Well, we made it! Despite some dreadful weather on the third day which meant that it took us nearly 8 hours to cover less than 30 miles.... We got loads of encouragement on the way, including an extremely kind offer of emergency rescue if the weather defeated us, and made some new friends. 4 days of hills and valleys, A-roads and country lanes, cooked breakfasts, roadside picnics and rather a lot of fish and chips, sunshine, wind, rain and storms! Read Zak's reports at http://zakonnabike.edublogs.org/
This is where JustGiving say that I should tell you my story. The truth is that it isn't my story. It's the story of two (rather special, in my opinion) boys - Zak and Gabriel.
Zak is my son, and he is 8 - nearly 9! Ever since he first learned to ride a 'wobbly bike' (i.e. one without stabilisers) at the age of 3 he has loved cycling. Last Summer his BSO broke, leaving him bike-less, so we started to look for a new steed for him. We did a lot of research, visited a lot of bike shops, tried out bikes from BMXs to mountain bikes and got some expert advice from an online forum we discovered called YACF, before finally buying a lovely second-hand Islabike for his birthday. Zak loved the idea that his new bike could be a touring bike, and started to hatch a plan to one day ride to his Granny’s house – well over 100 miles away! So we started, slowly, riding a bit further and a bit faster together. When we told people what we were planning to do we were often asked, “What are you doing it for?” and the answer was, generally, to see if we can and for fun.
Then, just before the Easter holidays, there was some incredibly sad news at Zak’s school. One of the pupils there, Gabriel Duran-Escamez , died from a condition called EB. In many ways Gabriel was a typical 8 year old – obsessed with Doctor Who and Star Wars, sometimes grumpy, often delightful. In other ways he was really quite exceptional.
To those who knew him, I don’t need to explain how special Gabriel was and how much he enriched our school and our lives. To those who didn’t know him, I’m not sure that I can really express what a lovely kid he was –so I’ll borrow some of the words that the headteacher shared at Gabriel’s funeral.“We realize now, it’s not been about what we can do for you, Gabriel, because you have given us so much more. It’s really been about what you have done for us.
We are richer for knowing you. We have learned so much about life with pain, about strength and perseverance, about struggles and joys. We have become a better school because of you, Gabriel. You have deepened our understanding of care and respect and courage. We have learned to value life more, to treasure each moment, to appreciate things that we have. We have learned that every child is special and has much to give. This little 8 year old boy from Spain with EB has left a legacy at our school.”
As Zak and I were out riding, during the Easter holidays, we talked about Gabriel sometimes. Then we had an idea – could we take the opportunity of our bike ride to raise money for DEBRA, the charity that had been such a great support to Gabriel, his family and the school? We asked Gabriel’s parents if they would like us to raise money in Gabriel’s memory, and they thought it was a great idea. So here we are! We’re planning to blog about the ride (and some of our other Silly Bike Adventures) so you can read all about it on Zak’s blog at http://zakonnabike.edublogs.org/
We are paying for all of the costs of our ride ourselves, so none of the money that you might choose to donate will go towards this – it will all go to the charity, minus the small fee that JustGiving charge and with the addition of Gift Aid if your donation is eligible for this.Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
So please dig deep and donate now.