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We tagged along with Boundless, raising money for their own charity, who’d completed the Pier to Paris ride the year before and were keen for some fresh faces to laugh at/with along the way.

 

Day one: They didn’t have to wait long as one of our intrepid team (Jim) fell off his bike within 10 seconds of the adventure starting. Jim’s excuse was that he’d not used the special, clip-in cycling shoes before and, to be fair, he’d only owned a bike for about a month. In fact, three of the six who set off on the ride didn’t own a bike when they agreed to do it. We’d been coerced into it by Andy, our resident bike ‘nut’ who promised a wild night out in Amsterdam at the end of it (more on that later).

Day two: What he hadn’t mentioned was that it was hard work. Really hard. All four days were blisteringly hot. Day one saw us take the coast road from Brighton to Dover, complete with brutal hill climb at mile 91. Hop on a ferry in the morning to get us to Calais and then off to Bruges. So far so good.

 

Day three: was the day all of us were looking forward to as we’d been promised a road designed and built purely for cyclists that clung to the Dutch coast and deposited us somewhere near Rotterdam. We weren’t disappointed. It was a spectacular ride in every way, snaking through sand dunes one minute, racing across bridges the next.

 

Day four: and the final stretch into Amsterdam. Everyone exhausted but determined. A few minor prangs, including one of my own where I forgot how to use my brakes and decided to go for a short trip over my own handlebars.

 

What day is it now? And then, Amsterdam, bathed in glorious sunshine. Champagne. Medals. Photos. Big night out as promised? No chance, we were far too exhausted but we’d already had the time of our lives. A mentally and physically challenging adventure which we all agreed was the best week of the year by some distance. Plans are already afoot for an even greater challenge in 2017. I still don’t officially own a bike but I’d be the first to sign up!

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