A report from our charity cyclistOn the weekend between Friday 12th June and Sunday 14th June, a whopping 250 supporters from around the country cycled from London to Amsterdam as a fundraiser for Prostate Cancer UK, partner charity of the Football League.
Amongst the riders were Exeter City supporters Jim Gillies-Henson and Gary ‘Barry’ Mitchell, who made their way to the Matchroom Stadium, home of Leyton Orient, before setting out on their cycle ride to the Amsterdam ArenA – 145 miles across the English and Dutch landscape.
Here is Jim’s report on the way the weekend panned out:
“We successfully completed the 80 miles on the first day – the weather stayed kind (in fact it was very hot at times!) and I actually managed to stay on my bike so, so we ended the first leg one piece. We met Luther Blissett and Matt Holland along the way and said ‘hi’.
“Leg 1 from London was a bit if a nightmare with all the traffic and impatient drivers, but once out of the City it was actually pretty straightforward – and dare I say the word ‘easy’? Not a bit like the hilly domain us country bumpkins are used to back in good ol’ Devon. All in all, it was a really enjoyable day.
“After a well-deserved night’s rest on the ferry, we were reunited with our bikes on Day 2 and set off for Amsterdam. We traversed 60 miles of quaint towns and villages with bricked roads, beautiful scenic countryside and riverside roads and all with dedicated cycle paths. The cyclist really is well catered for and spoilt over there – it was pure cycling heaven. We had two water stops with a lunch break in between at a riverside bar and restaurant.
“At the final stop and after 20 miles of staring (not intentionally) at Terry Butcher's Lycra-clad backside, we set off in groups every 15 minutes to the hallowed Amsterdam ArenA, home of the mighty Ajax.
“We had a glass of champagne, received our medals and did the photography bit before heading to the hotel for a much-needed shower. In the evening we had a lovely dinner followed by the usual speeches and went to bed after a little late night run through the streets of Amsterdam (well I did – Barry wasn’t so keen).
“Day 3 was the dreaded journey home which, for us, consisted of 12 hours solid traveling. That started off with a two-hour coach trip to Brussels where we were herded on to a Eurostar train bound for London via Lille. We arrived at St Pancras at about 1pm where we collected our bikes and got another train to Stratford City to retrieve the car and to load up our bikes, and start the next leg of the journey: the four-hour drive back to East Devon and back to normality.”
The London to Amsterdam Challenge might be over, but you can still donate to the cause in support of Prostate Cancer UK.
Head to Jim and Gary’s Just Giving page by heading to www.justgiving.com/londamchallenge and be sure to donate generously.
Jim and Gary are also taking part in the Jurassic Classic for PCUK on Sunday 16th August. It’s a little bit closer to home for Exonians – there are 50/100/160km routes, all of which start and end in Exmouth. The more City supporters, the merrier! Click here for more info on how you can join in.