Peter and I thought cycling the Ridgeway in two days would be a challenge, 45 miles each day… but all very achievable! What we didn’t factor in was the off road terrain, turnstiles, poor map reading skills, punctures, the need for replacement bikes and Peter cycling with jet lag (having flown in from the States at 7.30am that morning) combined with the hottest weekend of the year so far!
Our Pelicam team consisted of Peter Mayer, Nick Sanderson and I with some family and friends. We did not know quite what to expect - hills, punctures, exhaustion…..but what we did experience was incredible….
The Ridgeway is Britain's oldest road and is 87 miles (139km) long, much of it following the ancient chalk ridge route used by prehistoric man. It has been in use for 5000 years as part of the route from the Dorset coast to the Wash. Nowadays, it is enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
The countryside is simply stunning, with a completely undeveloped and unspoilt track, offering virtually no services at all on the way! This kept us going as we had booked a room at a B&B in Streatley upon Thames for the night!
Our memorable moments
“Hills…… lots of them. Many with a chalk and gravel base on which the tread could never seem to bite. Our ancestors thought it safer to stay on top of all the hills so that they could see the villains down below. Needless to say we weren’t thanking them for this strategy” – Peter
“An evening sitting by the river in Streatley, drinking a glass of wine, nice meal – and all of us very sore and in shock wondering what we had let ourselves in for the next day.” – Nick
“I managed to break my bike ….. completely! We were tracking through a mile of what was effectively ‘a ditch with undulations’. I managed to knock the derailleurs against a root and they went through the spokes of the rear wheel. It was a write off. Dad called for a replacement bike and the others set off with the intention that we would catch them up later in the day. Dad and I shared a run of 4 or 5 miles with the broken bike to the chosen rendezvous point – that was painful. When we got the replacement bike it got worse. We decided to ride at maximum speed till we caught the others up. Exhilarating or what! It also involved ‘goosing’ two policemen on the track! But great fun. Tried to get Dad to go fast for rest of day but didn’t happen. PS. Haven’t got on a bike since.“ Joe Mayer (14).
“Kind friends sent supportive text messages to encourage us, but the most important message of support was to keep thinking about the children in the hospices that Lifelites support. In many cases they are very poorly and their lives are transformed by the work that Lifelites do in providing technology for the 40 children’s hospices around the UK. I might have been stiff, sore and in agony, but it is unlikely that these children would ever be able to complete this challenge.” - Kate
£4,849.23 for Lifelites
Thank you all so much for your generous support. As a result we have smashed our target of £3000 and have raised close to £5000 for Lifelites. If you would like to support the Pelicam Ridgeway Challenge, you are still able to do so by visiting the Lifelites website.