it is crucial that we find ways to ensure that we continue delivering this vital service.
It was set up in 2011 and has been successfully delivered by over 50 highly-trained volunteer Village Agent's across the County. Their primary role is to enable older people to live independently, for as long as possible, in their own homes.
Working as a Village Agent myself in Crondall and Ewshot, I really appreciate the fantastic work that all our volunteers do and want to raise as much money as possible to keep this incredible service going. I feel so passionately about the work that we do, that I would like to personally contribute - I will donate £100 for every £500 generously donated to my fundraising page. I have set a target of £2,500 which if achieved I would be donating a further £500. (I have to cap my additional donations at £2,000 )
We would love for you to get behind this fundraising initiative and you can also join in the ‘Village Agent Fundraising Campaign’ by taking on your own challenge by setting up a Just Giving page.
To read more about our Village Agent service check out www.ageconcernhampshire.org.uk/our-services/village-agent