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Well that’s Sunday’s London to Brighton cycle ride done and dusted…

Posted by Peter Hopkins, foster carer on 14th, September, 2015
Relevant tags: #fostercarerstories #thamesvalley

Together with my cycling companion Ewan McGregor, and current placement DP, I signed up to complete a London to Brighton cycle ride on 6th September 2015. The challenge is a fantastic bike ride from the heart of London to the coast of Brighton, all in aid of a little known charity called PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis) Support. The charity seeks to raise money and increase awareness for this chronic liver condition.

On the Sunday morning we had a disgustingly early start which required a 5.30am alarm call, a 6.30am departure from home ready for the 7.30am check-in on Clapham Common. Apart from the early wake up call, so far so good. Along with the 1000 other individuals raising funds for PSC we were ready for the challenge and set off from Clapham at about 7.45am.

In hindsight, thinking back, perhaps we should have taken more notice of the young woman who fell off her bike even before setting off. For the uninitiated, there is a device which allows you to clip yourself onto your bike pedals which is supposed to improve your pedalling efficiency. In truth though, this system only exists to provide an opportunity to make a complete idiot of yourself and of course always in full view of the public when you fail to disengage in time. We sniggered a little to ourselves and set off. Little did we know the gods of cycling had a little treat in store for us…

London to Brighton cycle ride in aid of  PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis) support

The ride down to Brighton is in truth quite uneventful. However, as we approached a T junction, DP, just like the young woman before, forgot to unclip himself and collapsed in a less than balletic fashion amongst a gaggle of cyclists. They all of course sniggered to themselves and rode off albeit having shown the obligatory patronising and totally insincere appearance of concern for his wellbeing. At the first drink stop a paramedic cleaned the small graze on his elbow with an antiseptic wipe, but alas, didn’t have any treatment for his fractured ego.

On route we had a pleasant lunch and continued to ride into the early afternoon.

Just like every ride I have ever participated in seems to have a sting in its tail, the London to Brighton, has Ditchling Beacon. After 45 odd miles of easy riding, you approach the village of Ditchling, which sits at the bottom of what looks to be a wall. It’s a strange phenomenon, but as you near the hill, a stillness settles over the riders and it seems to get a good deal colder. This revelation has a tendency to defeat the majority of cyclists even before they start the climb and DP was a casualty, one of many. After failing to get up to the summit in a similar ride about 20 odd years ago, I was determined to do it this time… and I did it!

We waited at the top for DP and then had an exhilarating descent into Brighton – the finish, where we were rewarded with a medal and a certificate.

Nothing though, could beat the huge grin on DP’s face.

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