Just over a week ago, as dawn was breaking over London, a Sunday league football team gathered at St Pancras International, ready to undertake a huge challenge. Their goal was to cycle from Paris to Marseille, covering over 900km in just seven days, on Brompton Bike Hire bikes. They were attempting this challenge to raise money for the clubs charitable foundation The Huracan Foundation. Almost half the squad had never ridden a Brompton before so the mood was most definitely a mixture of nerves and excitement. Having hopped on the Eurostar with the bikes, the first task for the team was to navigate the busy (and partially flooded) streets of Paris, before winding 115km south for a much needed rest in Montargis.
Day two was the longest of the trip with over 147km separating Montargis and the picturesque town of La Charité-sur-Loire. Mercifully, the stage was relatively flat as the route meandered through the Loire Valley and surrounding countryside. Seven hours in the saddle and one nasty fall later, day two was done. Day three was much of the same and wasn’t any easier - a further 135km with slightly more undulating terrain and warmer temperatures.
It was day four however that the boys were most worried about, it would test both the Bromptons and their own ascending ability. A gruelling morning slogging up and down 7-10% hills, before summiting the Col du Pilon in the early afternoon, added up to over 1300m of climbing. Never had lunch tasted so good! After grinding out the hard miles all morning, the afternoon was relatively plain sailing. The #BromptonTakeover boys descended into Lyon clocking speeds up to 70km/h on the way. By day five spirits in the camp were high and the scenery transformed from impressive to spectacular as the Peloton zipped down the Rhone Valley. Churning out another 145km in temperatures nudging 30 degrees, before briefly rendezvousing with the UCI Pros riding the 2016 Dauphine, day five was one to remember.
Day six was much more challenging, some mid-morning navigational issues put the riders behind schedule and an unplanned swimming/beer pit stop didn’t exactly help progress. With most of the team feeling the cumulative effects of five days in the saddle, legs and minds were tiring and a bruising afternoon’s riding into strong headwinds left the guys exhausted, but still rolling on. On the final day just 130km separated the town of Orange from Marseille and the Huracan FC London boys from success. All 12 riders were still on their bikes and shortly after 6pm they rode triumphantly into Marseille. Having covered 900km and raised over £11,000 for their charity, the boys and their Bromptons had certainly earned a glass of champagne and a much needed rest.
12 Brompton Bike Hire bikes + 12 Sunday League footballers + 12 matching outfits + 1 support van driver + 1 great country for cycle touring + a lot of baguettes = One hell of a ride!
You can read our full blog and sponsor the team to help them reach their fundraising goal of £14,000 here: Huracan Fundrazr
We would also like to say a huge thankyou to Brompton Bike Hire for supplying the bikes and to David Miller for driving our support van.
Vive le Brompton!