MARK HARRIS from Radmat Building Products, together with a team of 14 budding cyclists, have completed a 217-mile bike ride for children’s charity, Dreamflight.
Dreamflight takes 192 children with disabilities to Disneyland, Orlando, for 10 magical days without their parents. Each child’s adventure costs the charity £1,000,000 each year and requires the volunteer support of a small army of Consultant Specialists, Doctors, Nurses and 110 escorts, to get all of the children and five tonnes of medical supplies and equipment to and from Disneyland.
Accompanied by marine industry professionals, the Riding4Dreams team set off on the three-day ride, from Thorpe Park to Disneyland Paris on 27 July 2019, the hottest day on record in the UK.
With temperatures soaring up to 38.7°C on the first day of the journey, Mark said the riders needed every one of the four 15-mile pit stops on the 73-mile route to refill their water bottles and rehydrate. The group were challenged to climbs of 3,400ft over the Surrey Hills and the South Downs during the five-hour haul, before arriving in New Haven to freshen up and prepare for day two.
The French weather offered the team a stark contrast on day two with a thunder storm wading in on the 15-mile mark. Mark recalls, “A lightning strike hit a metal roof less than 8 feet from 3 of our riders! Fortunately, respite in the shape of the support vehicles, was less than 200 foot away.” After powering on through the storm and with five hours to go, the team were hit with nine punctures and two tyre changes, with two of the bikes experiencing repeat punctures within 100 yards of the previous one.
The final stretch
The final 66-mile day brought with it 3,500ft of climbing and some more punctures (bringing the total to 15). Mark commented, “After all the climbing, the downhill run into Disneyland Paris was much appreciated, as was the jubilant welcome from the 5-support crew.
“A quick celebration, photo session and popping of champagne corks preceded the need to load all the vehicles up and hit the road for the Eurotunnel trip back to a welcome home party in Shepperton where the team were met by family and friends giving a hearty rendition of ‘We are the Champions’.”
|The teams fundraising total currently stands at £24,699. All donations are welcome via the Riding4Dreams Just Giving page.|