Grecian pedallers go Dutch

City cyclists raise funds for PCUK by cycling to the Netherlands

Regular followers of our website will know that three Grecian supporters, Graham Heysett, Liz Hodges and Richard Horne (left to right), took part in an epic cycle ride to Amsterdam over the first weekend in June.

The threesome between them raised over £5,000 for Prostate Cancer UK – a notable contribution to the £150,000 raised overall by the ride last weekend.

The challenge was to cycle 150 miles from London to Amsterdam in just two days, part of a national ride organised by the Football League, in just two days.  Our team joined nearly 150 others, representing the majority of Football League clubs, to undertake the ride.

The ride left Brisbane Road, home of Leyton Orient, early on the Friday morning, to leave enough time to cycle the 90 miles to Harwich on the Suffolk coast.  The ride went east through the London suburbs, through Hainault and Redbridge, before reaching the countryside the other side of the London Borough of Havering. 

The Essex countryside was surprisingly pleasant – not at all like its reputation – and the warm sunny weather made the ride enjoyable, although lunch at Great Totham was a most welcome break.  

In the afternoon the riders had a further stop at Colchester United’s new home, the Weston Homes Community Stadium – the scene of the photo above – before pressing on to Harwich.  

By this time many riders were starting to feel the effects of a long day, which was not helped by encountering some significant hills for the first time.  However, all made it safely through to the seafarer’s club in Parkeston for a meal before boarding the overnight ferry to the Hook of Holland.

The following day the riders continued to be favoured by the weather, which at 28°C was even warmer than in England, and of course had to be careful to switch sides to ride on the right.  The well-signposted route took the riders almost entirely on well-maintained cycle paths or marked roadways, through the dunes, past the suburbs of one of Europe’s diplomatic centres Den Haag (the Hague), through a number of other busy beachside resorts before heading inland towards Amsterdam. 

Here the riders followed various canal side cycleways, before eventually arriving at the Amsterdam ArenA, the iconic home of AFC Ajax and the largest football stadium in the Netherlands.  Everyone congregated for the final photo-shoot, before negotiating the few kilometres of city riding and arriving at the hotel. 

So after almost 155 miles of tough cycling (most of the hard parts being in England) the group of football supporters finally finished at the home of Total Football.

Said team leader Richard: “It was a great experience.  I would like to thank everyone who supported our fundraising events leading up to the ride, including the bike raffle, my birthday bash and the Quiz night in Topsham, or who sponsored us individually. 

“Special thanks are due to Club sponsor First Great Western who donated the return train tickets to London, also club shirt sponsors Joma, whose gear we wore throughout the ride.  We were lucky with the weather which made the trip even more special.  There was a great buzz meeting and riding with folk from the other clubs, we were able to swap anecdotes along the way.”

After a night out in Amsterdam – and what goes on in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam! – the following day it was back to London via Brussells and Eurostar, the weekend seemingly over in a flash.  Good job done, on to next year!