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For The People, By The People

Ark Rider Set Off

The Ark to Arc ride from Basingstoke to Paris is complete and it’s time to recover from a hectic few days. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve been away on quieter stag dos.

It was hard, but it was also a lot of fun and that’s down to all the people I’ve just spent the last few days with. From Skyline support staff who very much demonstrated why they excel on Saturday afternoon when Simon crashed; David Gorring and Susan George who organised a great welcome for us in Alençon; Nurse Nicky Packham who got me through my own embarrassing shower injury in Portsmouth; the families who travelled out to Paris to welcome us in; Charlie from Bike 4 Cancer for her support and a special mention to the human dynamo that is Mark Jones from Ark Cancer Centre. What an amazing few days!

But, massive thanks has to go to my 33 fellow riders who have just delivered an experience of a lifetime.

And, I do not say those words lightly. I’ve done a number of cycling events and know what has to go into them to make them work and if I had thought months ago that Ark to Arc would end up the way it did, I would not have believed it.

  • 40 people in a small motel restaurant, drinking the bar almost dry and getting excited watching a man do a Mick Jagger impression.
  • The looks from strangers as 33 riders sang Don’t Put The Blame On Me everytime Oli walking in the room.
  • The camaraderie and support of groups of riders during the ride itself.
  • Dave Britton, who only started cycling this year, pretty much destroying us all, then transforming from a shy guy to dancing in the parade at Alençon.
  • The view of the Arc De Triomphe in the distance as we cycled towards it and making our way to the Eiffel Tower.
  • The huge cheer and plenty of tears as Simon Finch walked in with a broken collar bone to the celebration dinner.

The list… is endless.

When someone comes up to you on day three and says, I really didn’t want to do this ride but thank you so much, Craig, for blackmailing me into it. Or, another person saying that he’d never done anything like this before and could not believe what he’s been missing and must do it more, you know we must have done something right.

If you ever get the chance to do something like this but um and ah and make reasons why you can’t… Don’t! I overheard a conversation between two riders on Saturday and I think they hit the nail on the head with one commenting to the other that these are the experiences that make you rich.

You can still donate and we will do something again in the future so you may get the chance to get involved. Watch this space and think of all the reasons why you should do it.